Kayaking the Hudson River
Normally when Kai-Ling and the girls make their annual pilgrimage back to Taiwan visit the in-laws, I get to log in most of my backcountry and kayak camping trips. This year, however, my unit was stuck with (I mean had the wonderful opportunity to) babysit cadets (I mean shape future leaders of the Army). Needless to say, this puts a serious dent in my summer outdoor program.
That said, being at West Point isn't all that bad. Don't get me wrong, the living conditions are horrible while I live in old 1940s style barracks, none of the laundry facilities work, and I have to take prison showers and use port-a-john toilets, But, it located in the Hudson River Valley and the area is beautiful.
I have logged a lot of miles on the Hudson and it a great experience to add to my Kayaking repertoire. First, the river is actually classified as a tidal fjord. Depending on the tides (which fluctuate over three feet), the current of the river will actually change direction every six hours. I found this out when I thought I was going down stream but only moving about 2 miles an hours. (I did 6.5mph going what one would have thought was "upriver.")
Also, their is significant boat traffic on the Hudson. Everything from jet skis to power boats to ocean freighters.
Finally, the conditions on the Hudson can range from glass to 2-3 foot waves depending on the wind. The Hudson Valley easily channels the wind and can create harsh and confused conditions (especially when the wind and currents are opposite each other). I have done my fair share of surfing swells on the river. The two pictures below are taken a couple of days apart. While its difficult to see in the left picture, the waves in the middle of river are about two feet.