Monday afternoon, we strapped the kayaks to the roof of the car, hitched up the camper, and headed north. We arrived at Lake Francis State Park (in Pittsburg, NH) at supper time.
Pittsburg is as far north as you can go in New Hampshire… it is so far north that Canada lies to the west as well to the north!
On Tuesday morning we put the kayaks in the water at the East Inlet (to the Second Connecticut Lake) and paddled as far up this watershed as we could go. We were finally stopped by the willow thicket overhanging the narrow and fast moving channel.
About a noon time the predicted rain showers began. We were soaked to the skin by the time we got back to the landing and the car. We had a good time anyway!
We saw a loon as we got out of the car and a second one while we were out in the boats. There were other birds about as well, along with lots of frogs and a lone moose.
The frogs were calling from the marshy areas but hard as I tried, I could not espy a single one. I was beginning to despair every getting a photo when I finally noticed the bright yellow throat sac of one sitting just at the edge of the open water. After finding the first specimen, I began to see yellow throat sacs from the proverbial mile a way… they were, in fact, rather numerous!
As for the moose… I was peacefully and slowing paddling along when, as I rounded a bend in the shore line, I heard a great splashing sound. I am not sure if the bull moose or I was more surprised. The moose quickly made for the shore and the first photograph I made of him contained mainly his posterior as he headed up into the marsh. Once out of the water, he did turn to look at me and I was able to make an adequate (but not spectacular) portrait.
Joan missed the entire show as she was botanizing some distance behind.
The rain was just letting up as we got back to the East Inlet boat launch… figures! We changed into dry clothes and decided to drive up to Scott Bog; another kayaking/wildlife hot spot.
Along the way we scared another smallish moose off the road. Scott Bog will be our target next time we are in the area with our boats!
After an early dinner, we took a drive up Indian Stream Road. We turned around at the parking area for the Indian Stream Gorge trail head. We’ve put this on our “to do” list as well.
Wednesday morning we were on the road south by 7:30. Joan was meeting another NEWFS PCV* in Northumberland to do a rare plant survey. While they were botanizing, I headed to the nearby Eames Wayside.
This piece of public land along the Connecticut River looked promising on the map, but I could not find much information about it. It turns out to be essentially undeveloped, there is small parking area on Route 3, but that is it. I tried to bushwhack down to the river but was turned back by the willow thickets.
As I headed back to the car somewhat dejected, I noticed a dragonfly in a sunny spot along the rail bed. Thus all was not lost!
I spent the next couple of hours photographing damselflies and other insects, along about fifty feet of rail bed near a small stream flowing under the rails in a culvert. I did not see another dragonfly the entire time I was there but the damsels were plentiful!
*NEWFS… New England Wildflower Society; PCV… Plant Conservation Volunteer