Barbara and I spent Friday afternoon exploring the area between Montauk State Park and Akers Ferry looking at the condition of the various launch areas, visiting canoe outfitters and talking with other local paddlers. We were able to confirm that we could float from Baptist Camp to Cedar Grove. This was our primary interest since none of the six of us had paddled the section before.
The section is very beautiful with a few moderately technical areas. The gauge at Montauk was at 1.85 feet. We bumped the bottom a bit here and there but did not need to walk any portions. We were told later that 2 feet on the gauge is common this time of year. The extra inch or two would have been welcome.
The section was uncrowded. We did not see any boats from the local outfitters. There were a few trout fisherman wading the river and one couple with two young children attempting to paddle the section in a jon boat.
Unfortunately, the shuttle between the put-in and take-out was 35 minutes each way plus an additional 20 minutes from our meet-up at Akers Ferry. We learned later that there’s an alternative take-out at Parker’s Ford that’s only 12 minutes from the Baptist Camp Access. The paddle from Baptist Camp to Parker’s Ford reduces the paddle by about a mile. The road to Parker’s Ford got pretty gnarly for the last 100 yards but, Barbara and I made it down and back in our Explorer 4x4.
We also explored some campgrounds in the area.
Montauk State Park did not appear to have any electric sites vacancies that were reservable on-llne. However, when Barbara and I drove through the campground midday on Friday, there were plenty of walk up electric sites vacant. Rick and Allen drove through Saturday evening and the campground was full. Our conclusion is that if you can arrive before the weekend, you can probably find a walk up electrical site. It’s a nice park, but perhaps not ideal for a large club group unless we plan well in advance.
Whispering Pines is an affordable, equestrian oriented campground close to the Cedar Grove Access. Tent sites with electricity are $10 per night. RV sites are $25 with both water and electricity. There are no sewer hook-ups nor a dump station. There are showers, restrooms and a small on-site beer and wine bar. We saw only one camper, an RV. It seems like an ideal site for a combination Baptist Camp to Cedar Grove one day and a Cedar Grove to Akers Ferry the next. The owner was very eager and volunteered that he would even permit double hook-ups to the available sites.
Pinecrest Campground and Cabins is close to the Baptist Camp Access. The prices are slightly higher, e.g. $15 for tents, $28 for water and electricity and $32 for full hook-ups. There’s a dump station. The owner is an active paddler who tipped us off to the Parker Ford access. It would be a great choice if we wanted to do the Baptist Camp to Parker Ford access two days in a row.
On Sunday, we paddled Cedar Grove to Akers Ferry. We all paddled that together last year and it’s as nice as we remembered. We met up early and were on the water by about 8 am in order to avoid any crowd. We saw some people camped on the bank, but had the water to ourselves.
The gauge at Akers Ferry was at 1.2 feet which was adequate.
We've narrowed the adventure to two days of paddling, Saturday, August 10th and Sunday, August 11th.
We will most likely use Aker's Ferry as the put-in on one day and take-out on the other. We will be checking water levels closer to the adventure dates to determine the length of the paddles.
I've added a link to a description of the Current River on the "Places to Paddle" sub-menu of the "Paddling" tab. I've also added a link to the USGS gage for the river above Aker's Ferry under the "Gages" sub-menu.