Category Archives: Kayaking

Kayaking in Franklin Lakes, NJ by Barbara Dexter

Kayaking in Franklin Lakes, NJ by Barbara Dexter

You absolutely wouldn’t believe this lake is so close to interstate 287 and yet feels like you are far away from civilization. Yes, this is Franklin Lakes NJ. A well to do area that allowed me an escape after a long day at work.

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getting set

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the lake

There will be different areas of the lake and shore line as we paddle along.


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Franklin lakes is truly relaxing and scenic to kayak. If you prefer there is a trail that leads around the lake. It is great for hiking. Some people have biked it. There are even places to observe the bird life along the trail. I prefer to paddle and watch the sunset. If you go get there early, as there is limited parking. Also the area closes at dusk. You will want to be prepared to depart before the gate closes. Franklin Lakes are not the largest largest lakes, but they do boast some smooth water.

A Visit to the Tranquility Zone by Barbara Dexter

A Visit to the Tranquility Zone by Barbara Dexter


Tranquility- need I say more?


After a fifty minutes of travel, I have entered the so called “Tranquility Zone.” It is so called because someone actually thought to post a sign with tranquility in the label. The front tie down securing my kayak to the front of my Forester had come loose, but not undone. I was grateful I didn’t have to pull along the road on interstate 287 to fix it. This is my first kayaking trip of the season.

A view of the reservoir and dock.


The picnic tables near the dock.


The gentle rocking of the kayak under me has already subdued my mood. I am in a section that once provided ample growing room for trees.  Apparently most of these are now partially to fully submerged under the water. Motor boats don’t usually come on this section for fear of damage to their engine propellers.

It is Friday morning and the temperature is hovering around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It is no wonder that I am the only sole on the water. I figure, as long as I don’t fall in, I will be warm enough with my ugly fleece jacket over my life jacket. I put it over just in case I get warm. This way my life jacket will still be on when I need to take the fleece jacket off. Since I swim, but I am not the strongest swimmer, this is important.

As I sit here in my little alcove, forgotten are the events of yesterday. Well at least they don’t seem as important as they once did just hours ago.

I have a turtle that keeps surfacing for air and a yellow and black beaked, white swan for company. In the distance are the large trucks and cars as they carry their important cargo of materialistic supplies for the market place or people.

The trees on the hills surrounding the reservoir have started growing leaves as all along the ridge there are varying shades of green. At his distance some of the trees appear to look like cotton balls that have been pasted to some board as in a model train display.

My agenda is simple. I have none. IF I  feel as I want to paddle around, I do. I have a couple of books to read and of course a snack. I realized that I forgot my water at home so I had to make a detour to get some from the 7 eleven on my way here. I have a simple rule when I go out and enjoy nature. Water don’t leave home without it.

Storms clouds appear to be rolling in. It looks as though a rain shower is on the way. I guess I should paddle back.  I decide to load up my kayak and drive down to the other end of the reservoir. There are large dark clouds in the sky. I sit in my vehicle and observe an older gentlemen unload his yellow kayak and gear and proceed to start out into the water. I begin to question his sanity or do I question mine? For  I still want to be on the water even in the face of the pending storm. I decide it was the appropriate time to head home before I find myself out there in the storm.

As I drive home the storm clouds maintain their dark presence in the sky. I exit  from route 280 at the Livingston Avenue exit and there it is a lovely blue sky with white fluffy clouds.  There is apparently no evidence of mother nature’s wrath. While unloading my kayak my neighbor stated what lovely day it was to be out on the water. Well for a time it was a lovely day, I thought.


My Kayaking Adventure at Lake Aeroflex

by Barbara Dexter

It was a good day. It started out as a questionable weather day. There were flash flood warning cell phone alerts. It was supposed to rain all day. By nine am our event host was to issue the yeah or neigh for the day. Well we heard the all go, except we would not be picnicking before our launch due to the lousy forecast. I carefully strapped the new kayak to the roof of my Subaru and did a last minute safety check. I stashed my extra set of clothes, a couple of granola bars, and my water in the car. I also made sure I had my paddle, water shoes, and my gloves. I was off. Out of my complex and into driving mode. I traveled west on route 280 to meet with route 80 west. I continued on route 80 west until the route 206 north exit. Not too far, but just far enough, was lake Aeroflex. Of course, at this point I proceeded to get lost. I drove about five miles past the lake. Yes, I do believe you almost have to know where this place is located to find it.  Of course the first thing I notice is the following sign warning me to behave myself.

This translates to ..I must behave myself.

Then the clean rest room is pointed out to me.

Yes, a clean rest room!


A beautiful tree in the picnic area.
Some lovely cattails at the edge of the lake.
Nice picnic area with tables and grills.


A view of the lake from the launch area. Yes, those are geese in the distance.
A better photo of the geese.

I think of my recreational kayak as a cross between a kayak and a canoe. It has stability,  maneuverability, and a large opening to get in and out.  It is a ten foot model, but the small length makes it easy to store and to carry if you have to portage any distance.

Here’s my kayak, ready to launch.

The following are taken from my kayak while on the lake.

A beautiful water lily.
Remnants of a beaver house.
Crystal clear water throughout the lake.

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A double crested cormorant. Which was, I initially thought, identified as a double breasted co-moron. Then after some discussion I understood double crested cocomoron.
A great photo of a double crested cormorant as seen online via wikipedia.
The plane…The plane…

These are some photos of what I noticed on my trip back.

A beautiful victorian house that is used for the park service office.
The side view of the office.
Yep, you guessed it…more geese.