Friday, July 4, 2008
Kayaking Thorndike Pond
(Click on the photo to see more photos on smugmug.com)
We paddled Thorndike Pond in Jaffrey today and thank goodness we did! It's been five weeks since we've been out kayaking and I was getting a little cranky about not having my de-stressing time on the water. I guess you could say it was worth the wait.
This is a fairly large pond (about 265 acres) with lots to offer. To begin with, I'll say Thorndike is not as secluded and traffic-free as some places we've paddled. Motorboats are allowed (although we only encountered one lone powerboat on this holiday weekend) and there's a kids' summer camp, which seems low-key. At the same time, the pond is large enough so you can find plenty of quiet spots to go off on your own.
Thorndike struck me as the perfect spot for a kid to be a kid -- you know, a place to practice cannonballs off a floating dock or to splash into the pond from a tire swing. Within 15 minutes of being out on the water, I could sense my tension melting away.
We paddled to the right from the boat launch and soon discovered Whittemore Island; a sign indicates its managed by the Nature Conservancy. We didn't go ashore, but it looked like a neat place to explore or to stop for a picnic.
Judging from our NH atlas, the pond has an hourglass shape, with the upper half of the hourglass elongated. There's plenty of open water, a few smaller marshy areas, and the island I mentioned. It also has some great views of Mount Monadnock. There's some shoreline development, but nothing too intrusive. We spent a pleasant two hours on Thorndike Pond and I'd encourage anyone in the area to give it a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed!
Things to Know Before You Go: Parking on the roadside is limited and there are no facilities here. Thorndike is not far at all from one of our all-time favorites, Gilmore Pond. This means it's also near Kimball Farm Ice Cream (yum!). You can read more about both here.
Directions: Take State Route 124 to Jaffrey Center. Turn right on Thorndike Pond Road. Take a left on Gilson Road (unpaved) for 1.4 miles to a right on Dublin Road. There's a small gravel put-in on the right.