When I was 12 years old, my dad took me on a one-day canoe trip down the Red Cedar River in Wisconsin. He packed a bunch of snacks, and I got to eat them while exerting the least amount of work possible. Until Saturday, that was the last time I was in a canoe.
So, when friends from Minnesota visited New Hampshire last weekend, and canoeing was suggested as a possible activity, I happily agreed.
That simple suggestion, “let’s go canoeing” resulted in learning multiple lessons. So while this post could possibly be the premise of a children’s cartoon episode, I’m going to rehash them for you anyway.
First, if you know you’re going to go canoeing, and want to go down a popular river (for example, Saco) book ahead. On a beautiful summer weekend, most of New England will be looking to venture outside. And you should assume some of that includes renting canoes.
Second, once renting a canoe to paddle down the Saco falls through, look to the lakes. Although they’re not normally the first place to think of when paddling, it tends to be cheaper and easier to pull off.
Third, Squam Lake is the greatest. It’s a beautiful location, and there are various public islands to hang out on. The Squam Lake Association rents out boats hourly or by the day – granting you the ability to easily spend as much time as you want out on the water.
Finally, check the weather. Thankfully we were lucky enough to be out on Squam Lake during a bright, sunny day. However, we didn’t factor in the wind. Paddling out to the island was a fantastic, leisurely ride that took about 20 minutes. Paddling back in whitecap-covered waters, against the wind, completely dehydrated, took about an hour and a half.
All in all, it was a great experience. For those looking for last-minute trips to entertain NH visitors (or yourself) keep Squam Lake as an option. If it’s good enough for Katherine Hepburn and the Fondas, it’s good enough for you.