Monday, December 20, 2010

What's In A Name?

The Hudson River seen from Newburgh, NY
  Recently, I was asked by a few friends and family members why I chose the name "The North River" for my blog. I went on to explain, to those individuals who are slightly newer to blogs than I am, that in many cases a blog's contents reflects the ideas, values, and characteristics of the person or person's who writes them.  This would include the title.  Though many people find my blog through an interest in fishing, especially fly fishing, other aspects of this blog reflect who I am, where I came from, and where I hope to go. 

View of Storm King on the Hudson
 My family has lived in the Hudson Valley of New York since they arrived from Europe in the late 1700's to late 1800's.  I grew up in small town on the river located about an hour's drive north of NYC and lived there until about 10 years ago when I moved to Long Island with my wife.  The Hudson River stretches from the flanks of Mt Marcy (NY State's highest peak) in the Adirondacks to the mouth of the harbor in NYC.  The watershed is a fairly large area as it encompasses the majority of eastern NY State.  Despite the large amount of development over the last few hundred years along the river (esp in the lower half of the valley to NYC) there are still areas of biological diversity that can be appreciated throughout the year.  Many areas along the river's course such as the Adirondacks, Catskills, Shawangunks, and Hudson Highlands have a rich history and have been appreciated for centuries by European settlers through art and literature (they had been appreciated even longer by the native Americans who had lived there since the end of the last ice age).  During the centuries the river has been known by different names.  To the native Leni Lenapi, the river was known as "Muhheakantuck" meaning river that flows two ways (the Hudson River is actually a tidal estuary or long arm of the Atlantic that reaches as far as Albany).  Today the river is known by the name of the explorer Henry Hudson who explored most of the river's length.  However, at one time the river was called the "North River" by the dutch when NY was a colony of theirs.  This name mostly fell out of favor by the early 1900's.

Looking South from Breakneck Ridge
 It's from from the Dutch that I gave my blog it's name.  Having grown up and lived in the valley for many years it has become an important part of who I am. Most of the experiences that have shaped my life have taken place all along it's shores.  I have hiked, kayaked, camped, and fished everywhere from it's headwaters in the Adirondacks to just north of NYC. I have seen bald eagles on winter ice flows, white-tailed deer in apple orchards and farmers fields, caught brook trout in small tributaries, encountered bears and pine martens while hiking, and watched the progression of the seasons and the renewal of life and death.  It is a beautiful place and it will always be a part of who I am. 

Denning's Point fawn


  1. Sounds like you have a very strong connection to your area and can feel the conviction in your words. Thanks for sharing Kiwi!

  2. Blake, I think our "connections" are what have brought all of us to this community of blogging. In the few months that I have been blogging, I have noticed that most blogs I read are an individuals way of sharing their love and connections to the the outdoors and the activities that they enjoy. I believe that sharing this with others is important because it helps all of us to appreciate what nature has to offer.