40 Pools

Celebrating a Big Birthday with 40 Swims

Not a Pool: Hudson River at Poughkeepsie

on May 14, 2012

the swimmers start, heading toward the Mid-Hudson Bridge

On June 2, there’s going to be a new open water event in my hometown, the 2 Bridges Swim Under the Walkway. The two bridges are the FDR Mid-Hudson Bridge (above) and about a kilometer to the north the Walkway Over the Hudson, a former railroad bridge that is now an extremely popular state park. The race will give people the option of doing a loop course under them both once or twice.

Dave's boat coming out of the waterThe race organizers needed people to test out the course in advance of the real thing, and of course I was happy to help. I think that’s me with the straight-left-arm recovery in the shot above, which was taken by mom as we left her on the dock with all of our swim stuff, on Mother’s Day no less. Once a swim mom, always a swim mom! The water temperature was in the high 50s and the clouds gradually cleared as we swam, yet the water stayed pleasantly flat and untrafficked. We spread out, but “Captain” Dave (of Gunks Masters) was always easy to spot in his new orange toy (above).

no swimming signEven though I grew up a short distance from this very location, I don’t think I’d ever been in the water here. I’m not sure it even occurred to us, the Hudson was so poorly regarded and PCB-filled back then. These days, we have no qualms about jumping in, but access here is still restricted to special events such as this one and its bigger sibling, the 8 Bridges Swim later in June.

The sun was in my eyes as I breathed on the Poughkeepsie side of the river, so I didn’t see much other than the high-rise Rip Van Winkle House apartment building. On the west side, it’s mostly trees with just a few buildings peeking out. The bridges themselves are the main attraction, and they make for very easy sighting/navigation. Of the two, I liked the Walkway better due to the interesting steel latticework under the deck and in the stanchions.

The swim course (click for larger view).

Aside from the sheer novelty of being in the water here, the main thing I noticed was the taste. In New York City, where I’ve swum in the Hudson numerous times with NYC Swim, it’s salty. Up here, the water is fresh and, at least today, dirt-flavored with high turbidity. The temperature was very even–no warm spots or cold spots–and we were lucky to not encounter much flotsam and jetsam. All in all, I highly recommend going for a swim here, and I’d do so again myself if I weren’t going to be in Iceland at the time of the event. Again, that’s 2 Bridges on June 2.

Pre-swim: Willie, Janet, Carolyn, Terry, me, John, Andrew.

Post-swim warmup with Dilan the canoe-riding dog. (Yes, he’s wearing a lifejacket.)

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One response to “Not a Pool: Hudson River at Poughkeepsie

  1. david barra says:

    So glad you could join us Hannah! We’ll miss you on event day (and I’m a little jealous that you’re going to swim in Iceland)

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