This is one of the best workouts I have ever done in a kayak. This is the site of the last NECKRA race of the season, annually. It is called the Great Potato Race and I actually won 10 pounds of Massachsettes finest. It is a challenging paddle for non-athletes such as myself. 4 wonderfully fast, landscape changing downriver miles, followed by a U-Turn around an island and back again. Two major points. The first is that just before you round the island you have drawn up alongside the Holyoke Mountain Range and the summit house at the top of Mount Holyoke. This is a beautiful sight almost anytime but from the water level in the middle of the river the mountain appears larger than life. After the race I met some people who were top side and came down to meet us to tell us how cool we looked from up above. The second point of interest is the paddle upstream. For me it was a test of intestinal fortitude. It would have been easy to just throttle back but the effort to keep the speed respectable was substantial and I will always feel proud of my own personal effort. I would like to come back during other times of the year to try some different flow levels and feel the difference.
We launched from the marina at the foot of the RT. 9 bridge on the East side of the river. If they won't grant you access there are plenty of other lonely spots along the river where a canoe or kayak could easily be car topped and launched.
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