Last Sunday, a group of hardy and dedicated Paddle Diva paddlers explored the Peconic River, Long Island’s largest and most ecologically diverse river. Winds were strong but at our backs, which made for a relaxing paddle. We were well protected and the gusts helped push us along.
The Peconic originates as swamps and bogs that flow eastward, widening into lakes here and there, for about fifteen miles before emptying into the bay. We started our paddle at the Mill Road boat launch in Calverton, and participants were quickly challenged by having to portage their boards and make their way under a large culvert that runs under route 27, then another running under the Long Island Expressway.
Paddle Diva’s Mary Scheerer led the group through Peconic Lake and then along the Peconic Bog County Park. We spotted alewives, blue herons, kingfishers, lots of swans of varying ages — and saw quite a few freshwater clams, some quite large. Foliage along the banks is starting to change – reds and yellows and oranges, and we stopped for lunch in our usual spot, a set of stairs in the warm sun. Lunch for these river paddles always comes from Mary’s Marvelous – we swap halves with one another. The group favorite was the spiced chicken breast with chipotle mayo, but the roast beef came in a close second!
The last leg of the trip is very mellow and thankfully, due to the rain last week, the river was a bit fuller so we did not run aground. These are the last weeks we’ll see so many ducks and geese, and of course the last few ospreys who are still enjoying the snappers (baby blue fish) before heading south.
We paddled another 20 minutes, finishing up the trip in Grangabel Park in the heart of Riverhead, and while that would have been enough to count the tour a great success, we decided to detour for homemade ice cream — a very popular decision!