In a departure from my normal topic, running, I’d like to spend the next few days telling you a bit about a lovely weekend I spent in the Whites with the Appalachian Mountain Club.
I participated in an AMC Women’s Adventure Weekend – on the docket was 48 hours of kayaking and hiking near Pinkham Notch with like-minded women.
Part Three: Kayaking with Great Glen Trails
As part of my weekend with the AMC Women’s Adventure program, we were due to spend a day paddling the Androscoggin River. Our guide and gear were provided by our friends at Great Glen Trails.
Great Glen Trails is a short drive north up Route 16 from Pinkham Notch. They offer activities year-round, including guided kayaking trips, bike rentals, and a fall trail series. They also run activities in the winter months, including tubing!
Great Glen is directly across the street from the Mount Washington Auto Road. They actually run the auto road, and even give a second life to the vans that shuttled passengers up and down Washington as the vans that ferry kayakers to and from the river. Some of the vans still have the microphones that the auto road tour guides used.
Our fearless leader on the Androscoggin was Nate. He got us geared up with personal flotation devices, neoprene booties, and dry bags before we took off for our put-in location. Once we arrived at the put-in, he assigned each of us a kayak and showed us how to adjust the peddles where our feet would rest, and helped us get into the water.
I obviously chose the brightest kayak I could muster, to go with my equally-bright and obnoxious outfit.
We paddled 14 miles on Saturday. FOURTEEN MILES. We actually started our journey in Bethel, Maine at the Gilead put-in, and crossed the border back into NH where we took out at Newt’s Landing.
While out there on the water we saw blue heron, Canadian geese, all sorts of other birds, and a few bald eagles. BALD EAGLES, people. They were huge! We were hoping for bear or moose sightings, but fate wasn’t on our side on Saturday.
We stopped for lunch on side of river (those gigantic lunches that we ordered at the Pinkham Notch Visitor’s Center), and spent some time just chatting and enjoying our afternoon.
I had never been kayaking before – I was always afraid of having my legs enclosed in a boat and getting flipped, but my boat was open enough that I would’ve easily been able to get myself out had my boat flipped… which didn’t happen, thank goodness.
Photo Credit: Great Glen Trails’ Facebook Page
Kayaking is a lot of fun! It was equal parts athletic and relaxing. There were a couple of points where the water was so low that several of us got stuck. When that happened, we either stuck our hands in the water and pushed ourselves out, we shimmied the kayak around a bit (remember when you were a kid getting your sled started at the top of the hill with a funny little scootch? that’s what we were doing), or sometimes we just got out of the kayak and walked it until it was less shallow.
Overall, this activity was very well-organized and SO much fun. Nate was a wonderful guide, and made sure we were all well-informed and safe as we made our way down the river. I would be thrilled to kayak with Great Glen the next time I’m in the area.
Next up, Part 4: Hiking the Tuckerman Ravine Trail