We started out from the boat launch just north of Sparrowbush, NY off Rt 97. Four of us, 2 kayaks and a canoe for an overnight trip to Dingmans Ferry, PA.
It was raining on Saturday morning as we put in the river at about 9:30 am and continued to rain throughout the day. We paddled south as the river was moving well past Port Jervis, NY where we encountered our only serious rapids. A small 1-2 foot drop which was handled easily. As we passed Port Jervis we went under the Rt 6 and Rt 84 bridges and left "civilization" as we entered the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
As we entered the park we saw the highlight of the rain soaked day. Two bald eagles in flight. A large adult and a smaller juvenile. The adult glided in over our heads and landed in a riverside tree.
We had planned to camp as soon as we found a marked campsite in the park but the first two we came to (sites 1 & 5) were very muddy from the rain. We continued paddling looking for the sites on Minisink Island. We missed #6 and went on to Site #9. This site had a nice beach to land on and store the boats. We Arrived at 2:00 pm and ate our lunch (sandwiches) standing in the rain hoping it would stop. After about an hour we decided to unload the boats and set up camp in the rain. This was not as difficult as we had thought it would be.
Once the tents were up and the gear inside them we set out to explore and find firewood. What we found was bewildering.
As we were passing the island earlier we had seen four deer on the island and wondered why they were on an island. We had found our answer. Over a small ridge about 100 yards from the river was a huge cornfield. Why or how it was there we don't know, but we knew what the deer were eating.
As we were collecting firewood the rain finally stopped at about 4:30. We then relaxed for about an hour and then began to think about dinner. At 6:00 we started a campfire and set up our camp stove to cook dinner (beef stew). As we ate dinner the sun actually came out from the behind the clouds just in time to set. After dinner the traditional marshmallow roast began and we sat by the fire until bedtime.
The overnight was uneventful as it rained throughout the night.
Sunday was a beautiful sunny day and since we had paddled 13 miles Saturday and only had 7 to go we slept late and leisurely ate breakfast and broke camp.
Sunday's paddle was only about 2 hours as the river was running well and we were rested. We arrived at Dingmans Ferry Access at about 1:45 and unloaded the boats and had lunch.
Other than the rain on Saturday the trip was great.
Primitive River Campsites have a steel fire ring and an outdoor toilet.
Dingmans Ferry access has indoor toilets and drinking water.
No fees or permits are required for the River campsites. However it is first come first served so on the weekends in the summer find a campsite by lunchtime or you may be in trouble.
To Boat Launch North of Sparrowbush, NY: (From NYC area)
RT 80 West to RT 23(NJ) North to RT 6(NY) West to RT 97(NY) North to Hook Road. Left on Hook Road to Boat Launch.
To Dingmans Ferry Access, PA (From NYC)
RT 80 West to RT 15 North to RT 206 North to RT 560 West to Dingmans bridge. Over bridge make left into Dingmans Access.
We used the web sites and maps from the National Park Service:
- Trip Duration: 2-3 Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)