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Mariton: West Branch Delaware

September 7, 2011

Over Labor Day weekend, Maureen and I got to paddle another section of the Delaware River.  We stayed at our friend’s fishing cottage in Deposit, New York.  There were three couples, and we had a wonderful weekend.  We ate on the deck in the evenings, played cards, and enjoyed a campfire.

On  Saturday, we canoed from Deposit to Ball’s Eddy in Pennsylvania.  This is the West Branch of the Delware.  Deposit is a few miles below the Cannonsville Reservoir, one of the water sources for New York City.  The West Branch joins the East Branch just south of Hancock, NY, where the river becomes the “Main Stem”.  The river was high because the reservoir was still releasing water after Hurricane Irene.  The high water was actually good for canoeing because there were no rocks to hit, and the current did all the work.

The West Branch is one of the famous trout streams in the Catskills.  Because the reservoir releases from the bottom, the water temperatures are very cold (50 F the day we canoed), which is great for trout.  We saw lots of fly fisherman on the water, even with the high water.  We stopped for a shore lunch, and watched an angler catch and released a nice trout from a drift boat.

We saw lots of wildlife.  Right at the launch, a Bald Eagle was perched over the river.  We saw another Eagle circling overhead later in the day.  We saw several Common Mergansers, Wood Ducks and Belted Kingfishers.  Deer were feeding along the shore.  The scenery with the Catskills in the background was wonderful.

On Sunday morning, the group headed to Roscoe, NY to visit a farmers market.  It was dark and dreary looking, but our plan was to drive to Crystal Lake and canoe after shopping at the market.  As we drove to the Lake we were enveloped in a dense fog.  It started to sprinkle just as we found the parking area .  It didn’t look good, but we decided to eat lunch and see what the weather did.  The fog started to lift as we finished our picnic, and we decided to unload the boats.  It got sunny and we took in the scenery as we slowly paddled our canoes along the shore.

We had a great weekend, blessed by good weather, great scenery and wonderful friends.

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