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Backpacker Magazine – July/August 2013

Testing the Waters

Four days on New England's idyllic waterways. Is it enough to win a father's blessing for his daughter's new life?

by: Majka Burhardt

Paddle Therapy on Umbagog Lake (Bob Rossi)
Paddle Therapy on Umbagog Lake (Bob Rossi)
Paddling in sync on day two. (Rob Bossi)
Paddling in sync on day two. (Rob Bossi)
Photo by Majka Burhardt
Photo by Majka Burhardt
The trail to Diamond Peaks (Majka Burhardt)
The trail to Diamond Peaks (Majka Burhardt)
Breakfast on the last day (Rob Bossi)
Breakfast on the last day (Rob Bossi)

Get there Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge is due east of the New Hampshire town of Errol (4.5 hours north of Boston). From Errol, head south on NH 26 for .5 mile to Northern Pond Rd. and then east for 1 mile to the boat launch at the Errol Dam. Drop your vehicle here, then shuttle (see below) to the Wilson Mills put-in on the Magalloway River, 13 miles away.

Season June to September

Maps USGS quads Wilson Mills, Umbagog Lake North, and Umbagog Lake South ($8 each; store.usgs.gov)

Outfitter Northern Waters Outfitters in Errol provides canoes ($30/day; includes paddles, life jackets, maps), access to privately owned campsites (including the Diamond Peaks sites), and shuttle service (even if you have your own boat). (603) 482-3817; beoutside.com

Contact Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge (603) 482-3415; fws.gov/northeast/lakeumbagog

Permits None necessary for non-motorized travel. Camping allowed only at designated sites, and must be reserved in advance (see below).

Reservations NH Parks and Recreation: bit.ly/reserveNH; Umbagog Lake State Park: 603-482-7795.

Gear up LL Cote in Errol (25 Main St.; 603-482-7777; llcote.com) has a good selection of camping and hunting supplies, but for food and lightweight equipment, stop en route in North Conway, Berlin, or Littleton (depending on your driving route).


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