As an avid kayaker on the Pemi, I was excited to accept Ski Fanatics / Paddle the Pemi's invitation to bring some GSAs for a paddle excursion. If you haven't been on the Pemi paddle, the river winds through the countryside and forests of Thornton and Campton. There are only a few glimpses of homes along the way, making the river look wild and natural with no shortage of swim and picnic spots.
Paddlers generally have two choices. To be shuttled and dropped off at Robin's Nest (intersection of Cross Road & Route 3 - under the bridge) like we were (6 miles - 3-4 hours) or they can make a day of it and go into the river in Woodstock (10 miles - 5-6 hours). Those who want to tube, go in at the Gilcrest Cottages.
Our section of the river had Class 1 rapids which were pretty light and fun. The trip we took would have been $40pp and included the boat rental, shuttle (to and from), paddles, and life preservers. If guests have their own boat, it's $20 for the shuttle only.
Ski Fanatics/Paddle the Pemi also rent canoes, double kayaks, paddleboards and tubes. They are easy to find right off the I-93, Exit 28 exit in Campton on Vintinner Road. http://skifanatics.net/summer-rentals/
In the winter months, they are full-service winter sports shop with sales and rentals. If you are a regular, you can even rent gear for the entire season.
This is only the second time that I have been kayaking so I was initially a little nervous. This time of year, the river was higher than normal because of all the rain so that made it easier to navigate through the low water parts. The staff at Ski Fanatics were professional, friendly and knowledgeable. They bring you to the drop off, and then pick you up at another designated spot. We waited very little time for them to pick us up as they run shuttles every 15 minutes. We stopped for lunch/a snack along the way which was quite a challenge for this newbie getting in and out of the kayak. I am happy to say that I did manage to keep my kayak upright which was not the case for everyone. We now have a couple of GSAs that have joined the “I like to get wet club and experience the coolness of the river first hand.” I also got to meet a few new GSAs or at least they were new to me and we shared a few of our experiences of being a Granite State Ambassador. It was a fun day.
This is a fun activity for the whole family and I would highly recommend using Ski Fanatics for your rental and excursions.
~ Maryellen McG
July 12 and the weather was sunny in NH, perfect for my very first Kayaking trip on the beautiful Pemigewasset River. Our group of 8 Granite State Ambassadors and our fearless leader, Kelly, met at Ski Fanatics in Campton where we were fitted out with life jackets and kayaks. Everything loaded up, we were off on a short ride to Robbins Nest where we "put in." Though this was my first kayak experience, most of the others were experienced and capable kayakers.
I was a little jiggly at first, but got some great tips from Roz and soon got the hang of it. I really enjoyed the beautiful river views, ducks, geese, and a few little rapids here and there along this 6-7 mile journey. We encountered a few groups of tubers along the way, but otherwise we had the river to ourselves.
Ron, trying to avoid a large rock at one of the rapids, became our first casualty. Kelly rescued him quickly and efficiently and his spirits were not dampened, though the rest of him was.
We had a short rest stop and some of us were able to get out of their kayak for a stretch. I, however, decided to stay in my kayak as I had not yet quite figured out how I was ever going to get out of it
I soon found out - as we rounded a bend in the river, a little too close to some downed trees, I was caught in some branches - oops, I was OUT and the kayak was filling with water - eek! Once again, Kelly to the rescue. We disentangled the kayak from the tree branches and off it floated! Fortunately, Ron was prepared downriver a bit and was able to grab it and drag it to shore. Kelly helped me into her kayak and she floated down the river under Kelly power to Ron, and we resumed the trip.
We finally arrived at the debarkation point to rejoin the rest of our group - who were wondering where the heck we were. The Shuttle was there waiting for us and when we were all accounted for we were delivered back to Ski Fanatics. No GSA's were lost! My shoes (and other things) were full of mud, but I did not get my hair wet! What Happens at the River, Stays at the River!
We all had a great time and I can't wait to tell NH visitors how much fun it is to go kayaking with Ski Fanatics.
A fun time had by all. The folks at Ski Fanatics were so friendly and accommodating and the weather was great! We learned a lot and got to know each other a little better. We learned that Kelly is adept at "herding canoes", thanks Kelly! Four newbies hit the river and besides a couple of snags we did well!
The time I spent on the river was much appreciated and was a definite workout for muscles that have not seen that much continuous work in a long time! Especially memorable was the magnetic rock that drew my kayak to it despite my frantic paddling to stay away from it; my boat was capsized! Fortunately, the water was knee deep.
Everyone was so nice and efficient at Ski Fanatics. I would have not known about them had I not been exposed through the Ambassadors. I am very grateful. I will definitely recommend them as the summer and winter destination point for our visitors as I volunteer at the airport in Manchester, and to my friends.
I had truly had a wonderful time and will enthusiastically recommend the experience to anyone heading up to the White Mountains for the day or for a longer vacation. I have already mentioned it to some kayaking friends in the community I live in and encouraged them to try it out. We couldn't have had a better experience!
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