I began this journey in late May of this year. My husband John and I hiked up to the Source of the Connecticut River right on the boarder of the US and Canada. I wanted this to be a true Source to Sea adventure. With John’s help and vehicle assistance I paddled all 4 Lakes and Lake Francis. I did not paddle in between the Lakes for safety reasons. John said goodbye at the put in for Lake Francis and I continued on aided by The Connecticut River Paddlers Trail map and The Connecticut Rivers Boaters Guide, Source to Sea.
There was a lot of rain, tough headwinds and grey skies the first couple of weeks. Cold too, 34 degrees a few mornings. I did not really mind because it was so beautiful, peaceful and serene. Additionally, the River was running nicely with near ideal levels. Campsites were marked and well maintained.
On June 7th my sister Beth met me at the Woodsville Boat ramp. The skies cleared up and she paddled with me for the next 8 days.We spent one night at a Hotel, another at a Campground and several at good campsites. A little wind, a little rain even a somewhat difficult dam Portage. I told Beth she had experienced a microcosm of the whole Journey! Ed, Beth’s husband picked her up at the Putney Station Boat ramp, NH and they went off to retrieve the car at Woodsville.
The population along the River and the power boat traffic increased the closer I got to the Sea. Still beautiful just a bit less serene for sure. Tons of Wildlife in spite of the people, birds, eagles, swans, jumping fish. On June 23rd, 28 days after starting out I paddled just a bit out into The Long Island Sound and gazed in to the vast Ocean ahead. That was a powerful feeling as I reflected on The Connecticut’s humble beginnings.
To summarize: I paddled through big cities, little cities, towns, farms and Wilderness. The water levels were great when I passed through and I never had to drag the boat. The scenery, just amazing, soul healing. The campsites were well marked and maintained. Plentiful in VT and NH, scarcer in MA and CT. Some of the Dam Portages were difficult but most were clearly marked. Love when the Power Company provides transport! (FYI: when I passed through on June 5 or 6 the Gilman Dam Portage was impassable, dangerous even. The River was low and viscous thigh-high mud prevented access to the trail. That complicated my day quite a bit. The put-in trail on the other side of the dam was not much better, blocked by large debris.)
In closing, I always come back from these River Journeys feeling stronger more peaceful and better equipped to handle this complicated World.
I am so grateful for the people who conceived of and maintain this Paddlers Trail. Always amazed by how few people are out here to receive all the benefits!
I will be writing about this adventure in much greater detail on my blog, www.cathyqmumford.wordpress.com.