Yesterday marked the annual draw down of Northwood Lake in southern New Hampshire. To the locals, that means their lake level is lowered, they can work on their decks, and winter is fast approaching. For boaters, this release means it’s time to hit the river!
The Little Suncook was my second time on a New England River, and it was a good example. The run was pretty short, about 2.5 miles, and gave us ample opportunity for laps. The first 100 yards stacked at class IV ranking for consequences, but ultimately was not too difficult to navigate. The rest was a pleasant class II-III run, a narrow, windy stretch of river right alongside the road–great benefit if you’ve got swimmers.
Because it was dam release, the water was warm, which complemented the abnormally warm October air (mid 70s). My group was pretty large at around a dozen people. Splitting a large group into smaller ones is probably the best way to go with this river because it is so narrow and fast moving; one person getting stuck or flipping created a rather funny domino effect for us. So to avoid the domino effect, just spread the pieces out a little further than right on top of each other.
The Little Suncook is a good river for many levels of boaters. It was perfect for people getting more comfortable with class III creek stuff. The rapids were spaced far enough apart that if someone swam, it was pretty quickly into calm water–great for person/boat retrieval. Having a class IV section and little surf spots here and there also made the river a lot of fun for more experience boaters.
Also, the Suncook was just plain beautiful! Paddling beneath changing trees in some sections
and into marsh-type areas in others, all underneath a deep blue sky, really made for a great experience. A decent stretch of calm water allowed for us to socialize with one another, which some might deem as boring, but for me is part of the boating experience. The calm stretch also ended with a dam that you boof on the right, which was a great way to tell me that NE paddlers are a little nuts (but that’s a different post).
Blue sky, narrow, fast creek, and fun people–I hit the boating jackpot yesterday with the Little Suncook.