Monday, May 26, 2008

Kayaking Hoit Road Marsh

We spent a couple of peaceful hours this morning paddling Hoit Road Marsh in Concord. This is a true marsh--distinguished by its abundant vegetation and shallow depth. We recommend that you plan a trip here before too long. By mid-summer, the outer reaches of the pond will be choked with water lilies, reeds, and grasses and you probably won't be able to paddle far at all.

Hoit Road Marsh was a different type of paddling experience for us-- compared with Gilmore or Willard Pond, for example, which are both crystal clear and easy to navigate. Here, the water is murky, you're hitting tree stumps, and sometimes hitting bottom. Still, we thoroughly enjoyed the marsh.

It's the type of place where you can just sit and drift, watching and listening to all the birds and other critters, including snakes and a snapping turtle. We saw Canada geese, tree swallows, and most captivating of all, a Great Blue Heron from fairly close range.

How large is Hoit Road Marsh? An interesting question. I found four wildly different facts on this (ranging from 71 acres to 217!) , but I'm going to go with the NH Fish and Game Department and say 101 acres. The Fish and Game oversees the marsh as a "Wildlife Management Area" and they've placed abundant bird houses throughout. While we never did see any wood ducks which are supposed to be plentiful here, we were quite content to spend time watching the amazing Great Blue Heron.

Things to Know Before You Go: The Marsh is peaceful and quiet. There are no motor boats and limited road noise. There's a gravel put-in and ten parking spaces across the road. This place is easy to find and has easy access. There are no bathroom or other facilities.

Directions: Take I-93 north to exit 17. Take a left onto Hoit Road and drive for 2.5 miles. The marsh is on your left.

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