Friday, July 17, 2009

Kayaking/Camping on Squam Lake

Today's post was written by Patrice, a fellow kayaker and blogger from the Concord area. She writes here about her camping/kayaking adventures on Squam Lake. Be sure to visit Patrice's blog, Life Less Ordinary, to see more photos and read about her adventures, both in and out of a kayak. Enjoy! And thanks to Patrice for sharing!

My husband Justin and I kayaked, along with three other people, to Moon Island on Squam Lake for two nights. This was our first kayak-to-camp trip and it was great!

Squam Lakes Association controls 12 backcountry campsites on three islands on Squam Lake. You can do a day trip and launch from the SLA in Holderness for a small fee, but we secured a camping permit months ago (in January) to camp. We used our kayaks, although the SLA rents kayaks, canoes, and sailboats as well.

Our permit was for Moon Island, which is about a 2-mile paddle from the SLA launch site. This paddling is not for beginners because of the open water. We had a sunny day with 10 mph winds, but the lake is generally pretty choppy, especially on weekends when there's motorboat traffic.

Since there were five of us, we had to stock up on food and supplies. We brought a 2-burner stove, but probably could have left it at home. We ended up cooking most of our meals over the fire grates at the campsite. This takes more time and patience, but in hindsight we realize it's worth it, to save the weight of the stove and propane.

We also brought a cooler with hot dogs, hamburgers and brats for the first night; eggs, sausage, and pancakes for breakfast, then a Backpacker Pantry meal for the second night and oatmeal for breakfast. And of course, we brought beer and water! Our kayaks were all pretty weighed down!

The site itself (#3 on Moon Island) had enough room for three tents. All the sites include a bundle of firewood for each night's reservation. It rained one night, but there's a lot of tree coverage and with the right rainfly, we kept dry. We also set up a tarp so we had an area to retreat to if there was a lot of rain.

We spent all day Sunday exploring the other islands and coves. We went from Moon Island to Five Finger Point (great beaches, hiking and cliff jumping) and into Rattlesnake Cove, Squaw Cove, and Bear Cove. Lots of beautiful homes and lots of good bird-watching, especially loons. In total, it was about 9 miles roundtrip.

I would say the only downfall of the whole trip was the mosquitoes. No amount of deet and fire smoke could really keep them away. Overall, I would definitely recommend either a day trip to Squam or an overnight adventure, if you're up for the hardcore paddling and the skeeters!

Learn more about the Squam Lake Association.

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