The Hudson River: 315 miles from NY Harbor to Lake Champlain

It is difficult to describe something as profoundly beautiful and grand as the Hudson River. From the time you enter the New York Harbor you are immersed in her energy. The NY Harbor is actually where she ends. The culminating point for this huge waterway originates in the Adirondack Mountains. I love this river. This would be my fifth time to sail her home. Remember in Genesis, on the fifth day God created creatures that live in the sea and creatures that fly? Hold that thought… As we entered the NY Harbor I said to David, I thought there was a submarine between the two channels (the NY City channel and the other to Sandy Hook, NJ). At that very moment, a pair of humpback whales breached the surface. They surfaced again, and we were astounded. We entered the shipping channel into NYC next to two yachts, an enormous cargo barge, and a pair of humpback whales.

No phone in hand for a photo so I found this one for you with the Empire State Building in the background. From Getty Images. Artist, Artie Raslich.

We made our way under the Varrazano Narrows Bridge connecting Staten Island and Brooklyn, past The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, along the Manhattan shoreline, and into the waters of the Hudson River. My fifth pilgrimage up the mighty Hudson River. Five, the number that represents dharma. Since I don’t believe in coincidences, this journey must indeed reflect my soul’s purpose. Not what I am, but how I am.

Writing this, I am wondering what word(s) can I use to describe NYC? I hear the word, “dense” and this works for me. It works across reasons. The obvious ones are the physical ones, like millions of people are packed together in a million buildings on both sides of this narrow section of the river. Density is also another way to describe “how we are” in these bodies we inhabit. On this particular morning, I request that we continue on our way north, and not drop our anchor behind the statue as planned. The density feels contagious and I want to lighten up. We agree to cruise on and set a course for Croton-on-the-Hudson and Half Moon Bay Marina. And it happens then that I feel immensely lighter. A planned five hour day turns to a nine hour day and a grand way to meet the Hudson River.

We were here at Half Moon Bay and it is starting to look a lot like the place we came from.

The Hudson is 315 miles long and we intended to cover them ahead of the throng of cruisers behind us. You see, there’s a legendary marina in New Baltimore, NY (Shady Harbor) that has an annual pig roast and blessing of the boats each spring. MANY boats will be there on the following Saturday. It’s ironic that we are pushing on to avoid the celebration as David would enjoy a pig roast and I love the blessing of the boats, but the pull to ease the burden of density wins out; again and again. We pass the places now familiar to us. Westpoint, the mansions and historic sites along her shores and among her hillsides, her lighthouses, her bridges, and all her creatures. Blessed by the company of eagles, osprey, sturgeons, gulls, and more. We travel on.

We spent one starry night behind Esepos Island on our anchor and then off to Shady Harbor Marina while it would be spacious and quiet. We prepare to stay three nights. One for boat maintenance, one for all the chores shore affords, and one because the wind is going to blow out of the south at 30 MPH. That windy day is a blessing. David reads, I paint birthday cards for Amanda’s twins, and friends we made in Marathon come howling up the river and adeptly bring their boat, ”Hardwork”, to the dock. We are all there to grab their lines and welcome them to this miraculous day.

Jen and Tom on Hardwork are stopping to prepare to make a loop up around Eastern Canada, around Maine, to Boston, back to NYC, and return to the Keys. I hope to see them again next winter. They remind me of our best us. I like the way they be. They are kind, they’re meticulous with their boat, they are exceedingly grateful for things, and they are expressive. A short story before signing off in images.

When we first arrived in Marathon, January 1, 2022, a couple were preparing to leave and they had purchased two bicycles at the Pawn Shop. They opted to not load them up for their trip back to New England and offered them to us. We happily accepted the bikes and I peddled like the wind around Marathon, but we also have a car there so mostly they sat on the bike rack. When Jen and Tom arrived they borrowed the bikes. They loved the bikes and praised the bikes construction and performance. We suggested they take the bikes with them. Tom cleaned up their bright yellow bodies a bit, put new tires on them and added baskets. When they took off, a month ahead of us, they loaded them on their upper deck and departed. I wasn’t around that particular morning, but Jen tried to sneak money inside a book she was returning to me, David discovered it and refused it. A gift is a gift no matter its value. SO when we were reunited in New Baltimore, Jen pulled some Shady Harbor shadiness and had wine delivered to our boat and then they left a gift bag with luscious local hemp oil for me and a beautiful card, ”We are enjoying the bikes. Thank you”! Here’s the thing. I had seen that oil in the ship store and held it in my hand. I read about the maker and the nonprofit they helped fund with their sales. I had put it back, twice. It felt like too much. It was meant for me after all. More importantly, it was meant for them to give to me. That is the incredible lightness of being. Or as Joe Henry wrote about, ”The Gospel According to Water”.

Irene and Hardwork on the dock in New Baltimore.
On the dock at lock 5 in Schylerville.
On the free wall in Whitehall.

We left Shady Harbor amid an early morning rainstorm and headed to the Champlain Canal. Eleven locks to carry us from the Hudson River into our beloved lake between the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains. Two nights on free walls in the Canal and then a glorious morning ride up the lake propelled by a lightness of being, love, and gratitude; drenched in the beautiful scent of Farmhouse Fresh Hemp Body Oil.

2 thoughts on “The Hudson River: 315 miles from NY Harbor to Lake Champlain

  1. Wendy McGrath

    This post literally took my breath away. Multiple times.
    “May the wind always be at your back and the sun upon your face and may the wings of destiny carry you aloft to dance with the stars”
    Breathing in and out love for you. XOXOXO, Wendy

    1. BB

      Thank you xoxo I love this. I was writing / typing on my tiny screen as David steered and there came a point when I had only one bar of service so I hit the “publish” button without even trying to edit/update some of the errors LOL Love that you are so forgiving. We are a bit further up the lake today with some reception however; too much wind to travel. Thought of you and your beautiful family this week with Flynn’s graduation and all. Dan posted some photos and everyone looked happy and handsome. LOVE to you and the entire crew. BB


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