Connecticut River Trip Report
Length – 4 days (2 full days, 2 half days)
Mileage – 60.5 (Started at 214; Ended at 153.5)
Guidebooks used: The Connectiuct River Boating Guide (Herein refered to as the guide. All mileages are taken from this book, for continuity sake. They don’t match up with mileages from websites or other guidebooks)
Day 1 – Lyman Point Park (mi 214) to Burnap Island Campsite (mi 209)
Start: 2:30PM; End: 4:15PM
Started at Lyman Point Park. Went into Town Manager’s office and asked to park overnight. They took our car info and wished us luck. Very nice lady. Access point at Lyman was steep and about 200 yards from parking lot. Water was low but current still pretty strong all the way to Burnap Island Campsite. Looked like there was a possible unmarked campsite right before Mascoma river on left bank.
Burnap Island is a great campsite in good shape. It’s on the west side of the island, clearly marked with a large campsite sign. Sandy beach and refreshing water for a swim. The upstream side of the island is covered in debris including logs, a door, white picket fence, and a television. Only downside of the actual campsite is the train across the river which announces its presence every time it passes. Including 4AM.
Day 2 – Burnap Island Campsite (209) to SCA site (185)
Start 8:30AM; END: 5:20PM
Left site right as fog was burning off. Got to Sumner Falls in no time. Portage: the water levels at Sumner were incredibly low so we decided to shoot the rapid. We scouted the first half and ran it no problem down the middle. Then we cut to the left bank to scout the rest. Found a nasty drop near the end that would have taken us out so we lined the rest of the way through on the NH side. Another drop surprised us about 50 yards from what had seemed like the end but we got to shore in time and finished lining it successfully. All in all it took us 50 minutes. The portage itself is very nice, possible campsite there. Seems shorter than a quarter mile. Imagine it’s quite beautiful when the water levels are high.
We stopped to check out Burham Meadows Site (201) and ended up spending an hour looking at the Path of Life sculpture garden. It was a wonderful surprise and we encourage everyone traveling down to check it out. About 3-4 acres of sculptures included charred carvings and a tree maze. Burham Meadows itself is appropriately named except for the small trees all around. Its got a picnic table and a firepit, plus a nicely situated privy. Donate a few dollars to UVLT if you stay there.
We then paddled to Wilgus State Park Campgrounds (192.5) and ate lunch at 2:00PM. The campgrounds are well maintained and have cabins available, leantos, picnic tables, fire places and water spigot. Probably busy during the summer weekends. We were out by 3:00PM.
Paddled to SCA campsite (185). Site is nice but no open fires are allowed and you have to walk up hill about 150 yards from the water to the site. There are 2 platforms and a privy. The site is right before the river turns southwest on NH side (not southeast like the guide says).
Day 3 SCA Site (185) to Boggy Meadows (163)
Start: 9:00AM; End: 5:15PM
Left SCA site sore and blistered. Headwinds stayed with us the whole way to Bellows Falls. Stopped at Hoyt’s Landing and had hotdogs at Jackals, up at the road (mi 181, 10:30AM).
Portage: At Bellows Falls we tried to get a ride across but the power company line that is listed in the guide was out of service and the Adventure Land number yielded no results. We ended up calling Village Taxi [(802) 376-1315] and the driver agreed to move our gear but not our canoe. Seemed some drunk trippers had annoyed the driver a couple months back so he doesn’t carry canoes anymore. Cost $10 there and back. We portaged our canoe through town about 2/3rds of the way before a friendly guy in a pickup truck offered to give us a lift. We finished the portage in an hour and 15 minutes.
Wind wasn’t blowing after Bellows and current was strong again. We drifted about 3 miles before paddling again. Long stretch of smelly cow dung filled river before Boggy Meadows. We camped on the NH shore besides a cornfield (aprox mi 163).
Day 4 Boggy Meadows (163) to Putney Landing (153.5)
Start: 8:25AM; End: 11:30AM
Left campsite and drifted for a while. Met another set of trippers who had travelled from Wilgus State Park in a beautiful wood canvas Old Town canoe. Saw Windyhurst campsite after cornfields and dock. Another unlisted campsite appeared about _ mile before Putney Landing on right bank. It’s private land and the owner invites one-night campers. Walked from landing to Putney Diner where we feasted until our ride arrived.