Jim Salge Photography Blog

Images of New England captured in dramatic light and atmosphere

Camping at Lake Umbagog…

I am largely a three season hiker. Probably not in the typical sense of the word though. My hiking season begins in early fall, and continues right through when the leaves fill out on the trees. Definitely including winter. Rarely in summer. I just don’t deal with the heat well. My ideal temperature is about 25 degrees Fahrenheit, though I don’t mind 60 either. Anything over eighty pushes it. Add humidity, and I’m done.

Kayaking has become a more than suitable replacement for day hikes, but I’ve never really combined camping and kayaking in the way that backpacking satiates my backcountry fix during the rest of the year. My friend Karen and I decided to give it a try on Lake Umbagog this week, which is one of the most remote and beautiful lakes in New Hampshire.

The lake has a great infrastructure for kayak camping. Remote campsites dot the shoreline, and offer more that just appealing views, as the sites have pit toilets and some tent platforms. We also found that state park at the south end rents canoes and kayaks, and would even arrange transportation to the site by powerboat with your kayak. Not for us though…

A few mile paddle found our site on a private island teeming with small songbirds. The shoreline surrounding the island was perfect moose habitat, and there were eagles soaring over the neighboring cove. Wildlife paradise. Just paradise.

Eagle Take Off From Umbagog

Eagle Take Off From Umbagog

Over the next few days we paddled much of length of the lake, fished, and watched wildlife. We saw at least six different eagles, and a merganser with an unbelievable clutch of about two dozen young. Loons woke us up before the sun, and the bugs abated for midday naps. I didn’t do much professional style photography, but took many snapshots of the scenes and wildlife we encountered. Photographically, I’ll consider it a scouting trip.

Loon on Umbagog

Loon on Umbagog

If I can pass along any tips gleaned from the trip for someone taking their first overnight out of their kayak, it’s to use smaller bags. We both were independently under the impression that a few large dry bags would work, but when stuffing the boats hatches, it just didn’t work. More, smaller bags fit much better in the boat. Otherwise, it’s just like backpacking, with fewer concerns about pack weight. And for me, much more enjoyable in the summer!

Eagle in Tree By Umbagog

Eagle in Tree By Umbagog

Leave a Reply

Get our latest updates

Subscribe Via A Feed Reader


Jim Salge Photography on Facebook

Jim Salge Photography on Flickr

Jim Salge Photography on 500px