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Delaware River  August 4 - 6, 2006                                                     Bookmark and Share

Looking for a nice river experience for the whole family. Then the Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River area is a great place to start. This 73.4-mile stretch along the Pennsylvania and New York state boundary is maintained by the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System and the National Park Service. This is just a small section of the Delaware River that starts in the western slopes of the Catskill Mountains in eastern New York and runs approximately 331-miles to the Delaware Bay in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Delaware River had a flood that hit at the end of July of this year. It was the highest level ever. They estimated it reached 30 feet, with the flood stage being 17 feet. That changed the look of the river by washing away a lot of the brush on its banks making it look like new.

The upper Delaware near Port Jarvis is just a little over an hours drive from Danbury Ct..
There you will find a few Outfitters that offer Canoe, rubber rafts and kayak rentals. The group I went with on this adventure has been using Indian Head Canoes for the past 9 years. There’s also Kittatinny Canoes nearby.

At the Indian Head Canoes
Matamoras, PA base our group of 16 rented 8 canoes for the weekend, which included camping for 2 nights on one of the rivers campsites. Indian Head Canoes then bused our group to the Pond Eddy Base just a few miles up the road where we unloaded our camping gear to be picked up later after we canoed down the river from the Barryville Base which is 9 miles or 3.5 hrs. We only carried a small cooler for lunch, drinks and fishing poles. There we headed to the Barryville, NY Base where we picked up our canoes, life vests and paddles. You have a choice of paddle sizes so pick the right one for your comfort or experience. There you will receive the rules of the river and safety precautions from Indian Head Canoes crew to follow on your river journey.

You might want to change into your swim trunks at this time. Have a good pair of  Sport Sandals or old sneakers or a pair of Water Shoes. Depending on the water level, you might get stuck on the rocks and have to get out of your raft to get you going again, plus, it makes it a lot easier on your feet when near the shore and you have to pull your raft in.

The water was clear and the skies were sunny. The water level was just right too. Just enough water flow to keep you moving down the river with just a little paddling needed. With the occasional swim and casting of the rod it was just a very pleasant experience.

If you burn easy make sure you wear sun lotion, hat & shirt because the water reflection increases your sun exposure. Low water could be dangerous too if you fall in. The low water will not cushion your fall making the rocks painfully dangerous. So think before pushing in your friend or sitting high on the rubber raft when in low water areas. For canoes just Class 1 Rapids could be a hassle because the water could come over the bow of the canoe and fill the canoe with water. Also keeping the canoe straight on the rapids will help you avoid capsizing. 

After a few hours we arrived at the Pond Eddy Base to pick up our camping gear, food and drinks for the weekend. Be aware of the size of the canoe when planning what to bring. Having to stack a cooler high on the canoe will make it a bit unstable. Always bag and seal the items you want to keep dry because, no matter how good you are with a canoe, tipping over could happen to anyone.

 From there it was just a few of miles of paddling to our campsite which was just a few hundred yards past the Kittatinny Canoes launch site. After unloading all our gear we started a fire and made some dinner. Now it’s time to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

The next day we fished, mostly caught small mouth bass (catch and release), we ate, did some swimming and watch all the different rafts and people floating down the river like a never-ending parade. We also helped a young woman who hurt her back on a rock falling off her raft in shallow water. We got her across the river where emergency personal took her to the hospital where she was later released with just a bruised back, thanks for that.

The next day it was time to leave. The next several miles were a lot of fun. Stopping several times for swimming and a little fishing. Some white water too. There was even some high rock cliffs were people were having fun jumping off. There were even some ducks looking for some handouts too. Finally we were back were we started at the Indian Head Canoes Matamoras, PA Base were we handed back our canoes, vests and paddles.

Well all in all, that 19 miles of the Delaware River was very scenic and an all around cool experience. All the other rafters we met along the way were pretty nice people too. I’m definitely looking forward to exploring more of this beautiful river. Till next time have fun and enjoy all your adventures.

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River Preservation Websites


River & General Water Safety Tips       Whitewater Rafting Ratings

1: Life jacket is mandatory at all times for children 12 & under.

2: Always wear your life jacket such as a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device (PFD) when in and around the water.

3: Respect private property. Not all the property along the river is for public use.

4: Leave valuables in your car that will not be needed on the water.

5: Leave your car keys at the Outfitters rental office if necessary.

6: Arrive early to allow plenty of time to get organized for your trip.

7: Leave a change of clothes in your car for the trip home.

8: Keep our river clean by securing all items that could float down stream.

9: Alcohol is permitted but please be responsible. Do not mix alcohol with swimming, diving or boating. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance, and coordination, affects your swimming and diving skills, and reduces your body's ability to stay warm.

10: Outfitters will not rent to anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol - Laws are enforced.

11: The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in and around the water is to know how to swim. Children or inexperienced swimmers should take precautions.

12: Always swim with a friend and never swim alone. Read and obey all rules and posted signs.

13: Watch out for the dangerous “too’s” – too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.

14: Set water safety rules for the whole family based on swimming abilities (for example, inexperienced swimmers should stay in water less than chest deep).

15: Be knowledgeable of the water environment you are in and its potential hazards, such as deep and shallow areas, currents, depth charges, obstructions and where the entry and exit points are located. The more informed you are, the more aware you will be of hazards and safe practices.

16: Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.

17: Use a feet-first entry when entering the water.

18: Enter headfirst only when the area is clearly marked for diving and has no obstructions.

19: Know how to prevent, recognize, and respond to emergencies.

20: Do not overload the raft.

21: Do not go rafting after a heavy rain.

22: When rafting with a tour company, make sure the guides are qualified. Check with the local chamber of commerce for listings of accredited tour guides and companies.

23: Know local weather conditions. Make sure the water and weather conditions are safe. Because water conducts electricity, it is wise to stop swimming, boating, or any activities on the water as soon as you see or hear a storm. Also, heavy rains can make certain areas dangerous.

24: If you are planning to fish, check with your fish and game agency or state health department to see where you can fish safely, then follow these guidelines and always fish with a permit.


Beware of Lightning

The summits of mountains, crests of ridges, slopes above timberline, and large meadows are extremely hazardous places to be during Lightning Storms. If you are caught in such an exposed place, quickly descend to a lower elevation, away from the direction of the approaching storm, and squat down, keeping your head low. A dense forest located in a depression provides the best protection. Avoid taking shelter under isolated trees or trees much taller than adjacent trees. Stay away from water, metal objects, and other substances that will conduct electricity long distances.

By squatting with your feet close together, you have minimal contact with the ground, thus reducing danger from ground currents. If the threat of lightning strikes is great, your group should not huddle together but spread out at least 15 feet apart. If one member of your group is jolted, the rest of you can tend to him. Whenever lightning is nearby, take off backpacks with either external or internal metal frames. In tents, stay at least a few inches from metal tent poles.

Always allow for bad weather and for the possibility that you may be forced to spend a night outdoors unexpectedly.  Survival Books


Basic Camping Rules and Guidelines to Follow           Camping Websites

These are just some of the basic camping rules and guidelines to follow. It’s a good idea to contact the place you’re visiting to find out what their rules and regulations are so that your information is up to date and current, plus you can get updates on any changes or unanticipated conditions that could effect your visit.

1: Camp only in designated areas. Camping is prohibited within 150 feet of roads, trails, lakes, ponds, streams or other bodies of water.

2: Groups of ten or more persons or stays of more than three days in one place require a permit from a Forest Ranger responsible for that area.

3: Lean-tos are available in some areas on a first come first served basis. Lean-tos cannot be used exclusively and must be shared with other campers.

4: Use pit privies provided near popular camping areas and trailheads. If none are available, dispose of human waste by digging a hole 6"-8" deep at least 150 feet from water or campsites. Cover with leaves and soil.

5: Do not use soap to wash yourself, clothing or dishes within 150ft of water.

6: Bring bottled or tap water for drinking. Always start out with a full water bottle, and replenish your supply from tested public systems when possible. On long trips you can find water in streams, lakes, and springs, but be sure to purify any water from the wild, no matter how clean it appears. Drinking and cooking water should be boiled for 5 minutes, treated with purifying tablets or filtered through filtration device to prevent instances of Giardia Infection. It is not a good idea to depend on fresh water from a lake or stream for drinking, no matter how clean it appears. Some pathogens thrive in remote mountain lakes or streams and there is no way to know what might have fallen into the water upstream. Bringing water to a full Boil for 1 minute will kill microorganisms. At higher elevations, where the boiling point of water is lower, boil it for a full 5 minutes. You can also use water purification tablets and water filters. The purification tablets – which contain iodine, halazone, or chlorine – kill most waterborne bacteria, viruses, and some (but not all) parasites. Because purification tablets do not kill some parasites – such as Cryptosporidium parvum, Giardia lamblia, and larger bacteria –, you must also use a water filter. These water-filtering devices must be 1 micron absolute or smaller. Over time purification tablets lose their potency, so keep your supply fresh. Water sanitizing tablets for washing dishes can also be purchased (just don’t confuse the two). Water purification tablets, filters, and sanitizing tablets can be purchased at most camping supply stores.   Clean Water and Filters              


Campfires & Fire Safety

1: Campfires should only be built in existing fire pits or fireplaces if provided.

2: Use only dead and down wood for fires. Cutting standing trees is prohibited.

3: Extinguish all fires with water and stir ashes until they are cold to the touch. Do not build fires in areas marked by a "No Fires" disk. Camp stoves are safer, more efficient and cleaner. If you build a campfire, carefully extinguish the fire and dispose of the ashes before breaking camp. Likewise, leftover food should be burned, not dumped. Lastly, be sure to pack garbage bags to dispose of any other trash, and carry it out with you. Do not burn your garbage.
Dig a pit away from overhanging branches or use pit provided. Circle the pit with rocks.
Clear a 5 foot area around the pit down to the soil. (rack), Stack extra wood upwind and away from the/any fire. After lighting, do not discard the match until cold. Never leave a campfire unattended. Keep a bucket of water and shovel nearby.



Leave no Trace

1: Carry out what you carry in. Practice "Leave No Trace" camping and hiking. Pack it in and then pack it out.

2: Keep your pet under control. Restrain it on a leash when others approach. Collect and bury droppings away from water, trails and campsites. Keep your pet away from drinking water sources.

3: Observe and enjoy wildlife and plants but leave them undisturbed.

4: Removing plants, rocks, fossils or artifacts from state land without a permit is illegal.


Ticks & Bugs

Some Ticks may carry Lyme disease and other diseases so here are some useful tips. Wear light colored clothing so the ticks can be easily spotted. If is hunting season, then of course it’s a good idea to wear orange. Apply insect repellent to skin and clothing and tuck pants into socks.
Examine clothing and skin for ticks often. Make sure your pet has a good flea collar too.
Remove them immediately with tweezers near to the ticks head close to the skin. Do not use flammable liquid or matches to remove ticks. After removing tick disinfect with soap and water, rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Record date and location of tick bite and if flu like conditions appear please see a doctor. Risk of disease is reduced if tick is removed in 36 hours.
American Lyme Disease Foundation    Lyme Ticks     Powassan Virus (wiki)  


Cooking at Camp

After you have decided on a menu, you need to plan how you will prepare the food. You’ll want to take as few pots as possible (they’re heavy!). Camping supply stores sell lightweight Camping cook set that nest together, but you can also use aluminum foil wrap and pans for cooking. Have a shopping list ready of things you need for when you get to your destination.

You’ll need to decide in advance how you will cook. Will you bring along a portable Backpack Stove, or will you build a campfire? Many camping areas prohibit campfires, so check first or assume you will have to take a stove. Make sure to bring any equipment you will need. If you are bringing a camp stove, practice putting it together and lighting it before you leave.

Of course you don't have to skimp on food or comfort if you don't want too.
Gourmet Camp Cooking Book    Camp Gourmet Kitchen     Camping Gear   
Camping Check List


Food Ideas

Sandwiches, fried chicken, bread and cheese, and even salads but need to be kept cool and dry. Non-perishable foods. Peanut butter in plastic jars, concentrated juice boxes, canned tuna, ham, chicken, and beef. Dried noodles and soups. Dehydrated foods and dried meats,
dried fruits, raisins, brown sugar, nuts. Powdered milk and fruit drinks. Powdered mixes for biscuits or pancakes are easy to carry and prepare, as is dried pasta. Tea & Broth cubes. There are plenty of powdered sauce mixes that can be used over pasta, but check the required ingredient list. Carry items like dried pasta, rice, and baking mixes in plastic bags and take only the amount you’ll need.

Protein Bars  -  Clif Nutrition Bars  -  Beef Jerky  -  Freeze Dried Camp Food

Make Your Own Energy Bars     Custom Nutrition Bars       Trail Mix Recipes

Recipes Websites       Grocery Food Supplies Delivery     Foraging & Wild Edible Plants

If cooking at the campsite for several people it's a good idea to know what meals everyone would like to eat. Know the recipes and make a list so that shopping for your food and ingredients is easy and less time consuming. Know where to shop at your destination. Have the right equipment to prepare the meal and serve it too.


Keep Everything Clean and Fresh

Remember to bring disposable wipes for cleaning dishes. Water is just too heavy to bring for this job and there might not be wash areas for cleaning dishes. Cleaning dishes in lakes, ponds, streams or other bodies of water is not recommended. Bag up all your trash to dispose of when you return to a safe dumping area. You can also use grass, mud or ashes from a fire to clean cooking items.

Meat and poultry products may contain bacteria that cause food-borne illness. They must be cooked to destroy these bacteria and held at temperatures that are either too hot or too cold for these bacteria to grow. Most bacteria grow at temperatures between 40°F or above 140°F and can reach dangerous levels within 2 hours. It’s best to cook foods before leaving home, cool them, and transport them cold in the cooler. Bring 2 coolers, one for drinks and snacks, and another for more perishable food. The drink cooler will be opened and closed a lot, which lets hot air in and causes the ice to melt faster

Avoid cross-contamination. When transporting raw meat or poultry, double wrap or place the packages in plastic bags to prevent juices from the raw product from dripping on other foods. Always wash your hands before and after handling food, and don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry.

Refrigerate or freeze the food overnight. For a cold source, bring frozen gel-packs or freeze some box drinks. The drinks will thaw as you hike and keep your meal cold at the same time. 


Gear ideas

Outdoor Gear Recommendations    

Travel Gear Check list

Travelers Check List



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