Monday, October 19, 2009

Reflections on Our 2009 Paddling Season

Wow! Did our kayaking season fly by or what? I can hardly believe it's time for our annual "picks and pans," but sadly, Mother Nature seems to be telling me it's time to hang up our kayaks until next year. And so I'm presenting a round-up of our favorites for '09.

Needless to say, my favorites may not be your favorites. That's why I'd love to hear from you -- write in and let us know which paddling spots topped your list this year. New Hampshire has about 1,300 lakes and ponds...which ones are calling you back next season? Here's our list:
Best Close to Home (in southern NH) -- I have to say the Nashua River exceeded my expectations. We kayaked the Nashua Canal once before and were "underwhelmed." The River is a whole different story. Due to our little misadventure on the River, we didn't get to paddle to Hollis, nevertheless, we saw lots of wildlife in the short section we explored and will definitely be returning next year.

Best Early Season Paddle -- Dubes Pond in Hooksett (10 minutes outside of Manchester) is still a favorite, best paddled early in the season before it becomes choked with vegetation. This place is fairly quiet; we've never seen any motorboats here. We always enjoy exploring the small marshy inlets and watching the large variety of birds -- even if I can hardly identify a single one!

Perennial Favorite -- Gilmore Pond in Jaffrey is still near the top of our list. Part of me wants to stop talking about it so it will remain quiet and pristine -- and the other part of me wants to share it with everyone. To be honest, if you're a "Type A" paddler who likes to stay on the go, this small pond probably isn't for you. But for us, Gilmore is the perfect spot to drop in a fishing line or just sit and watch the loons.

New Favorite -- Grafton Pond in Enfield was our hands down favorite this year. It has lots of islands and nooks and crannies to explore and is set against the backdrop of distant mountains. We also encountered four loons here. It's quiet paddling at its best and is large enough to keep you kayaking for hours or to invite many return trips.

So there you have it...a quick roundup of our 2009 favorites. I'm going to write another short post soon about some places and experiences that didn't work so well for us this year. Don't get me wrong, we always enjoy our time on the water -- but what can I say? We all have likes and dislikes!

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