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A few weekends ago, Dr. Andy Kulhberg and I made a trip up to a river in New Hampshire that I had never heard of before to paddle the draw down of the lake that fed this river. It is called the North Branch of the Piscataquog. Who knew that such a fun river with totally varied landscape and rapids was a short ish drive from my Mom’s house in NY? Not only did we get to run a new run, but I got to see the most amazing giant pumpkin festival that included the third largest pumpkin in recorded history – nearly 2,000 pounds. Between the brisk air, bright fall colors, giant pumpkins, and very furry sheep and cows that we passed paddling down the river, we had a full immersion in the best of New England Fall. Andy also got to take his new All-Star down and I took my new Star.
The river itself was really fun with a variety of class and style of rapids. Because the river was so small in volume, I was expecting it to be creekier, but it actually felt like a big river that was shrunk to small size. The first rapid of note was a horizon line to a sort of slide flume – a great way to start off the run. After passing a couple of riverside homes, we saw a beautiful lawn and a bench right next to the river. We made a quick stop to look at the rapid below which was a fun windy, boulder, pool drop rapid with great fall colors overhanging. We made our way through some rapids that were great read and run, and eventually paddled back into a town and found ourselves at another fun slide rapid followed by couple more drops. After some more meandering through forests and fields, past very fuzzy black and white sheep, we came to the last and most significant drop. It was a fun series of read and run waves and holes. After a few more rapids, we hit the last rapid of the day, which was kind of like a toilet bowl rapid with a big swirling wave hole at the bottom. Lots of fun for a beautiful fall day!! If you have chance, make the journey – its well worth it, and you can run the whole thing in your play boat!!