Saturday, June 20, 2009
There are Bears in Those Hills!
Paddling Echo Lake
So here's the final installment in our three-part series on Franconia Notch. I want to share our experience paddling Echo Lake, not to be confused with the lake of the same name in North Conway. Echo Lake in Franconia sits right off Route 93, at the base of Cannon Mountain, so you can expect quite a bit of road noise.
With Cannon Mountain's ski trails and aerial tramway nearby and a small beach at one end, this isn't a secluded paddle. There were also a few people out in small fishing boats the day we were there.
The lake is only about 28 acres, according to the NH Fish and Game. The plusses are some great views of Mount Lafayette, and of course, Cannon Mountain. The main attraction the day we were there was a black bear roaming around near the top of the ski slope. We could watch from the lake with our binoculars, so that was cool! One of the fishermen from the area told us it was common to find a bear rummaging around the back of his pickup truck. Apparently bear sightings are common any time of day.
With Echo Lake being so small, we only paddled for about an hour; In fact, a good portion of the time we weren't paddling at all, we were sitting and watching the bear.
I wouldn't consider Echo Lake a destination by itself, but rather an appetizer on the smorgasbord that is Franconia Notch State Park. There's lots to do here, including hiking, biking, camping, and swimming. Visit Franconia Notch State Park for more details.