Live Free or Die
Some friends and I went canoeing in Contoocook, New Hampshire this weekend. Originally we had planned to do a 3 day weekend trip where we spent Friday night at a campsite, and then all day Saturday and Sunday on the river. However, because of rainy weather, we shortened our trip to a day on the river, and driving home the same night. It was a bit disappointing initially, but the trip was a lot of fun and just what I needed–a little break from city life.
We got up early Saturday morning and 6 of us drove up to Contoocook, which is about 1.5 hours from Boston. We were on the river by 10:15 am. The day was cloudy mostly, and rained for about half the time we were out on the river, but thank goodness, at least no lightening. I didn’t even mind the rain, it was warm, and I was wet anyway.
I shared my canoe with Kevin “Koz” Kozin, a fellow alumni from Principia whom I haven’t seen in years. He’s a sweet guy, and a good canoe instructor, too. (I was clueless when it came to canoeing.)
We spent hours gliding down the gentle river. It was beautiful; the banks were verdant and lively with forest and tall grass. Signs of civilization were few and far between, and I had some nice moments where I was able to forget about computers, traffic, laundry, and just concentrate on paddling in the water.
We stopped to swim and jump off a rope swing for a while. Hugo and Ashley were competing for craziest stunt. Ashley won by far with several back flips off the rope. That girl’s insane.
After we jumped off the rope for a while, we canoed a couple of hours more and then went ashore near some banks that were all mud, no rocks. The mud is mostly clay, so it has weird striations and layers that make it look like rock, but it’s all pretty soft and gluey.
There are large clay deposits at the water’s edge, which had the consistency of wet, cold flesh, and a weird vicosity. The feeling could best be described as what it would feel like to jump up and down on a giant bladder made of quicksand. Of course, it was so fun that we spent about an hour flinging mud at each other and seeing how far we could sink in the quicksand-clay before it got to hard to pull ourselves out and had to have others help us.
We slid down the banks of the mud, and at one point, I rolled down one length of the mud mountain. I think there is a video of me doing it. If I get it I’ll post it here.
There’s something wonderful about playing in mud that I had forgotten about since I was a child. It was cathartic.
You can see filthy little me, in the lower right corner.
Afterwards, we continued canoeing through the rain and ended up at the take out point where we were picked up by some of the canoe guys, and went back to Burky’s place, which is in Concord, NH, exhausted, to clean up and dry off.
We watched Lords of Dogtown and had dinner at Siam Orchid, a Thai place. Afterwards, we drove home, completely exhausted, but completely content.
It was also my maiden voyage in my new car, and I couldn’t be happier with it. It’s sooo fun to drive.
During the whole trip, I sat at the prow of the canoe, which gave me a clear view of nothing but river. At some points, if Koz and I were leading the canoe pack, I couldn’t see anything but water, trees, and sky, and it reminded me how much I loved being out doors.
I loved canoeing, just the simple task of working a paddle so that you glide through water is therapeutic on many levels. At one point, I found myself singing:
I’m gonna walk up the side of the mountain
Then walk down the other side of the mountain.
I’m gonna swim in the rivers, and lie in the sun
Gonna try to be nice to everyone…
Currently listening to: Head Hunters by Herbie Hancock