Baiocco's Reviews > The Hudson: An Illustrated Guide to the Living River

The Hudson by Stephen P. Stanne
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Apr 30, 08

bookshelves: nature-guides-and-histories
Recommended for: rafters, floaters, fly fisherman
Read in April, 2008

I started researching the Hudson River since I moved back to NY because I had summer dreams of rafting it. By the 3rd paragraph on The Hudson: An Illustrated Guide To the Living River I learned that the Hudson's strongest distinctive feature is that it's tidal flows work something like an accordian, and in a single day the river almost flows backwards as far as it does forwards, making raft/kayak travel tedious if not impossible. The author guestimated that it would take over 120 days to float the Hudson River, and seriously, who has that kind of time?

This book was helpful in pointing out some cool spots along the Hudson River to go visit, which fish are present so one can figure out what kind of flies to use to catch them, and at what times throughout the summer tides are at their strongest and weakest. It is possible to cover a great deal of distance floating the Hudson if you work with the tides and are out of the river during the time when its force will flow you backwards. This kept my optimism up for the summer.

Guides are pretty standard as far as nature goes (city guides I hold to a higher level of standards, mostly because cities are what we call "expensive" and I hate buying a guide and blowing money on places that are deemed "cool hangouts where the young folks congregate" only to find that the guide is wrong and there is nothing but old Czech guys playing the equivalent of open mic night mid 80s easy listening synth jazz at some club in Prague). But nature is usually free and as long as the guide has a map and a few points of interest (i.e. "don't eat these berries, they are poisonous") I will consider it useful. This one met that criteria. My only knock is that it recommended checking out too many books "for more clarification" on some of the earth science terms. A good author, I would think, might try at least paraphrasing some of the principles at work, right?

A coworker suggested I go check out the Rockefeller State Preserve up in Sleepy Hollow (yes, there is a bridge there where the Headless Horsemen rode his horse at night. yes, it was spooky. yes, there was a dinner called the Headless Horseman. yes, it had a specialty sandwhich called the IcKabob Crane. No, it was not good.) The RSP is actually on the border of Ossining and North Tarrytown and is a total kickass gift from those famously wealthy Rockefellers to the State of New York. It's trails run along a the Hudson River, sunset is fucking phenomenal, and there is an old church called Union Church that you can hike to which has stain glass windows designed by Chagall and Matisse which are completely rare and completely inspirational. There is also an agriculture part where they raise animals and herbs and vegetables for a restaurant located past the visitor center that only serves food from the Preserve. Kind of cool.

And you can take horses there. I also scouted out one of the best sleighriding hills in the County which overlooks the Hudson and may or may not launch you into the peristaltic tidal flow towards the end, and I can't wait to return this winter.
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