7 miles / 11 km Upper Ammonoosuc River Groveton - Frizzel Campsite
Fair, later sunny
We crossed paths again last night with thru paddlers Chris Elliot and Meghan. They left the motel an hour earlier than us and we met them again at the Frizzel campsite. It seems there are variations as to how to do the trail. They had missed the most difficult part of the upstream section today by walking up to the bridge on Emerson Road and putting in at Nash Stream. We spent the morning working our way up the river. It took us 4 hours to do the same section by river.
We started the day portaging and short paddling sections past dams in Groveton and the industrial remains of a paper mill which closed some years ago.
Above the dams, the river was fast with sandbanks and the only way to get upstream was by poling, tracking and wading. Initially the stones were small (easier walking in the river bed) but as we proceeded upstream the rocks got bigger and more slippery.
We were extremely relieved when the river flattened out above the bridge at Emerson Road and allowed us to paddle a long section uninterrupted.
Two km before the campsite the current picked up again and the water got shallower so that we had to resort again to the familiar combination of paddling, ferrying and lining.
Besides variations in the approach to the trail as to whether you choose the river or the road for certain sections there seem to be variations in kitchens and eating.
We are sharing the Frizzel campsite with Chris and Meghan this evening and have learnt that their kitchen equipment consists of 2 spoons and 1 saucepan – no mugs or other implements, that’s it.
We have 3 pans, 1 frying pan, a chopping board, 2 mugs, 2 sets of knife, fork ,spoon, 3 bowls, a can opener, 1 wooden spoon, 1 slide for the frying pan and 2 lids for the pans, a sharp cutting knife. In addition we have a washing up bowl, 2 tea towels, washing up brush, sponge and washing up liquid. Besides all this hardware we also have a selection of condiments for making up our own meals. (8 different spices, ketchup, parmesan cheese, cooking oil, mayonnaise etc)
They eat oatmeal every breakfast prepared by pouring boiling water into the packets. Their evening meal also consists of pouring boiling water into the packet of a backpacker meal and they share the packet eating it with 2 spoons.
Tonight we are eating fresh coleslaw (cabbage, carrots, apples, onion, sultanas with mayonnaise). For the main meal we have made our own vegetarian hamburgers made out of tvp, egg powder, onions, peppers and rice. They are served with tomato ketchup, mashed potatoes and a tin of vegetables (we have not been able to find dried vegetables at any of the shops along the trail). For desert we eat dried fruit sometimes rehydrated during the day in a beaker.
We could never be thru-hikers and our packs are certainly a lot heavier than their packs but I would not like to eat oatmeal and backpacker meals every day on the trail.
Two days ago I thought the Nulhegan was the most beautiful river we have paddled to date. Today the Upper Ammonoosuc claimed my award as prettiest river but not my favourite because we have paddled UPSTREAM. We paddled the Nulhegan DOWNSTREAM.
On the Mississquoi and the Clyde we drank tap water. Today we have started filtering water again from the river.