Canoeing on Coffin Pond

For years, we’ve driven past and explored the shore along Coffin Pond, with the intent of putting a canoe in to check out the little islands.  Today was the day.  We packed up our gear and headed to the Sugar Hill/Franconia, NH town line on Route 18.  The lot had several other cars, people picnicking, fishing, and enjoying a quiet spot. The boat launch and surrounding area is conservation property, the NH Fish and Game Department owns the boat launch and is looked after by the Sugar Hill Conservation Commission. Here’s a link to NHFG bathymetry map.

We put our boat in the shallow pond and started paddling.  There are several islands and we circled them all, while enjoying the wildlife and fresh air. 

We saw a family of geese, lots of dragonflies, many painted turtles, a great blue heron, kingfisher, and just a couple of fish.  The pond is mostly shallow and we were in desperate need of rain so the water level was even lower, but there are a couple of deeper sections.  In the shallow sections we could see freshwater muscles and even found a painted turtle swimming along. There were also three beaver lodges hugging the shores, but we suspect only one is currently active.

We thought that this pond connected to the Gale River, but it really doesn’t directly- although in high water times, it must flow out to the river.  At the far end of the pond, we found a trail, an overflow drain/culvert, and a place to get up on shore to check out the Gale River.  

Gale River

We looped around the small pond twice and as thunderstorm clouds built up in the distance, we paddled back to shore after about an hour of exploring. 

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