Where the River Officially Begins

As those of you following this swim know, we scamper around the Mohawk River headwaters in search of segments deep enough to swim.

It rained last night--a good thing in the river-swimming world--so today we hiked to the official beginning of the Mohawk River: the confluence of the East and West Branches.

 Where the Mohawk River officially begins: the confluence of the East and West Branches.

Where the Mohawk River officially begins: the confluence of the East and West Branches.

According to a local kayaker, the seven-mile section from the confluence to Hillside was difficult to run at low water and featured some class II and III whitewater.

Air and water temperatures were in the low 50's. I wore a winter wetsuit because winter suits do not have expensive hydrophobic coatings that can get shredded on rocks.

I pulled a tube with me that held a spot GPS messenger, water sampling gear, waterproof camera, emergency supplies, gel packets, and energy drink. My crew guy, Andy, held on to the extras.

Last night's rain pushed me fast over shallows, and past gray cliffs, slamming my legs and chest into rocks every minute or two.

I took my lumps with the rocks.  What worried me more were the logjams and strainers that the river seemed eager to push me beneath.

I only got folded under one nasty strainer (see above).  Not to make light of it, but hey, I clawed my way through through the underwater forest, popped out the other side, chased down my supply tube, and just three short hours later racked up at the Hillside Road bridge.

 Ben and Mary Cady Bridge in Hillside, NY

Ben and Mary Cady Bridge in Hillside, NY