Northern NH: The Androscoggin

By Kate Williams

In the spirit of sharing with you different voices from along the Trail, today’s post comes from Heather Piche, owner of Northwoods Rafting, who shares with you her on-the-ground perspective from the upper reaches of the Androscoggin River in northern New Hampshire, part of NFCT Section 7.  Thanks, Heather, for adding your voice!     – Kate

From Heather Piche:

Greetings from North Woods Rafting in Milan, which is located in Coos County, New Hampshire! North Woods Rafting has been bringing people down the Androscoggin River for eight years! We organize white water rafting trips as well as float trips on the Andro for all walks of life and all paddling abilities.

This past weekend – April 24th & 25th marked the 9th training season for North Woods Rafting Guides. Most years, our weather is cold and snowy at the beginning of training, but the weather on the 24th was unseasonably warm, so our new guides didn’t get the full training experience, but the water was only 42 degrees, so they did get a taste!

Our returning guides always look forward to coming and helping train the “newbies” and putting them through the same strenuous actions they remember struggling through. Yesterday, Derek and Josh joined Lincoln to train our three rookies. We started yesterday on the section of the Androscoggin River below the Errol Dam. The new guides are learning ferrying and guide strokes as well as water reading skills.

We’ve noticed the osprey are back in their nests and even saw one on the Errol section of the Androscoggin carrying a fish away from the river! The river is full of spring duck families and the moose are again populating the marshy sections of the road near the river.

All of this river talk along with the sunshine and warm air temperatures may sound tempting, but don’t forget that although we are already on the water, the river temperatures can still cause a quick case of hypothermia, so don’t get on the water unless you are experienced and have the proper gear! We’ll start taking customers on the water toward the end of May and at that time the water can still be quite cold. Wetsuits are a must; dry suits are much safer!

(Ed. note:  Heather is spot on about the need to make smart decisions when paddling in cold water!  We encourage you to Plan and Prepare as you head into the season.)