Not much in size, but plenty of wildlife and scenery. I'd guess the paddling area to be less than 50 acres and hardly more than a mile end-to-end. With the put-in/take-out located midway, a total exploration would be a little over 2 miles in length.
Turn right(east)from the put-in to enter the pond. The shoreline is mostly developed, but most homes are kept back far enough to blend in with the trees. This, plus abundant aquatic vegetation, some well-placed rocks, and some secluded coves makes for a popular hangout for swans, mallards, geese, herons, and others I can't even name-- often all at once! I don't dawdle here too long though, so that the birds can have their space.
After exploring the pond, turn around back toward the put-in and go under the bridge to follow the Wading River upstream a-ways. There's hardly a current as it pleasantly meanders among marsh and trees. One spring, I unexpectedly came within ten feet of a mother swan on her nest when rounding a corner. It's hard to say who was more startled, and I caught a glimpse of her eggs, but she stayed put and I quickly got out of the way. On the way back I gave her a wide berth and received an escort from Dad with his chest and wings all puffed out to show me who's boss! I've also seen painted turtles, a snapper, and an otter (or was it a fisher?).
Shortly after passing some condos atop a wooded bluff, the river becomes narrow and the current picks up from the confluence with the outflow from Chartley Pond up ahead. It can be fun testing your strength against the current, but it eventually gets clogged with blow-downs and such as it passes by a golf course and becomes more trouble than it's worth. From here you can have a nice lazy drift back, or you could sprint it in about 15 min.
Paved parking for 4-5 cars, short foot-path down to the water. The landing is tight and rocky, but you can make do easily enough. There are several stretches along the river that are suitable for landing, but hardly seem worth it for a picnic.
Rte. 495 to exit 10. Follow Rte. 123 west. One mile past Norton center, you'll see a cemetery on the left. Take the very next left opposite the school, circle around behind the cemetery, and turn right onto Power St. The put-in/take-out will be at the bridge about 1/4 mi. on the left.
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water