View Nashua River - Pepperell MA in a larger map
I participated in another one of the Merrimack River Watershed Council's paddling trips this past weekend. This trip was my first time on the Nashua River. I made myself a goal over the winter to paddle some new rivers this season and this was my third new river this year.
The section of the river that we paddled is called Pepperell Pond. There is a dam further upstream which backs the river up into a large pond-like area with lots of islands and little culverts to explore. Lots of wildlife to see on the Nashua river and we were lucky to have a couple members of the Brookline Bird Club on our trip to point out all of the different species.
Our put in was at 120 River road in Pepperell MA. A bit of a steep walk down to the water but everyone stayed dry so no issues there. We started our paddle upstream but there was no discernible current in this section of the river. I am used to paddling more narrow rivers with a stronger current so it was nice to paddle on a larger body of water for a change. Unfortunately we were reminded immediately of one of the drawbacks of paddling on large open areas; wind. We paddled into a pretty stiff breeze for the first half mile or so, eventually it did die down a bit as we entered more sheltered sections of the river.
I think we paddles at least two miles stopping here and there to check out the wildlife. We found a nice spot to stop for lunch at our turnaround point. I believe we were in the J. Harry Rich State Forest. There was a nice network of trails running along the river, a perfect spot for a break.
After lunch we meandered back pretty much the same way we came. One interesting note we must have seen at least 3 pairs of swans during our trip. I was able to get close enough to snap a pic of the below nesting pair. The Nashua River also appears to a fairly popular river for boating, we saw quite a bit of others in powerboats, canoes and kayaks. There was even saw a group in an inflatable raft.
Our total trip was approximately 5 miles and we were out on the water for about 3 hours. The MRWC is running a bunch more trips on the Nashua River throughout the season so I am hoping to explore more of the river as the season progresses.