Lady of the Wild Woods

Kayaking the Contoocook

Blue Heron

The weather is cooling down as the summer nears its end here in New Hampshire. Soon the leaves will start to change, and my kayak will glide through the water surrounded by the vibrant colors of fall. The Contoocook River is a dammed river that spans 71 miles from Contoocook Lake to Penacook, where it empties into the Merrimack River. It’s dammed in the southern section, so kayaking is easy is both directions. The water is like glass.

Huiyeng and I loaded up the kayaks at my house in Concord and drove 15 minutes to the boat launch. The parking lot was easy to get to, and parking was ample. I was in my Wilderness Systems Pungo 120, and she was in my son’s Necky (a brand that is no more). We easily put in, and I wanted to check out the dam, which was not far at all, so we quickly turned around and headed up the river.

The first section of the River was very close to a noisy road, but the houses along the way were interesting to see. Some of them had unique names boldly labeled. Others had dogs out on their piers–one had five little dogs. It was adorable!

River House

Further up the river the road veered away, and we bathed in the serenity of being on the water, surrounded by nature. We passed by the remnants of an old bridge. There was a small beacon the top of one of the columns that we named the Contoocook Lighthouse. Soon after we floated past a kingfisher busy doing a day’s work catching fish.

We paddled past the Contoocook River Canoe Company and saw a beautiful blue heron fly across the water and land on the shore nearby. There were a few dragonflies, but not nuisance bugs. We saw several turtles, and no one seemed afraid of us on the water.

We paddled all the way to the Daisy Beach Picnic Area, where paddlers stop all the time to picnic and swim. There is a picnic table, outhouse, and rope for swinging into the water. There was a young couple just getting back into their kayaks when we floated by. We turned around there. It was a beautiful trip back (until the road noise returned). The total trip was about 7 miles roundtrip, and we took our time, so it took a few hours.

Check out more kayaking adventures!

Kayak Camping in the Adirondacks

Kayaking on Lower Range Pond

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