Thursday, August 21, 2008

Kayaking Hubbard Pond

We kayaked Hubbard Pond in Rindge (NH) for a little over an hour on Monday. While it was nice enough, Doug and I agreed that it's not one of our favorites. But don't let our opinion discourage you from trying it -- this pond has had great reviews from others (including our favorite authors of the AMC Guide to Quiet Water NH and Vermont).

A highlight for me was our picnic lunch at nearby Cathedral of the Pines. More on that in a minute. For now, let me tell you why we weren't so impressed with Hubbard.

For starters, the access road (.4 mile of dirt) is very rough. We're talking deep ruts, mud, and standing water --probably has something to do with our rainy summer! In any case, DO NOT attempt this road without a 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicle.

Second, we had to deal with a wind-driven current. Nothing too bad, but we really had to paddle to control our boats. I guess I shouldn't complain about that...it's good exercise. Lastly, we both found the scenery a little boring. There were lots of lily pads in the water and pine trees dotting the shore, although the AMC Guide says it's beautiful in the fall when you can see the foliage against the backdrop of Mount Monadnock; But to be honest, you really don't see too much of the mountain from the pond.

The one good thing is that except for a lone shorefront camp (or marina?) at the southern end, there's absolutely no development on this pond. That's because Annett State Forest literally surrounds Hubbard on three sides.

Now on to nearby Cathedral of the Pines. This is a beautiful outdoor place of worship with a stone altar dedicated to all service men and women who have given their lives for our country. Altar of the Nation is set on a hilltop looking out on Mount Monadnock. There are some small but pretty gardens, a number of headstones and a few inspirational monuments. There's also a paved and canopied picnic area where we ate lunch. It's just a nice peaceful place to stop, reflect, and be inspired. You can learn more about Cathedral of the Pines here.

Things to Know Before You Go: You should have a 4-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle to drive this access road. Also, there's logging going on in nearby Annett State Forest, so beware of falling trees as you approach the pond. There are no facilities here.

Directions: From Rte. 101w in Peterborough, turn left at stop light onto Route 202 toward Jaffrey. Travel 6 miles to Jaffrey Center intersection; Turn right and then immediate left at next stop light, staying on Rte. 202 to Rindge.

Drive 3.8 miles before turning left at stop light intersection with Rte. 119. Travel 1.5 miles to first blinking yellow light intersection where you will turn left on Cathedral Road. Follow signs for Cathedral of the Pines and after passing the entrance, drive another .7 miles to the access road. It's easy to miss, but it's a sharp curve on the right.


Anonymous said...

Tried paddling Hubbard Pond this weekend. It was our second time out kayaking. I liked the quiet and seclusion, but the lilypads were so thick that they kept grabbing our paddles, and like you there was heavy wind. The Boy Scout camp is the only development. It is a pretty area. We spotted some wood ducks and a heron. There was only one other car there when we put in, but when we left there was a couple with a dirt bike blocking the ramp with their truck. All things considered I think that it is worth the trip.

Lucie said...

Hi! Thanks for writing about your trip to Hubbard. It's always good to hear from other paddlers, since each experience is different. I don't remember dense vegetation (lilypads) at Hubbard, but conditions do change from year to year. Some places are best paddled in late spring/early summer or in the fall once the vegetation has died back. Sounds like you're getting into kayaking!