I found my new favorite local paddling place. The Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge. It’s about a 10 minute drive from my front door – and I went to explore it in my canoe this afternoon. The Wallkill River is a lazy river, on average about 40-feet wide, with a slow – yet very constant – current. Being a National Wildlife Refuge, one would expect to see some wildlife…

Besides the beaver, red-winged blackbirds, great blue herons, fish and mosquitos, I stumbled upon the biggest black bear I’ve ever seen in the wild. He was really big. The photo doesn’t really do it justice (click on it to enlarge!). As I floated past him the following thoughts were going through my brain:

  • Bears CAN swim
  • Lucky I’m going downstream – the current will take me away without me creating any paddling noise
  • Bears CAN swim
  • Glad my camera is around my neck and turned on, instead of being tucked away in my drybag
  • Bears CAN swim

He never saw me, or else he didn’t really care. But that was certainly close enough to get my heart pounding. I took a bunch of other photos this afternoon, but none of them really compare to this one.


Been a lot going on here personally. We had to put Bessie, our dog, to sleep. I’m not really able to talk/blog about it at length as I’m still very much in mourning, but my wife has a nice post about it which she wrote the morning of. I suggest you read hers if you want to know more.