Sunday, November 14, 2010

Contoocook - Peterborough to Bennington - November 13th

Its interesting to watch a trip come together. It usually starts off as chatter on the web and by email. Eventually a consensus starts to form, a location is picked, and people sign on. Before you know it, you’re out on the river for a great day of paddling. That’s how it worked with yesterday’s trip to the Contoocook River.

The Contoocook, a tributary of the Merrimack River, is located in south/central NH and has some nice flatwater and whitewater paddling. The most popular whitewater section runs from Hillsboro to Henniker - I’d like to try it sometime. There’s also a nice flatwater section from Covered Bridge in Contoocook down to Broad Cove, and another 6-7 mile poling section between Jaffrey and Peterborough.

On this trip, we decided to pole the section from Peterborough to Bennington. Our original plan was to put in at the library in Peterborough center, and paddle down to the covered bridge over the Powder Mill Pond. After looking at the original put in site in Peterborough, we decided to move the put in a couple of miles downstream to the North Village Dam. The run would still be about 7 miles.

Our trip up was slightly delayed because of car troubles, but we still met Tommy and Jim at the put in around 9:30. We ran the shuttle, and were on the river by 10:00. We had 6 boats (Mike, Chuck, Tommy, Jeff, Jim and me). Level was perfect – 2 ft, 100 cfs on the Peterborough gage. After playing around at the dam, we headed downstream. Not a lot of features on this section of the river, but that was OK. We knew we would be taking it easy.

For the first half of the trip, the river twisted and turned through woods and fields. A nice current and gravel bottom made it easy to pole. For the second half of the trip, the river opened up.  The current slowed and the water deepened as we approached the Powder Mill Pond.

We got off the river about 4:00, got everyone back to their cars, and found our way to Harlow’s Pub in Peterborough Center for a couple of beers and something too eat. Another great day on the river.

My Pictures
Peterborough Gage
Powder Mill Pond from

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