As we are gearing up for our 2017 Canoe 52 adventures, I wanted to recount my first multi-day paddle. My brother-in-law, Chris, and I set off on a four-day paddle down the Connecticut Riveron August 2, 2015. We had absolutely no idea what we were doing. First, we got a late start. We opted for Bloody Mary and a hardy breakfast, essential for a full-day paddle, but we did not hit the water until after 11. We embarked on our journey at the Thompsonville Town Ramp in Enfield, CT. Our final destination was Crow Point, Wethersfield. In addition to this being the first day of my first multi-day paddle, this was also my first serious paddle since 2006 when Amanda and I tandem kayaked in the Mediterranean. Before that, I had not paddled in earnest since I was a kid. I borrowed a canoe from a buddy and Chris and I were off on our adventure.
Paddle the Enfield Falls Canal
Since I grew up in Windsor Locks, I lived near the Enfield Falls Canal. The Connecticut River descends 30 feet over about 6 miles. Shortly after traversing the dam at the northern most end of
the canal, we were drifting down the shallow and wide river. When we canoed past this relic from the early 1800s, I grew more and more excited to scope out the abandoned locks at the southern most end of the canal. Once we reached the end of the canal, I decided to get out of the canoe to get some National Geographic inspired photos. I was using my phone. After taking a series of shots, I lost my balance. In desperation, I tossed my phone into the canoe, but it hit the top of the canoe and bounced into the water. I got another half a day before the device stopped working.
Beaches and City Scape
Just south of the canal, Chris and I found a sandbar to bask in the sun and stop for a quick snack break. The sand was fine and dry. The sun blazed and the wind and water cooled us off. We chilled for about an hour and set off on our way to Wethersfield. A few hours later, we passedHartford’s glorious skyline. The science center gleamed and the historic blue Colt dome stood regally over the river bank. A little while later we paddled past the Connecticut River Academy and Goodwin College. As we pulled into Crow Point, just south of the Route 3 bridge it was getting dark. Because we started out so late that day, we had to set up our tent by flashlight. We couldn’t find flat ground in the dark, so we were on a hill and our bodies slid down hill all night. At that moment I realized the importance of an early start and due diligence when paddling. The next morning we were set to paddle the 20.6 miles to East Hampton.
This experience was what set Amanda and I on our journey to canoe52. Although the trip was trying, I then knew that I could pursue this as a hobby and past-time. This trip was so inspirational that Amanda and I have decided to duplicate the excursion this summer. Be on the look our for our first multi-day trip together this June.