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May 7-8: Introduction to Kayak Camping - Overnight on Squam Lake (L2)


Dan Foster
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Join us on Squam Lake for a welcoming introduction to kayak camping. If you've never kayak camped before, or are just getting started, you're about to discover some of the most enjoyable parts of the sea kayaking experience. With a sea kayak, you've got room to bring along plenty of gear, your favorite foods and creature comforts, and none of it has to go on your back. Rather than hurry back to shore to beat rush hour traffic, you can linger on the water, relax on the beach before dinner, and then enjoy an evening of camaraderie around a crackling campfire before retiring to a well-pitched tent or hammock to dream of the next day's adventures.

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This overnight trip is open to and intended for any NSPN member who is comfortable in L2 paddling conditions and has camping and paddling equipment suitable for early May temperatures in New Hampshire. The average overnight low is 37 degrees, but it has dipped as low as 22 in early May in Holderness. Temps on the lake often feel colder than on land, and Squam gets wind funneled down from the nearby mountain ranges. On the plus side, the tides are lower, and there are fewer sharks and jellyfish. You do not need prior kayak camping experience, although you should have some familiarity with your camping gear.

This is only a single night trip, and our camping destination is only a few short miles from the car, but we will be approaching this trip as if it was a much longer journey. We'll be taking the long way to camp both days, stopping for lunch on intermediate islands to cook hot meals, evaluate potential camping sites based on weather and resources, and go for short hikes. Squam Lake has a maze of islands, and we'll take turns refining our navigation skills as we island hop our way to and from camp in our loaded boats.

Once in camp, we'll gather firewood, rig some tarps, and set up a communal eating and social space. We'll hang bear bags, raccoon-proof our boats and tents, and practice fire building. We'll explore the finer details of dish washing, camp hygiene, WAG-bags, and Leave No Trace principles. We'll set up our tents and do a bit of show-and-tell and talk about our gear choices for the trip. I'll set up a camping hammock and tarp as a demonstration and an opportunity to lounge. We'll cook our dinners individually, and then cook a group dessert over the campfire while we tell stories and plan future adventures.

In the morning, after some hot coffee and breakfast by the fire and a walk around the trails to warm up, we'll break camp and head back out to "sea". Again, we'll stop for a hot lunch somewhere along the way, and hopefully navigate our way back to our cars for a late afternoon return to civilization.

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As part of our preparation for this trip, there will be a healthy online discussion and maybe a group Zoom to talk about gear, food, and clothing choices, and to answer any questions.

The anticipated cost for this trip is $25 (payable to me by Paypal), which covers your parking at the Squam Lakes Association headquarters, one night of camping, and firewood. Any excess funds will be returned in cash at the end of the trip. Once confirmed and paid, refunds will only be available if someone on the waiting list can take your spot. By applying to join this trip, you affirm that you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and agree to follow some common-sense, common-courtesy protocols (staying home if sick, notifying the group if you become sick, e.g.) to ensure the safety of the group.

If you're interested in joining this trip, send me a Private Message. The number of paddlers we can accept on this trip is limited by the tent space available on the three raised tent platforms that we are required to use in our group camping site, so in your message to me, please include the following:

A bit about your paddling and camping experience ("I've done a bit of backpacking, most recently in 2019, but never camped from a kayak")
Details about your tent and its size ("It's a 6-person car camping tent from 1970 with a rather unique odor")
Details about your sleeping system ("I have a 30 degree down bag and a foam mat")
If you are planning to share a tent with someone, definitely mention that - you'll jump to the head of the class!

If you are a veteran sea kayak camper who would like to help facilitate this trip, send me a PM.
 

Feel free to ask questions here on the forum, but to join the trip, see the instructions above.

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We are nearing capacity for this trip, so if you're interested in joining, please contact me by Sunday, as described above.

If you are a new (or relatively-new) kayak camper who would have liked to join this or a similar trip, but had a conflict or some hesitation, please reach out. There will likely be a second Intro trip later in the season, and I'd appreciate your input.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 3/30/2022 at 7:40 AM, Dan Foster said:

We are nearing capacity for this trip, so if you're interested in joining, please contact me by Sunday, as described above.

If you are a new (or relatively-new) kayak camper who would have liked to join this or a similar trip, but had a conflict or some hesitation, please reach out. There will likely be a second Intro trip later in the season, and I'd appreciate your input.

Hi Dan, my husband and I can't make this first camping trip, but would love to go on one later on if possible. We've only kayak camped once, on an island in Moosehead Lake, but have done lots of car camping around ME, NH and VT.

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