Reel Therapy Kayak Adventures – Local NJ Paddle Destination Spotlight
Kayaking the Lawrence Brook, East Brunswick NJ

East Brunswick is not the shore, but it is a great place to run to when you need to escape the summer crazyness of the Jersey shore! Only a half an hour inland, this body of water is actually an integral part of the raritan watershed which flows directly into the raritan river and then into raritan bay. Let’s just say that any pollution that would occur here would directly affect you at the shore. This part of Farrington Lake in East Brunswick has always excited me. The perfect spot for the recreational paddler and nature lover, the Lawrence brook offers you the unique opportunity to grab some “wild” serenity right in the middle of densely populated Middlesex county. There aren’t a lot of homes that border the water like so many other Jersey spots so you get the feeling that you are tucked away in the wilderness. The dense woodland and steep and or marshy shoreline took care of that. It’s all freshwater and power boats are not allowed on any part of Farrington. There’s virtually no current to be concerned with and the wind is rarely an issueWe put in at Ryders lane, (no bathroom or amenities here), just a dead end dirt road. The first part of our trip is lake like and as you paddle upstream, the lake turns into a tree covered narrow winding stream that ends at the main street Milltown dam. If you want to go further, you can carry across and put in on the other side and continue upstream. This is our halfway point so most of the time, we beach the yaks, stretch out and hit the Hess station for a pit stop and snacks..

As a teenager, I paddled a canoe here and fished the thick weed beds for largemouth bass, chain pickerel and slab sided crappies (calico bass). I spent many an opening day of Trout season on these waters as well.Sorry fellow fishheads but I am not going to get into the kayak fishing thing right here…As an adult, I visit this spot for the nature and serenity. Large wading birds like the Egret and Great Blue Herons stalk baitfish along the shorelines, Osprey, red Tailed hawks and turkey vultures soar above the songbirds in the trees.

If you get on the water early enough, there are scores of turtles warming themselves on the fallen logs that line the shoreline. I affectionately call this spot “Turtle city”. You have to paddle quietly and pay attention to see Large Redbelly turtles, eastern painted turtles and the famous little turtle that we all had as kids in a small bowl with a plastic palm tree, the Red Eared slider which has since invaded jersey ecology. My personal favorite is the common snapping turtle! Contrary to its name, they are rarely seen because they don’t bask and sit out like the others, but if you pay attention, you may get to see one pop it’s head out of the water and silently watch you paddle by!

The weed beds offer a surprising bonus. Dragonflies of all sizes, shapes and colors fly about and perch on the lily pads and other plants that stick out of the water… if you let them, they will land right on the end of your paddle! Schools of golden shiners and other minnows flip out of the water as you paddle by. We have actually had these small fish jump right into a sit-on-top kayak! be sure to wear Polaroid sunglasses to catch the sub surface action. The biggest surprise on the Lawrence Brook is a man made one. There is a tall railroad trestle, that we paddle under and this is where train scenes were filmed in the 1914 movie serial episodes of “The Perils Of Pauline”. Locomotives were actually driven off the bridge and into the river for the movie!

If you would like to join us on a guided tour of Lawrence Brook, please checkout our paddling website at http://www.usgreenzone.com/ to learn more about this and other fun kayak eco tours that we offer. We do supply everything you would need, but if you have your own kayak, we offer you a great opportunity to invite your friends and family to share your paddling passion. If you are looking to become one with nature and escape reality for half a day, turtle city has exactly what you are looking for.