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White Mountains NH
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Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
White Mountains NH on 06/21/2008 18:58:52 MDT Print View

I'm glad to see a forum devoted to packrafting. Considering the possibilities that packrafts provide to backpackers, at what to me what seems an amazingly light weight, this fits perfectly into an UL philosophy.

Now I have to figure out where I can put these packrafts to use! From what little I know about them is that they are not for still water lakes or paddling upstream nor are they for serious white water. Also, they need about 10" inches of water to avoid butt bumping all day.

With these limitations in mind, I am trying to make a list of rivers in the White Mtns of NH that have a nice hike to get upstream and float back to the car.

One that comes to mind is the Swift River (along the Kanc). One could park at many places, such as the Albany covered bridge, and use the Nanamocomuck trail to hike upstream.

Other possibilities may include the Pemi River near Lincoln Woods, or the Wild River from Baldface Mtn flowing north to the Androscoggin, or perhaps the upper Saco near Crawford Notch.

I have a vacation place there, so I'm am a part-time resident and don't see conditions year round. I think the biggest problem is the shallow depth in most of the region's rivers.

Anyone have any packrafting ideas so we can enjoy one more activity in this beautiful area?

Brett Tucker
(blister-free) - F

Locale: Puertecito ruins
Re: White Mountains NH on 06/21/2008 19:51:46 MDT Print View

The White Mountain streams that penetrate deep enough into the WMNF to provide parallel trail hiking options tend to be limited to shallow, boulder-choked stuff that is generally best paddled when it's highest in early season. That said, these streams - such as the upper Saco below Crawford Notch - can be class 3 (or higher, such as on the Swift River) with plenty of potential to get "bandersnatched" in rock garden pour-offs. Happened to me last year, and I actually lost my raft (and pack and paddle) to the river, only to be recovered a week later via a lost-and-found ad!

I tend to think the best spots in the Whites for beginner and intermediate packrafting would be the same rivers used by the masses of summer canoeists and kayakers. The lower Saco, from Bartlett to Fryeburg, is the quintessential lazy river paddle by mid-summer, with some riffles and plenty of sandy take-outs on the meanders that would make for decent stealth camping prospects.

As an alternartive to hiking or biking back to the original put-in, taxi companies in Conway could easily accommodate a packraft and take-apart paddle.

More remote packrafting opportunities such as the Androscoggin River could also work for the intermediate paddler, with a hitchhike thrown in at the beginning or end of the trip. Paddling up-river is certainly possible, too, given a sub-2mph-ish current.

Also, some of us actually enjoy flatwater packrafting, especially for use in practicing ferrying, backpaddling, deep water re-entry, etc. The more interesting the shoreline, generally the more interesting the paddling, I find. And mid-lake obstacles like boulders and tree stumps are fun to maneuver around in circles, practicing finesse.


Swift River near Albany covered bridge, mid-May '07

Swift River, WMNF, NH

Edited by blister-free on 06/24/2008 11:16:40 MDT.

Rick Beaty
(reeock) - F

Locale: New England
the whites on 09/30/2009 08:00:50 MDT Print View

check out the pontook section of the Androscoggin.

Rick Beaty
(reeock) - F

Locale: New England
been looking myself... on 06/13/2011 10:59:47 MDT Print View

have you found any sweet spots? I've been researching trips in the whites for a while. There certainly aren't AK rivers in the whites but trips enough to keep us busy. have you found anything interesting?