Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Year End Summary

I meant to do this post last October after I took my last kayak trip of the season but life got in the way and and I  never got around to writing it up.  I was driving  past the Merrimack the other day and it got my thinking about my first season kayaking.

I started my season in mid June so I missed a good 2 months of prime kayaking weather but I tried to get out every weekend once I strated.  I set a goal  early in the season to try to kayak the Merrimack river from the Massachusetts border to the sea.  I accomplished this except for a 5 mile stretch between the Pawtucket falls and the sewage treatment plant.

I also took a couple kayaking trips along the Concord and Spicket Rivers.  A highlight being my trips through the Nevins Bird Sanctuary on the Spicket River.   The Great Blue Heron nesting grounds is quite a site.  I also took a great trip trip with a group of paddlers from the Merrimack River Watershed Council.  Overall I had a lot of fun met some great people and had a pretty successful first season of kayaking.

I am setting some goals for myself for next season as the cold and snow we are getting right now is giving me a bit of cabin fever so it may help to at least think about getting in the water in the spring.

  • I need to get a better kayak rack for my car or van.  Right now I am using the cheap foam pads and straps which are passable but I get nervous when on the highway so this prevents me from kayaking too far from home.  I am thinking one of the racks from Thule or Yakima.  Anyone have any suggestions for a good rack system for a Dodge Caravan?
  • I need to get some rescue gear .  Specifically a bilge pump and paddle float.  And of course spend some time practicing how to use them. 
  • I plan to join the Merrimack River Watershed council and go on a a couple more of their trips.  I had a great time on the one I attended so I will definitely try to go on more this season.    And of course support the good work they do for the river.
  • Explore the Merrimack further north - Looks like there is some nice kayaking through Manchester NH so I hope to get up to that section at some time this year.
  • The Shawsheen and Nashua Rivers are other local tributaries of the Merrimack that I am going to try to explore at some point this season.
  • Lastly I am going to finally put my kayak in the ocean.  My family spends a but of time at the beach in the summer so my kayak is going to come along for one of those trips.