How Lovely Was the Loneliness of a Wild Lake

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Spring is a wonderful time to live in New Hampshire, especially if you are a lover of the great outdoors. This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit one of my favorite hiking and kayaking spots, Willard Pond in Hancock, NH. Willard Pond is located at the base of Bald Mountain in the dePierrefeu-Willard Pond Sanctuary. It is the largest preserve owned by the NH Audubon and covers over 1,700 acres of land. It was donated to the state through the generosity of Elsa DePierrefeu Leland and her family.

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If you’re not familiar with the area getting to this secluded location can feel like a bit of an adventure leading you down windy dirt roads. However, once there you will understand why this place is such a popular spot for local residents and visitors alike. Many visitors enjoy swimming, exploring pond side trails, fishing, bird watching, climbing Bald Mountain and paddling around the pond. One interesting aspect of Willard Pond is its unique landscape. Huge boulders deposited by a receding glacier are scattered among a diverse mixture of trees and plant species. In the summer I love to kayak around Willard Pond, enjoying sandwiches and other assorted goods bought from the local Fiddleheads Cafe and the Hancock General Store. Spending a sunny afternoon among the water lilies and loons on Willard Pond is always an adventure.

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Here are some importation aspects of planning kayaking adventures.

Staying Dry

Keeping yourself and your gear dry is a very important aspect to consider when planning your next kayaking trip. No matter how waterproof the latch on your kayak is, there is always a chance that water will find its way inside. Dry bags are a great way to store and protect your gear from getting soaked and prevent water damage. You will want to bring various sizes of dry bags to protect both large and small items. These items might include camera, cell phone, wallet; first aid kit and toilet paper. Before leaving on your trip try a “practice pack” to make sure everything fits in an organized manner inside both the dry bags and kayak.

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Snacks on the Pond

You will also want to bring lots of tasty snacks along since you will be doing a good amount of physical activity. The different types of food you bring will be similar to going on a hiking trip. Try organizing your food by meal and pack it into a dry bag or stuff sacks. Staying hydrated is also very important so be sure to drink at least a gallon of water per day when kayaking or hiking especially in the heat to stay hydrated.

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Loading Up Your Kayak

When loading up your gear it’s important to remember where and how you pack gear rather than weight. Most kayaks can carry up to 100 pounds of additional weight. Start off by placing all your heavy items close to the cockpit and deep inside the boat. Make sure the weight is distributed evenly in all directions, expanding out from the center. The best way to ensure the stability of your kayak is to pack all of the items together tightly. This will prevent your gear from rolling around and causing your boat to wobble.

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Safety!

When packing your kayak you will want to leave enough room to be able to exit the boat if needed. Loose gear and weight around your hips could also make it much more difficult to perform an Eskimo role, leading to an unnecessary wet exit.

Enjoy your trip!

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