Kayak Trip to McDaniels Marsh

In late May I went on my first kayak trip to McDaniels Marsh in Enfield, NH. I heard it is a wonderful place to see birds and other wildlife so I made sure to bring my camera.

It was one of those mornings with abundant sunshine, no wind and calm waters.

McDaniels Marsh May 30 2015-1

At one point I broke off from the group to get photos of a Canada Goose. I soon found myself unable to paddle a direct course back to the group due to shallow spots and thick vegetation. I had to raise the rudder and find the deeper channels to work my way back to the group.

McDaniels Marsh May 30 2015-4

At the far end of the marsh I noticed one in the thick grass and the other “patrolling” close by. They both kept an eye on me as I drifted by snapping photos.

McDaniels Marsh May 30 2015-14

McDaniels Marsh May 30 2015-13

McDaniels Marsh May 30 2015-6

McDaniels Marsh May 30 2015-5

The marsh is also home to numerous Red Winged Blackbirds. It was easy to hear their distinctive song, “conk-la-ree” above the other bird songs and sounds of the marsh.

We weren’t the only ones enjoying the sunshine. It was easy to find Painted Turtles sprawled out on a stump while soaking up the sun.

McDaniels Marsh May 30 2015-10

McDaniels Marsh May 30 2015-15

McDaniels Marsh May 30 2015-16

This one took the big jump from the stump.

McDaniels Marsh is now on my list of places to kayak, although I hear the vegetation gets thick later in the season. It’s probably better to kayak there during the spring and early summer.

Full Moon Paddle on Grafton Pond

On Tuesday, October 7th I went to a meetup.com full moon paddle on Grafton Pond. The weather forecast looked pretty bad before the event and I expected it to the rained out. We got lucky and it cleared up just in time.

I arrived a little before 6 p.m.  The water was like a mirror giving us a nice foliage and sky reflection.

Grafton Pond Oct 8 2014-2Grafton Pond Oct 8 2014-5Grafton Pond Oct 8 2014-3It did not take us long to get ready.

Grafton Pond Oct 8 2014-7We could hear some loons calling as we headed out across the pond.

Grafton Pond Oct 8 2014-10We eventually did see the loons swimming in the distance but it was getting dark pretty fast.

Grafton Pond Oct 8 2014-8Grafton Pond Oct 8 2014-9The foliage on these couple trees were looking real good.

It soon got too dark for good photos. A couple more people arrived late so we circled back to the boat landing before going out to one of the islands. The clouds in the east were clearing so we could see full moon peaking out as we paddled around the islands. By the time we gt back to the boat landing it had risen above the clouds giving us a nice view. This trip was a great way to end the kayaking season in New Hampshire.

Kayaking on Mascoma Lake

Sunday, September 28th was another great Autumn day for a kayak trip. Mascoma Lake is a short drive from my place in Lebanon, which made it a good choice for an afternoon paddle.

Although the foliage was near the peak of color, it felt like summer again. Needless to say, there was lots of boat traffic on the lake. To avoid the traffic I headed to the mouth of the Mascoma River.

Mascoma Lake Sep 28 2014-1It seems the ducks had the same ideas as I did about finding a quiet corner of the lake to relax in the sun.

Mascoma Lake Sep 28 2014-3Mascoma Lake Sep 28 2014-2Mascoma Lake Sep 28 2014-4Several were feeding nearby as I drifted around on my kayak.

Mascoma Lake Sep 28 2014-6Mascoma Lake Sep 28 2014-8After a while I paddled under Shaker Bridge to the “small” section of the lake. I got to watch a young couple playing with their dog on the shore.

Mascoma Lake Sep 28 2014-11That dog was a great jumper and swimmer!

I paddled back over to the boat landing and sailboats hoping some people were going for an afternoon sail.

Mascoma Lake Sep 28 2014-13I was in luck and was able to watch one boat leaving the landing area.

Mascoma Lake Sep 28 2014-14Mascoma Lake Sep 28 2014-15A sailboats gliding across the water is really nice to watch with the foliage in the background.Mascoma Lake Sep 28 2014-16Mascoma Lake Sep 28 2014-17It was another great afternoon of paddling on the water.

Long Pond rock cairn

Kayaking at Long Pond during foliage season

We were blessed with fantastic weather and colorful foliage over the weekend of September 27th and 28th. I decided it could be one of my last opportunities to use my kayak for the season.
I wanted to go someplace different with lots of foliage for my Saturday trip. I had not been to Long Pond in Benton, New Hampshire since the early 90’s. It’s a good place to go trout fishing in the spring and canoeing and kayaking during the rest of the boating season.

Long Pond Sep 27 2014-17

As you can see the pond is well off of the main roads. I took a tight off of route 25 in Glencliff onto High Street. There is no street sign for Long Pond Road (which is a dirt road), however there is an Appalachian Trail sign pointing the way to the trail crossings and parking. The road did not show up on my Garmin GPS either. From my previous trips I was was pretty sure it was the right road so off I went. I soon passed a White Mountain National Forest gate in addition to the Appalachian Trail crossing. Like many dirt roads in the area, it’s narrow and not always wide enough for two cars (or trucks) to pass.

I was surprised to see how busy the boat landing and picnic area was. I was lucky to find a parking spot.

Long Pond Sep 27 2014-1Busy boat landing at Long Pond.

Long Pond is located near Mt. Moosilauke, which give you a great view of the mountain. The pond is man-made with a dam on one end. It was probably designed to control spring flooding and provide a recreation area and fishing for visitors to the White Mountains.

Mt. Moosilauke
Mt. Moosilauke

The pond has a rocky shoreline with several small islands (also rocky) scattered throughout the pond, which makes it an interesting place to kayak or canoe.  The islands also make it a great place for Loons to nest. I did see some loons fishing at the south end of the lake but they kept their distance so it was difficult to get photos. I observed a couple adults and at least one immature Loon.

Long Pond Sep 27 2014-6Long Pond Sep 27 2014-7Long Pond Sep 27 2014-10Long Pond Sep 27 2014-13Long Pond Sep 27 2014-14

A unique feature of Long Pond a rock cairn near one of the islands.

Long Pond rock cairn
Long Pond rock cairn

I hope to return here is the spring for some trout fishing.

Loon and sleeping chick.

Early morning paddle with Loons on Grafton Pond

I recently went for an early morning kayak trip on Grafton Pond in Grafton, NH. I was at the pond about 6:30 a.m. to catch the morning mist on the water and early wildlife sightings.

Morning mist on Grafton Pond.
Morning mist on Grafton Pond.

Shortly after leaving the boat landing I spotted a family of Canada Geese. As they went around one side of an island I want around the other. I was hoping to get in position with the morning sun to my back and shining on the geese.

Canada Geese at Grafton Pond.
Canada Geese at Grafton Pond.

They did not seem bothered by the fact that I was quietly floating around in my kayak nearby.

Canada Goose on Grafton Pond.
Canada Goose on Grafton Pond.

Showing no fear, one of them swam right over to me to check me out.

Canada Goose on Grafton Pond.
Close up of a Canada Goose on Grafton Pond.

I paddled around while exploring some of the hidden coves in the pond before coming back to a group of small islands. I was drifting near one of the islands when I noticed a loon with a sleeping chick.

Loon and sleeping chick.
Loon and sleeping chick.
Loon and sleeping chick.
Loon and sleeping chick.

The chick woke up for a minute for a stretch.

Grafton Pond Aug 10 2014-12
The chick wakes up for a stretch.
Loon on Grafton Pond.
Loon on Grafton Pond.
Loon on and chick on Grafton Pond.
Loon on and chick on Grafton Pond.

Much to my surprise I spotted a seagull on the way back the boat landing. This is unusual because the pond is at lease a couple hundred miles from the ocean.

A Seagull on Grafton Pond.
A Seagull on Grafton Pond.

Connecticut River Kayak trip Wilson’s Landing North

Another trip on the Connecticut River and you guessed it… more Black Ducks. 🙂

Sunday, September 1st had the best weather of the Labor Day weekend so I made it a point to get out on the water. I started at Wilson’s Landing and headed north. I hugged the New Hampshire shore and the “grass islands” where I had seen some ducks and a Heron during the last trip in this part of the river. Sure enough a bunch (probably not the right word) were hanging out on a log.

Black Ducks
Black Ducks

I found a small flock hanging out in a mini-cove on the New Hampshire shoreline.

CT River Kayak Sep 1 2013-5CT River Kayak Sep 1 2013-6

This Black Duck also has green coloring on his head feathers that reminds me of a Mallard.

Looking up I could not believe my luck. One of the area Bald Eagles was flying low (for an eagle) over the river. I suspect that this is one of the birds that lives below the Wilder Dam.

CT River Kayak Sep 1 2013-7

At the tip of the largest “grass island” I found the whole flock of ducks all lined up on a log.

CT River Kayak Sep 1 2013-9CT River Kayak Sep 1 2013-10While going around the big island (not sure what the name is) I noticed some people on the river bank having fun on a rope swing.

CT River Kayak Sep 1 2013-15CT River Kayak Sep 1 2013-18

I headed north once more. The water was like glass.

CT River Kayak Sep 1 2013-20I found a couple other small back-ins up river. One on the Vermont side had a couple more small flocks of Black Ducks.

CT River Kayak Sep 1 2013-21

On the way south I was almost back at Wilson’s Landing when a water skier zipped by.

CT River Kayak Sep 1 2013-23CT River Kayak Sep 1 2013-22

It looks like fun. I will have to try that someday.

According to the Google Maps route (at the top) I went just under 10 miles on this trip and was on the water about three and a half to four hours.

Connecticut River and Reeds Marsh Kayak Trip

On Sunday, August 18th I went kayaking in another section of the Connecticut River. This time I put in at the Orford, NH boat landing and headed south towards Reeds Marsh and another back-in (that I don’t know the name of).

Reeds Marsh kind of has two sections. One part you can get to from Route 10 in Orford, NH. It used to be a great spot to catch Hornpout but the weeds have grown in so thick it is difficult to fish here. The other part is a large “pool” that you can enter through a narrow channel from the Connecticut River.

View west to Vermont from Reeds Marsh
View west to Vermont from Reeds Marsh

I noticed several small flocks of Black Ducks upon entering the “pool” on the river side. In a back corner I found these ducks hanging out on a log.

Black Ducks on Reeds Marsh
Black Ducks on Reeds Marsh

I noticed far fewer ducks on this section of the river compared to the Wilder, VT and Hanover, NH area. They are a lot more wary of people as well.

I continued on down river towards the large back-in on the Fairlee side of the river. I have no idea what it is named but I have been fishing there, in the summer and through the ice for years. It is known as a great place for Northern Pike in the winter.

View east to NH
View east to NH
View east to NH
View east to NH

I believe this is where the outflow from Lake Morey flows into the Connecticut River. However there is a culvert pipe going under the railroad tracks preventing you from going too far upstream.

Culvert under the train tracks
Culvert under the train tracks

I did manage to sneak up on this Painted Turtle while paddling to the back corner of the back-in.

Painted Turtle
Painted Turtle sunning on a log

On the way back to Orford, NH I got a nice view of the Fairlee cliffs in Fairlee, VT.

View of the Fairlee cliffs
View of the Fairlee cliffs