Kayaking at My New Favorite State Park

…………….   Pillsbury State Park Wetlands                 Kayaking on May Pond and Butterfield Pond, NH

This park has already made an appearance here on the blog, but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to visit what many have told me is their favorite spot in the Granite State. I was pleased to find that the 7,200+ acres of wilderness was as wet and wild as promised. I’m talking of course about the hidden gem that is now also my favorite, too- Pillsbury State Park.

Pillsbury State Park Wetlands

My friend and I had the opportunity to explore this park from the vantage of the water by kayak. It was still fairly early in the morning, and there was a chill in the air that, in addition to a few early speckles of red and yellow leaves, was a clear reminder of the changing season.

Alex Kayaking in Pillsbury State Park

It was the first time I had ever attempted kayaking, and it took a little practice learning to row without dumping cold water into my lap. By the time I was just starting to get a grasp on how to move more effortlessly, I had made it out into the middle of May Pond, the largest of several in the park.

May Pond in Pillsbury State Park, NH

At times it was so quiet that the sound of our paddles echoed, so still that you could see clearly to the bottom. I navigated around a few rocky island hazards just for fun. Then I set the paddle down and let myself drift across the water, watching the windmills turning.

Wind Farm in New Hampshire

Pillsbury State Park LoonThat’s when I had a surprise encounter with a family of loons. They suddenly just popped up out of the water next to our kayaks. A fat and very happy looking brown juvenile joined us in lazily drifting by the pond’s edge, while both his parents dove for minutes at a time, surfacing to stuff his mouth with fish.

I had never seen wild loons before. It was the perfect way to end a beautiful morning.

If you’re looking for a classic New England fall foliage scene, I’d have to imagine Pillsbury State Park would be a great destination. I hope to return in a few weeks when the leaves peak. But for next week, I’m going to a park that YOU picked. It’s my last post for the blog, so I hope you’ll be back to read it!


Jackie Raiford, New Hampshire State Parks Intern

I'm a graduate student working towards my Masters in Conservation Biology at Antioch University New England. My research interests include the conservation of urban green spaces for the physical and psychological health of communities. I lived for the first 24 years of my life in Rockville, Maryland just north of Washington D.C. I have traveled a little both domestically and abroad, and lived for six months in Australia. I also work as a dance and fitness instructor, and am certified by the American Council on Exercise.

One thought to “Kayaking at My New Favorite State Park”

  1. Hi Jackie,

    My friends & are I hoping to go there in a couple of days. Did you portage betw any of the ponds? If so, how did that go?


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