Trip Log from the Upper Connecticut River

This just in from some local friends who took a trip over Memorial Day weekend on the Connecticut River:

“Looking for the perfect beginner canoe trip for a family’s entry into canoe tripping?  This past weekend two families consisting of 4 adults and 5 children (ages 8 to 13 years) embarked upon their first family canoe trip and chose the Northern Forest Canoe Trail Connecticut River (Map 7) adapted itinerary.

The canoe trip, a first for both families, was nothing but perfect.  The adults had years of combined paddling and tripping experience but had never taken their kids on a river trip and this was an ideal entry.  The kids were so impressed by the experience that they’ve already started planning their next river adventure.

To enable both families to take the trip we hired the shuttle and canoe rental services of Clyde River Recreation (contact Chris McFarland 802-895-4333) and were well looked after.  Chris was timely and provided us with shuttle services and four brand new canoes, paddles and life jackets for all.

To prepare ourselves for a bit of the unknown we decided to arrive in Colebrook, NH on Friday night to spend a night in a local motel.  Early sunny, Saturday morning Chris McFarland arrived with our gear and we followed him to our canoe put-in just across the river from town on the Vermont side of the river.  We loaded our canoes and headed downstream by about 10 a.m. stopping for lunch on the side of river at around 1 p..m.  The paddling was easy and we made our way through some half class rapids to keep the morning interesting.  We found our campsite at the Lyman Falls State Park at around 2:30 p.m. for an early set up of our tents and fire.   The campsite was ideal with the sound of rapids rippling throughout the night.

Sunday morning weather changed to rain just as we put in at 9 a.m. for a long day of paddling.  We were happy to experience a morning of more half class rapids to keep everyone amused with some near capsizes.   We arrived at our lunch site by noon unscathed but cold and wet from the rain.  We built a small fire to warm up and watch the skies break once again into sunshine.

After lunch we continued on with meandering flatwater for the afternoon landing at our next campsite just beyond many farmlands and picturesque beach river banks.  We landed on the last river beach at around 4 p.m. and decided to make that our home for Sunday night.  This site had a serene beach and river setting in front of our site and a lovely meadow behind where we pitched our tents.

Monday morning was a late start of almost 10 a.m. but had us paddling until only noon when we arrived at the town of Guildhall to take out just before the dam.  It was a bit tricky getting our canoes out of the water with the dam so close but there were no mishaps.  It is important to keep a keen eye out for the put out here as both the dam and put out are not marked.

Three days of paddling and lovely landscapes made for a perfect weekend family adventure.  Upon returning home, however, there was one mishap.  After emptying soggy knapsacks, packs and tents, sorting loads of laundry and dumping a first load into the machine; one of the parents looked down at her feet only to find a snake!  I guess it could be considered a souvenir from a wonderful experience!

Get out there onto a river this summer with your families!  It’s the best and most affordable travel adventure you’ll find.”

Submitted by Dori Ross, Mad River Valley, Vermont