Sunday, November 6, 2011

Merrimack River Kayaking Trip - Scruender Park, Methuen to Pines Recreation Area, Groveland

View Methuen to Groveland in a larger map

After the freak snowstorm we had last weekend I thought my kayaking season might be over.  But the weather warmed up enough for me to get out on the Merrimack this morning.   Temperatures were in the high 40s when I put in but quickly warmed up to the mid 50s, pretty comfortable kayaking weather.  Wind was pretty light but picked up a bit toward the end of my trip.

I was looking forward to some foliage paddles this season but I somehow seemed to miss it.  Colors now appear to be varying shades of yellow.  I was hoping with most of the leaves gone from the trees I might see an eagle in the trees but none seemed to be around this weekend.  There was a lone Great Blue Heron, some cormorants and ducks still hanging out.  Water levels are still pretty high with a brisk current I am paddling at an average of 5 mph.

I paddled around the back side of a small island just past the 2nd 495 bridge and found myself in a short narrow little area (below) that reminded me a bit of the Ipswich River.  It was pretty shallow so I am not sure this section could be paddled in the summer but it was nice to get out of the sun and wind for a few minutes.

My destination for this trip was the Pines Recreation Area boat ramp in Groveland.  I stopped here for a break on a trip a few weeks ago and chatted up an older gentleman working there.  I think the ramp is for Groveland residents only but I couldn't find any information on it.  The ramp was gated off for power boats but no problem for someone carrying a kayak.  There is a nice flat ramp and  parking area just a short walk away.  My typical takeout is at Riverside Park in Haverhill.  The problem there is you need to climb a fairly steep flight of stairs to get to the parking lot.  Not always an easy feat after a couple hours of paddlng.  The Pines Recreation Area is just about a mile past the Haverhill and I may try using it again in the future as long as nobody kicks me out as I am not a Groveland resident.

Pines Recreation Area

Total mileage of this trip was just over 10 miles and I completed the trip in 1 hour and 50 minutes.