Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Day on the Saco River

Too hot to hike so we decided to play on the Saco River today. We arrived at the Saco Canoe Rental Company with hopes of catching a shuttle upriver with our own kayaks and paddling back to our vehicle. No such luck, they were sold out and the shuttles were full. So we took off on our own. Our destination was the Saco River off River Road.

People were streaming in with every known floating device - tubes, kayaks, canoes with many trailing inflatable coolers. I must say that I'm not one to join the masses, some in various stages of inebriation, when I'm enjoying an outdoor activity but I'll have to blame today's heat and humidity. It pays to get an early start, there was plenty of room in the parking lot.

Tying the knot on the river

We launched our kayaks and started paddling upriver. With the lack of rain the river was very low. The current was virtually nonexistant in this stretch of the river. That soon changed. We came to some shallow rapids and it was impossible to paddle against this. Keeping close to shore we managed to pull our kayaks up past the rapids but they just seemed to never end as we went around the bend. This was not working and the decision was made to head downstream.

Drying out my kayak after capsizing

It was a fun ride down through the rapids. As we came back into flat, calm water there was a rope swing and my little kayak buddy wanted to give it a try. We pulled up to the riverbank and tied off. This side of the river was in the shade and the water was cold. A couple of times off the rope swing was enough.

A nice spot for lunch

Launching during lunch

We continued down until seeing a large group of kayaks and people gathered around. A couple were tying the knot right there on the river. After the marriage ceremony all the kayaks took off.

Fishing bobber cooler - for catching a buzz?

Traffic jam ahead 

There happened to be a set of rapids in this part of the river. We waited to see how other people negotiated them, it didn't help. So we took off, I went first. Everything was going fairly well until I bumped against a rock sideways tipping the kayak and filling it with water. Brandon sailed by like a pro. It was time to empty my kayak and dry things out. While drying out we watched every other person tip over on this same rock. I actually jumped in and retrieved one kayak.

Positioning for the rope swing show

By this time we had worked up an appetite and decided to pull up on a rocky beach with some shade. We sat here eating lunch and watched the masses launching their floating devices. It was actually quite comical and provided good entertainment while we ate.

After eating it was back out on the water and heading downstream again. We passed under the River Road bridge and beyond that was another rope swing and it was getting a good workout. There was a line of people waiting to use the rope. We sat there on the water and watched the show.

A refreshing swim

Looking for shade under my paddle

It was time for us to get in the water. We moved to a rocky beach and proceeded to get wet. The water was cold but the air was hot and it felt good. We saw many dogs today and most of them had a life-preserver on.

Last set of rapids coming up

There was one last set of rapids for us to run so once again we were paddling downriver. At the end of these rapids was a well placed tree stump that needed careful attention. We made it past this obstacle but the canoe behind us was not so lucky and they were all dumped into the river.

End of the line for us and we had to carry our kayaks over a rocky stretch to get back upriver to the calm water we left before riding the rapids. Not having a vehicle to spot downriver is a definite disadvantage. We made our way back to the parking area and called it a day. That was six hours on the water and definitely the right outdoor activity on a hot and humid August day!

Having fun in the great outdoors!

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