Long, hot summer days make the water the perfect place to spend your free time. There is a variety of nearby locations that offer a spectacular day of paddling. Each is within a two-hour drive, with a couple only 15 minutes from Eastman via Winding Wood Road in Spring Glen. Here are some of the old favorites of Eastman paddlers.
Grafton Pond, Grafton, NH
Grafton Pond is a favorite paddle for many. Arrive early to watch the sunrise, spend mid-day soaking up the rays, and stay to listen to the evening call of the loons. This 235-acre lake with its islands, deep waterways, and marshy areas provides many places to explore and view wildlife. Much of the shoreline is owned by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. The numerous islands make great lunch spots, but camping and fires are not permitted.
Directions: Take Grafton Pond Road off of Route 4A. Follow the road for close to a mile until you reach a stop sign. Turn right at the stop sign. Look for a dam to your left; the boat launch is on the left, and parking is on the right.
McDaniels Marsh, Springfield and Grafton, NH
Practically in Eastman’s backyard, McDaniels Marsh Wildlife Management Area is easily accessible from Winding Wood Road. This is not only a paddler’s paradise, but a popular fishing hole for its bullheads, Eastern chain pickerel, and yellow perch. A dam at the intersection of Bog Road and George Hill Road keeps the water at a fairly constant level for the mallards, ducks, hooded mergansers, and Canada geese that enjoy this nesting and feeding habitat. When you lift your eyes from the water, you will be rewarded with views of Croydon Mountain and Aaron’s Ledge. This paddle is especially spectacular in fall when the red maples put on their stunning color. McDaniels Marsh is featured in the Woodlands and Wildlife Committee’s publication Exploring In and Around Eastman featured on page 9 of this issue of Eastman Living.
Directions Take Winding Wood Road (it becomes Eastman Access Road) to the end and turn right onto Bog Road. Continue to the intersection of George Hill Road, and the Marsh is immediately in front of you.
Danbury Bog, Danbury, NH
Danbury bog is located just north of Ragged Mountain. This secluded spot offers a nice launching area and the opportunity to see an abundance of wildlife including turtles, blue heron, wood ducks, and, if you are lucky, a moose. Without motorized craft in these waters, the bog has abundant aquatic vegetation. Midway through the trip you will get the opportunity to practice your paddling skills by entering and exiting a culvert that brings you under a secondary road. This paddle is approximately four miles round trip, but leave plenty of time to float and enjoy the surroundings and wildlife.
Directions: Take Route 4 into Danbury either via Exit 17 on I-89 or by leaving Eastman via the Bear Drive access road in North Cove. In Danbury take Route 104 east. Travel about a mile and turn right onto Gould Hill Road. The boat launch is on the right just before a small dam.
Eastman Recreation will be leading a paddle on Danbury Bog on October 1, 2016. More information is available at the South Cove Activity Center.