Paddling East Inlet

Photo: Courtesy of Susan Ouellet

My 14-year-old daughter sat in the front of our long, blue tandem kayak as I pushed the boat onto the water and sat down to paddle behind her. About a 100 yards in front of us, my 12-year-old son was confidently paddling his small, solo kayak, stopping occasionally to gaze toward the wooded shoreline, hoping to spy a moose. The sun had been up for less than an hour, hidden behind a thin layer of grayish white clouds that hung low and were slowly lifting to unveil the rolling, deep green hills beyond the nearby forest.

The three of us were silent, not whispering a word to each other, allowing only the sound of our paddles cutting through the smooth, dark water. Mesmerized by the silence, we were suddenly startled by the loud, haunting, unmistakable call of a loon in the distance. My daughter turned around, wide-eyed and smiling. I nodded, and we continued silently paddling, excited to discover what else we’d see and hear on East Inlet.

In a region known for its remote, scenic places, East Inlet in Pittsburg, New Hampshire, stands out as a breathtakingly beautiful body of water where visitors can enjoy exceptional paddling and fishing. It is part of the Nature Conservancy’s 427-acre Norton Pool Preserve and it is home to one of the last stands of virgin forest in the east.

Surrounded by wilderness, East Inlet provides visitors a sense of solitude. The area attracts interesting wildlife, including great blue herons, loons, beavers and moose, who come to graze on the vegetation along the shoreline.

While East Inlet feels remote, it is fairly easy to get to. Visitors can take East Inlet Road off Route 3 in Pittsburg. After a small bridge, bear right at a T in the road, then follow this road for a mile before coming to East Inlet on the left.

For anyone who enjoys paddling and wildlife viewing, East Inlet does not disappoint. We paddled East Inlet for nearly two hours, taking our time to explore its scenic, wooded shoreline. While we didn’t spot a moose, we saw ducks and several tall great blue herons, including four standing in a single tree. We also got an up-close view of a beautiful black-and-white-speckled loon that seemed unbothered as we paddled by. And soon after our trip, my kids were already talking about returning to East Inlet with hopes of finally spotting a moose.

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