The Rafting Season

The Delaware at Conashaugh Creek & Namanock Island
"Nothing can exceed the life and hilarity of the lumbering population on that river, on the opening of spring in the month of March and April, as the boards, plank and scantling of a thousand saw mills the river and its tributary streams, have during the winter been discharged by the means of ten thousands of sleighs, sleds and wagons, and triple that number of men, horses and oxen. On every part of the river from within a short distance of its head, at Collier’s mills to the tide waters, where is found suitable eddy for rafting, in a lumbering neighborhood may be seen in those months vast heaps of the product of the piney mountains, ready on the break up of the ice and rise of the water to be put in the river and run to Columbia or to Baltimore, as well as from Delhi to Philadelphia. Everywhere the country is in motion, engaged in the general enterprise; provision for the long and hazardous voyage is pouring onto the shores from every quarter. But this part of the arrangement falls under the care and disposition of the hardy wives of the lumbermen, and of their beautiful daughters. The provisions consisted of the best the larder could furnish stowed away in the great provision chest of each raft, even where the shouts of the raftsmen are heard, with the load clap of the boards as they were laid in cribs in the water. The eddies were alive with men and boys at work, making haste to be off, lest they might lose the freshet before they could reach their destination. ...when the moorings withs are cut loose, and the long ponderous raft is swept by the whirl of the waters into the heading current. Now all along the river could be seen a large amount of the population afloat on its waters, as at certain times it was literally covered with lumber and people, hastening swiftly away to other regions.
An excerpt from Stories of the Early Settlers In The Wilderness, Josiah Priest, 1837, p44
@ the Delaware County NY History & Genealogy website 

 Rafting Days in Pennsylvania, by John H Chatam, 1922.

Jeffersonian Republican., February 14, 1850

"In the spring of 1828 as many as one thousand rafts, containing fifty million feet of lumber, passed by Trenton. A great percentage of this footage was hemlock. ... The great problem of the raftsmen was, of course, to avoid the numerous shoals below Trenton and to gain the channel in which the swiftest current flowed. At the height of the rafting era in the ‘40’s, the rafts were usually towed down the river in long strings by the Lenox Towing Company, a firm managed by the Lenoxes of Lamberton who were well known among the river people of that time." 
An excerpt from History of Trenton, 1679-1929, Chapter V, Transportation, by William J Backus.  

                       A raft of railroad ties, circa 1900, near the bridge from Port Jervis NY to Matamoras PA.