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The D&R Canal

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11_24_14Student Response (Lower)

11_24_14Student Response (Upper)

After we left the busy port of New York City and Arthur Kill, Dave and I paddled on the Raritan River. Then we took the D&R Canal to the Delaware River. The D stands for Delaware and the R stands for Raritan. The Delaware & Raritan Canal has a long history.

Our coldest day of the journey happened when we were on the Raritan River. We wore many layers of clothing under our dry suits to stay warm. The dry suits would keep us dry if we were to get splashed or accidentally fall in the water. We also wore winter hats, mittens and big boots.

We were happy to reach the D&R Canal. It is narrow and surrounded by forest, so the wind didn’t bother us much. A trail runs along the canal, so we saw several people out running and walking. We would duck for low bridges so we wouldn’t hit our heads. Every few miles we came to an old lock that we had to portage around. We had some help on the portages from our new friends, Monica, George and Leona. Monica paddled with us for several miles and George later switched places with her. We used George’s cart on the portage. We even had a nice picnic lunch together.

Monica, Dave and Amy paddle on the D&R Canal.

Monica, Dave and Amy paddle on the D&R Canal.

The main canal is 36 miles long and there is a 22-mile long feeder canal too. When the United States entered into the Industrial Revolution in the early nineteenth century, many canals were built. The canals were used to transport resources to manufacturing centers and markets. The D&R Canal was built through New Jersey as a safe route for transporting resources between Philadelphia and New York.

The D&R Canal was built between 1830 and 1834. By the 1870s, the D&R Canal was one of America’s busiest canals. Most of the cargo that traveled through the canal was coal from Pennsylvania. Barges full of coal were either pulled through the canal by a team of mules or pushed by steam tugboats to New York.

Amy and George portage past a lock on the D&R Canal.

Amy and George portage past a lock on the D&R Canal.

As railroads were used more and more around the end of the nineteenth century, the canal was used less. The canal closed in 1932. The state of New Jersey bought it to use as a water supply system. A large stretch of the canal became a state park in 1974.

As we paddled on the canal, we saw several blue herons. People ran and walked on the path. We even saw one man paddling a kayak. I thought it was really great that this waterway and surrounding forest have been preserved.




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What should we study in the Chesapeake Bay?

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During the final week of Paddle to DC we will be working our way down the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary of its kind in the United States and is home to over 300 species of fish, as well as many different types of shellfish and crabs. Plus, there are many birds like Osprey and Great Blue Heron, which live there. We need you to help us decide what type of animals we should focus on when we are studying the Chesapeake Bay. Cast your vote and help us decide.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

The post What should we study in the Chesapeake Bay? appeared first on Wilderness Classroom.

What has been your favorite part of Paddle to DC?

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Throughout our 2,000 mile journey from the Boundary Waters to Washington D.C. we have traveled through a wide variety of places, from the pristine lakes and forests of the Boundary Waters and the rapid-studded Mattawa River to the ferry-filled New York Harbor. We have been paddling and sailing for 90 days and only have 10 more days to get to DC. As we look back on the journey may of the places we visited and people we met along the way stand out. While we were paddling yesterday we wondered what your favorite part of the journey has been. What has been your favorite part of Paddle to DC? It’s not over; we still have plenty of adventure ahead of us, but we are curious to learn what your favorite part has been.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it your answers. We look forward to hearing from you.

Keep Exploring!


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Canoeing Through New York City

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11_17_14Student Response (Lower)

11_17_14Student Response (Upper)

As Dave and I paddled down the Hudson River we began to see more and more buildings. The buildings got taller and taller. Trains rumbled down each side of the river. Cars whizzed overhead on bridges. Dave and I looked at each other and he said, “We are a long ways away from the wilderness.” We had entered New York City. Over 8 million people live here.

We decided to take a route around Manhattan Island, turning off of the Hudson River and onto the Harlem River. The Harlem River looped around to the east and south. We only saw a couple of boats on the Harlem River. There was a constant hum of cars driving on either side of the river.

The Harlem River emptied into the East River and we were in the heart of the city. Here, seven people in three canoes met us. They were from the North Brooklyn Boat Club. We were so happy to see them. They escorted us to their boathouse and showed us the sights. It was exciting to see the Empire State Building from the water. We ended our day sitting around an outdoor fire, eating delicious food and telling stories at the boat club.

The next day was one of the most challenging of the expedition. We left early in the morning to catch the outgoing tide, paddling past Manhattan during rush hour. Ferries zoomed back and forth across the East River. People ran along the water’s edge, getting their morning exercise. People on bicycles and in cars rushed to work. We turned on our VHF radio so that we could hear what the ferry captains were saying to each other. We paddled along the side, keeping an eye out for boat wake (waves made from fast-moving boats). We took a minute to admire the Brooklyn Bridge as we passed under it.

Past the tip of Manhattan, we could see One World Trade Center towering above all the other tall buildings. We made our way towards the Liberty Island. We paddled as close as we could get, admiring the Statue of Liberty from the water. This was as close as either of us had ever come to the Lady Liberty. Did you know that the Statue of Liberty was a gift of friendship from the people of France? The statue was dedicated by President Grover Cleveland in 1886. She is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.

Amy admires the Statue of Liberty from the water.

Amy admires the Statue of Liberty from the water.

Our journey for the day was not done at Liberty Island. We continued on through New York Harbor—passing massive cargo ships tied off to docks. At one point we had to pull over between two large ships at docks as a ship traveled down the tight channel past us. We made our way onto a smaller waterway called Arthur Kill and breathed a sigh of relief. Our trip through New York City was over. It was exciting and fun, but a little scary at the same time. This was a challenging and dangerous place to paddle. We have reached a milestone in our journey. We have just under 20 days to get to Washington D.C.

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