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Pilgrim's Paddle: Day Three, Fatigue Rides Along

This is the third in a four-part series on one woman's journey to find The Hudson River Greenway, and what she learned during her solo paddle on the river. Part one described the launch from Kingston.  In part two she searches for a campsite. Check back for part four.

Day three: Wappinger Creek to Beacon (7.7 miles)

I oversleep. Here it is, practically daylight, and here I am, camped illegally. Hustling to break camp, I stuff a fiber bar in my mouth and glance up. The world has been colored in with a pink highlighter: a hot magenta sunrise in the sky and a hot magenta sunrise in the creek. Thirty seconds later, it's over. Thy sky is pale blue. For all I know, this happens here every morning, and every other morning of my life I missed it.

I have big plans on this short day to cross the river to explore Moodna Creek, then re-cross to my intended campsite, Denning Point, a peninsula that overlooks the iconic Bannerman Castle. But it's raining, the river's bucking, and my arms are trembling with fatigue. Fatigue. I haven't factored that in, but the river is expressing itself via a strong northerly wind, and I have no choice but to listen. I've learned by now that like Walmart customers, the river is always right.

I slash my itinerary and spend an indulgent morning at an overgrown brickyard just north of the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, to the chagrin of the resident heron. I wonder whether the Metro North passengers can see me snoozing by the fire as they whiz past, and if they can, whether they'd like to trade places. I wouldn't.

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Becca Tucker, a Bedford native and graduate of Fox Lane High School and Yale University, edits a new green living magazine called dirt, covering the fertile Hudson Valley region. She is the daughter of Main Street Connect CEO Carll Tucker.

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