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08/26/20: Kayaking the Cocheco Out of Rochester

Sue had learned of a new boat launch to the Cocheco River out of Rochester, NH, and decided to check it out.

We were also interested in seeing the new handicapped ramps that had been installed. Though I didn't try them out myself, I mentioned to Sue that it might come in really handy for getting out of a kayak as that's the tough part; getting in is pretty simple.

So, when we got back to the landing, Sue ran her kayak up onto the ramp to check it out. Perfect!

Our exploring goal was to go as far as the Route 202 bridge as Sue thought it would be about an hour paddle. Well, it took longer than an hour because the river has so many dead ends that are easy to get confused with because there is so much overgrowth river vegetation that it's tough to determine in many spots where a branch will take you.

About halfway to the Route 202 bridge we stopped for sandwiches Sue had made up for us, and went on from there — running into an absolute dead stop in a huge lily pad overgrowth swamp right next to the highway. Gad, in the distance along the highway embankment you could see the bridge, but there was no way to get to it.

Sue knew that the bridge was accessible, and so on the return path, we took a couple of turns into branches hoping to find one that continued the river. I mean, the Cocheco River runs up almost to Milton! Gotta be a way to that bridge....

And then Sue suggested that we go back to the place we had lunch. We had pulled into a small, narrow cove that appeared to dead end at a bunch of fallen trees. We had rested the kayaks against those trees to eat, but she wanted to see if there was a path beyond those trees.

Sure enough there was. We had to goose the kayaks over part of a sunken log, but on the other side, the river opened up, and wound its way all the way to the bridge.

If you're not as persistent a Sue is about ferreting out stuff like this, you'd probably have given up a long way back. In fact, a couple who had put in at the same time we did, and followed us up to the first area that dead ended for us, had given up and gone back. Boy, did they miss out by not investigating just one more clearing through the vegetation...

Great day for us, though!

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View down to the boat launch area. Note the really nice handicapped dock.

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We followed the river north about an hour to the Route 202 bridge.

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Because the day had been so spectacular, the evening sky was studded brightly with stars with Venus blasting out from behind the trees in the backyard.

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