Connecticut River canoe trip

Four years ago the kids and I visited the Canadian Border at the northern tip of New Hampshire, where the Connecticut River is born.  We hopped through the four Connecticut Lakes and paddled for two days downriver.  Each year, since then, we’ve returned to our stopping point and continued to paddle homeward, eventually reaching home last August.  After that climactic moment, what can be done next?  We decided to keep going.

We set off Saturday morning, right from our own dock, and headed downriver.  (John stayed home this year, due to work obligations.)  We passed familiar territory as we paddled along River Road and Route 10 into Hanover, past the Montshire Museum, and finally camped on Gilman Island.  We were soon joined by a large group of about 30 DOC Trip leaders, who spent the night there as part of their training to lead DOC Trips.

Got all my ducks in a row (at Wilder Dam).

Got all my ducks in a row (at Wilder Dam).

Sunday we quickly reached Wilder Dam, which produces the 22-mile long “lake” of slow, flat water we crossed this year and last, and portaged around it.  It has been a dry summer, and little water was passing over the dam – thus, we had shallow, slow water for our next stretch.

Soon, though, the White River entered on the right, and the Mascoma River on the left, and eventually the Ottaquechee River from Vermont, giving us a nice quick current to carry us downstream. Good thing, too, because we had a strong headwind. It was a beautiful sunny day, and we stopped at Sumner Falls in Hartland. These “falls” are only a few inches high, but necessitate a portage.  Andy and I scouted the water and the rocks and decided to run the rapids with our empty canoe.  Not a bad run, I must say, for our first outing!

Our campsite at Burnham Meadow, in Windsor VT.

Our campsite at Burnham Meadow, in Windsor VT.

We camped at Burnham’s Meadow, an overgrown UVLT campsite nestled in the woods between river and train tracks in Windsor.  Its big feature was being next-door neighbor to the “Path of Life sculpture garden” – an impressive collection of huge sculptures in a field – and to Harpoon Brewery. We certainly took advantage of this unusual opportunity to supplement our dinner menu!

Andy and I approach the Cornish-Windsor bridge.

Andy and I approach the Cornish-Windsor bridge.

Monday, another sunny day, we had a leisurely paddle downstream under the famous Cornish-Windsor bridge (the longest covered bridge in North America) and around the corner to our take-out at Wilgus State Park.  I must say, Wilgus is a beautiful campground, one of the nicest I’ve ever seen anywhere.

John picked us up here and we stopped at the Harpoon Brewery for lunch.  What a treat!

Check out the full photo gallery.

John picked us up from our endpoint and we stopped for lunch at Harpoon Brewery on the way home.

John picked us up from our endpoint and we stopped for lunch at Harpoon Brewery on the way home.

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About dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.
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