E and I went for a paddle this past weekend on the Connecticut River. It was the first time I’ve taken him on a multi-day paddle since our trip on the Allagash a couple of years ago.
On day one, we put in at the Newburry-Haverhill bridge access in VT/NH. Since it was late (we couldn’t leave until after work) we couldn’t make more than a mile before having to stop. I thought we were picking a stealth spot, but where we pulled over we found a latrine. So this was a site, but it wasn’t listed.
It’s also worth noting that this was E’s first time setting up his new Hennessy hammock. So proud.
This stretch of the river isn’t terribly beautiful, IMHO. The river is wide and lined with farmland and summer homes. Where the river opens up, it’s crowded with recreational boaters. Ski boats, bass boats, pontoon boats. So it feels more like a party than a relaxing paddle through the wilderness. Still, the first morning I got to wake up to this:
On day two we hit hard headwinds the whole way. Still, we made seventeen miles to our next site where, exhausted, we stripped out of our wet clothes and set up camp in our underwear, made dinner, and turned in. He hadn’t slept well the first night, so I gave him some Unisom and listened to him wind down.
He’s deaf, but he wears a cochlear implant which he brought so he could listen to music in his hammock. I lay there listening to him sigh and shift in his bag while he played music. And then his light snore told me he’d knocked out.
On day three E was feeling tapped from the hard paddle of the previous day. But he was feeing motivated to get to the car, so off we went, fighting more headwinds all the way back. As tough as this paddle was in some respects, his high fives at the end and his snuggle hugs for the next several days tell me that he feels satisfied and connected, in spite of the bad sunburn we both got because i’d forgotten the sunscreen. Sorry, bud. I’ll remember next time.
Here’s E paddling in his hoodie to avoid aggravating that sunburn. Poor kid.