Sunday dawned steamy after the thunder storms of the 4th of July. It’s finally summer and the town is crowded with seasonal visitors, lakes are overflowing with boaters and swimmers, and the background noise of life in the country is a little louder. I was looking for a way to leave it behind for a while and just soak up some nature.
It has been too long since I threw my kayak in the back of truck and headed for the bliss of floating and drifting to the breeze. I risk my camera but ditch my phone and get in touch with sensory being, having little or no control over what I will feel, smell, see or hear.
Laura and I launched our boats into the Contoocook River in Peterborough and went with the flow. I have decided I much prefer kayaking rivers over ponds and lakes.
The Contoocook flows south to north and I did a stretch of it south of Concord in September of 2013 with a group of friends. That post is here if you are interested.
The Contoocook River originates in southwestern New Hampshire from Poole Pond in Rindge. It flows north for 71 miles to the heart of the state, Concord, where it joins the Merrimack River, which flows south and eventually into the ocean in Newburyport, MA. The significance for me is that I grew up in Newburyport, on the Merrimack, and now live in the Contoocook River Valley where I cross the river many times a day as it flows through my surrounding towns. I love to think that if I put a message in a bottle to my former self, set it adrift from here and raced to the shore, I might find it floating by, back at my beginnings.
I did a very small part of the river between its many dams in Peterborough in June of 2014. It is was quite rocky and swollen in many places; I definitely got my heart rate up. That post is here.
For such an easily accessible gem, it was deserted this holiday weekend. We were surrounded by high walls of lovely Elderberry bushes, lightly scenting the air, tiny pink flowers resembling Morning Glories dotted the banks.
Turtles were sunning and the most amazing Damsel flies were busily mating.
Some parts were more challenging as trees had fallen across the river and acted as small dams, creating rocky little rapids of raging foam.
We picked our way through the tough spots and had moments of leisurely drifting; not unlike daily life but with a chorus of King Fishers and birds too numerous to name.
Evidence of beavers stood out as silent sentries to our passing.
The river became wider and slower as we traveled further from civilization and our end point was this ancient trestle bridge.
It was a lovely summer day along the lazy river.