Monday, May 28, 2012

Odiorne Point Kayaking Trip - Little Harbor and Sagamore Creek

View Odiorne Point, Rye NH in a larger map

I have driven by Odiorne Point in Rye, New Hampshire a bunch of times in the Spring and Summer and it always seems to be crawling with kayakers.  Not being familiar with the tides and currents in the area I have always been hesitant to make the trip.  The NE Seacoast Paddlers Meetup Group had a trip planned from Odiorne this past weekend so I couldn''t pass up the opportunity to paddle some new waters.  The plan for the trip was to put in a few hours before high tide, paddle into Little Harbor and the up Sagamore Creek.  There was an option to stop at a restaurant along the river for lunch/dinner and then paddle back out when the tide turned.

The put in at Odiorne Point State Park was pretty good.  There was a large parkhing lot which was pretty full by the time the 40 or so paddlers in our group arrived.  The address of the put in is  505 Ocean Boulevard (Route 1A) Rye NH.  Coming from the south it is just before the small bridge in Rye.  The is actually another informal put in on the other side of the bridge that I saw a few people using.  The ramp itself was a bit muddy, I almost lost a shoe along the edge of the ramp. 
Wentworth by the Sea Hotel

Wentworth Golf Club

We set out around 1pm, I though the initial paddle out into the harbor would be tough with the tide coming in but it was pretty easy paddling,  We paddled north past a nice golf course on the left and toward the Wentworth by the Sea Hotel on New Castle Island.  There is a large Marina on the island but there was not too much boat traffic, a bit surprising being Memorial Day weekend.  The trip leaders directed us to pass under the (Route 1B) bridge on the right.  The current under the bridge was pretty strong, kind of fun to get shot through.
Shooting Under the Bridge

Playing in the waves

Once the group was through we pushed further north toward the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and around a couple small islands.  One area to watch out for is a small ledge that the incoming tide was flowing over.  A couple brave souls from our group paddled over it and had a rough time getting back.  I briefly considered giving it a shot but after watching a couple guys struggle I decided to conserve my energy.
Portmouth Naval Prison

Once around the islands we let the incoming tide push us up the Sagamore Creek.  At the mouth of the Sagamore is the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion.  This structure dates to the 1700s and is the former home of the first Governor of New Hampshire.  The Sagamore itself has a few shallow spots at the mouth but a little speed will push you through.  We paddled about 2 miles upstream where it opens up a bit and the area appears to be surrounded by conservation land. 
Lots of rocky shoreline

Wentworth Coolidge Mansion

We made a brief stop to stretch our legs and then headed back downstream just before high tide.  The trip leaders suggested a stop on the way back down at BG's Boathouse for an early dinner.  We stopped for a quick bite and enjoyed the view of the Sagamore.  The restaurant has a nice little landing area for paddle craft.  I have often wondered why more waterfront restaurants don't offer landing areas.  Maybe with kayaking becoming more popular more places will catch on.  After a finishing dinner we pushed back into little harbor.  A couple highlights of the trip back were the group of kids contemplating jumping off the Route 1A bridge as we were passing by.  We also saw a pair of deer on the opposite shore as we were leaving the Boathouse.  Seeing deer was a first for me on a paddling trip.

Cold Water...Crazy Kids

Quite an enjoyable trip overall.  Total distance was just over 7 miles of easy paddling.   We were out for about 4 and a half hours including a stop for lunch.    Beside paddling right at the put in, if you paddle left, under the bridge, there is a sizable tidal area to explore.  Odiorne Point is a great little area to explore and I hope to get back there again very soon.