A new friend invited me to paddle the Hudson River with him and loaned me one of his touring kayaks which had a thigh brace. I only paddled once in a touring kayak with a guided group last year. I've paddled the Hudson River for 5 years in a tandem kayak and never experienced what I did this trip.
We started out in low tide; the river was beautiful, like glass, calm and quiet. We paddled quite a distance to a music festival that was going on this particular weekend and got to listen to the music for free in our kayaks. We took a few breaks, which was nice to get out and stretch my legs. I felt a bit cramped in such a narrow cockpit.
On the way back, the tide was high and the current stronger, but I like riding small waves. Before we knew it, 3 motor boats passed us and all of a sudden 4 foot waves were slamming our kayaks in the rear and the sides. I was scared out of my mind and yelled to my friend who was also caught in the high current waves. He has had more river kaying experience than I did and he yelled back saying he was also scared. He made it through the waves before I did. Had I capsized, I would have drowned even with my life vest on because the cockpit was too tight with the thigh brace and the fact that I had a small cooler between my legs, I could never have slipped out of that cockpit. I paddled with all my might and with God's help began praying out loud, "Jesus help me, Jesus help me." God steered that kayak for me, keeping the kayak straight into the waves. Had I not prayed out loud, I would have panicked and fogotten to breath, which could have been another cause of my death had the kayak flipped.
Lesson to be learned: Never paddle a boat that feels too tight for you especially on a river where you are against tides.
Never wedge a cooler between your legs especially if you don't fit well in the cockpit.
The Hudson River is a beautiful river to paddle, but not for a novice paddler, as I felt I was even though I tandem kayaked the river for 5 years prior to this trip. Tandem kayaking is so much easier than solo kayaking and there is that other person who can help you out if your arms get tired of paddling!
Croton Point Park has cabins and sites to pitch tents; must contact Westchester County Parks Department to reserve.
Fees to camp at the park. The place we launched our kayaks from was behind the Croton Railroad Station - a free launch area.
The Croton Point Park, where one can also launch into the Hudson River, has fees for parking. With a County Park Pass $4.00 to park; without County Park Pass $8.00 to park. Other than these fees, no fee at most launch sites into the Hudson River.
Depends on where you live; the Hudson River runs from New York City all the way up into the Adirondack Park Region.