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Franklin Pierce Pre-Orientation Wilderness Adventure Pemigewasset River Canoe/KayakTrip 2010 - New Hampshire, United States

by cartyd  
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4 day, 3 night canoeing and kayaking trip down the Pemigewasset River.  Incoming students are led by trained upperclassmen trip leaders through scenic turns and some light rapids.  Although near the interstate the meandering river stays deep in the valley and just out of view of civilization.  Great blue herons, osprey and even bald eagles call this river valley home along with beavers, mink and other more elusive animals such as moose and deer. 
The portage around Livermore Falls in Plymouth is a tough one.  We brought lots of rope and lined our heavy boats down the cliff and then down the lower sections of rapids so we could jump back in them in a nice calm deep pool below the old railroad trestle.  It took us over an hour to get seven boats through- and that was at low water levels and dry weather.  The rocks are steep and slick and the falls themselves are VERY dangerous- not runnable at this level and undercut.   The guidebook talks about a a portage "difficult but not impossible" around the falls but it would have been a long and heavy hike with boats full of four days worth of gear.  I recommend lining the boats through the lower section- and installing a safety line to descend the rocks near the river.  Running the lower rapids is very possible but we went around.   Remember- this was late summer and it had been very dry all summer- in higher water we might not have been able to descend the exposed rock.  After another short section it was cruise to Plymouth and beyond.  The river is somewhat boring as it slows up behind the Ayers Island Dam but that's where the eagles and osprey nest.  After a brief portage around the Ayers Island Dam (not fun, but very straight-forward) the river gets lively again, even at low water.  We ran it at about 400 cubic feet per second but summer dam releases can push it over 1500 cfs.  There's a great surfing wave downstream that all of our crew swam through.  There were a bunch of little kids on boogie boards getting in on the action as well.
Trip Info
by cartyd
August 05, 2010
Trip Location: North Woodstock, New Hampshire, United States
Length: 37 miles
Activity: Kayaking / Canoeing
Trip viewed 2,632 times
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