This is a trip that takes you into three states: Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. For about five miles below the Vernon Dam the west bank is in Vermont and the east bank is in New Hampshire. The boundary between the states is along the west bank, so you can float through New Hampshire and beach the boat in Vermont dozens of times if the spirit moves you. The last couple of miles are in Massachusetts, completing the tristate trip. Political boundaries aside, the trip from Vernon Dam downstream to the Pauchaug Boat Ramp passes through some of the most pastoral countryside anywhere on the river. Beginning near the imposing edifice of the Vernon Dam, this trip then wanders alongside a forested island where bald eagles often perch in the shore-side cottonwoods or soar in great gyres overhead.
The farther downriver you float, the wider the river becomes. More islands come and go, bridges slip by, and a relaxing feeling is omnipresent. On weekends and summer holidays the monotone of powerboats intrudes, but staying near shore makes their passage fairly benign. This is a pleasant, very enjoyable trip with lots of wildlife, islands, and mile after mile of undeveloped shoreline offering a seemingly endless supply of beautiful views.
© Charles W. G. Smith/Appalachian Mountain Club Books. All Rights Reserved.