Numerous PPR readers of this Retirement Man, Walter Mitty “ series have expressed interest in reading & listening to more Walter Adventures in local exercise fun. Walter, the adventure man in all of us, will oblige with more fitness related articles.
Today, Walter recommends that our readers and listeners enjoy the ultimate outdoor exercise fun, kayaking The Great Swamp just down Rte 22 in Patterson.
I’m sure most people know of the swamp, but now it’s time to paddle it. To help all of us wanna-be Walter Mittys, do just that. Retirement Man has once again found the family friendly entrepreneur in the Rte 22 kayaking sport shop known as “Great Blue Outfitters ”. It can be found right across the street from Abruzzi’s Restaurant.
Great Blue Outfitters is a small white building that displays a kayak outside. Inside is owner and triathlon athlete extraordinaire, Mac Rand. He emanates physical fitness credibility by his sheer physique and he-man style. Mr. Rand obtained his outdoor experience by spending 30 summers at Camp Pathfinder, a marvelous canoe tripping camp located in Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada. He spent several years developing new programs such as mountain biking, a high ropes course, and exploring new kayaking and canoe adventure areas. He is versed in local year-round outdoor exercise adventures, which abound in the glorious Pawling/Patterson area.
Mac is a local man who greets his patrons as friends. He has been a triathlon competitor for many years and knows everything about exercise and how using his store equipment can help you achieve your individual fitness goals. Customers are like adventure buddies to Mac. Walter Mitty has found his match in Mac Rand because Mac is also a certified scuba diver, and a licensed pilot with over 1000 hours of flight time. He Is even an accomplished nature photographer. Another hobby of Mac’s is carving wood canoe paddles from scratch. I mean, is this guy for real or what?? I honestly was blown away by this original outdoor mountain man.
Mac can help you plan a day of biking and then hiking up the Appalachian Trail. He can help in all phases of camping, and provide every possible accessory necessary, including back packs, tents, sleeping bags, etc. In winter he can sell or rent you snowshoes and trekking poles for cold weather fun you’ll never forget. There doesn’t seem to be any outdoor adventure beyond his experience.
On this particular day, Walter Mitty wants to paddle The Great Swamp. Fear not that you have little or no experience. Mac and his staff will size you up for the right length and experience level kayak for you and your friends. The Great Blue Outfitter team will painstakingly make sure you are fully trained in all paddling skills before they hoist those kayaks onto their truck and take you down to launch. They afford all the time necessary to dress you in the proper clothes and accessories before they transport you to one of several Great Swamp “entry points “. They all make it feel so easy. If you desire a guide, they will go with you as well.
Great Swamp adventure trips take about three hours. You will actually forget about time as you are slowly transported back into the jungles of Africa or the Southern Bayou. Your mind happily drifts away. The paddling is laid back and smooth. We are not in a race. The pace is meant to relax, not tax. The dream like scenery is a true Walter Mitty delight.
On any given day you can see nature in full beautiful bloom. The wildlife abounds as do your smiles. On my most recent trip, I saw endless songbirds, numerous turtles, fish, black ducks, several beavers, and even a muskrat running for the shore. Our guide, Mac, says that on other days you may see mallards, wood ducks, Canada Geese, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, eastern cottontail, gray squirrels, red and gray fox, coyotes and possibly a moose. I told Mac… that I’ll be looking for that moose next trip!!!
The best thing about paddling this winding foliage filled waterway is the serenity of nature. No one really talks during the trip unless necessary. We all let nature do the talking. It’s like a botanical zoo with no cages. This is our beautiful earth and you, and “ Walter “ are a part of it. Yes, you are getting an upper body exercise workout for sure, but your mind is relaxing. Your everyday have-to’s and rush to’s all melt away as you paddle away the day.
The swamp is clean and beautiful (thanks to local conservation groups like Friends of the Great Swamp (F.R.O.G..S.). FROGS are volunteers like you and me, dedicated to the protection and preservation of the great swamp. It is a noble organization we all should consider joining
Retirement Man really didn’t want to leave the kayak and the water trail but after three-plus hours, it did come to an end. We all exited at a convenient southern shore point back near Rte 22. The Great Blue Outfitter team pulled out the kayaks and easily loaded them back on the truck. Then they transported us all back to the main store for departure. We even enjoyed a nice drink and snack. All I can say is that a day on the Great Swamp is great exercise and more than great fun. You will feel physically healthier for having paddled away the hours. Mentally, you will feel refreshed. The Great Swamp is a wonderful place to bring out the Walter Mitty in you.
GREAT BLUE OUTFITTERS HOURS
Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Wednesday: 12pm - 400pm
Thursday: 11am - 400pm
Friday: 11am - 5pm
Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Sunday: 11am - 4pm