your paddlesports destination

West Hill Pond in Connecticut

Trip Overview

Maggies first paddle

What could be better than your young Daughters first canoe paddle on a warm May day? Well, for this outdoorsman, the only thing better is that she wants to go again.

Maggie has quite a history of boating in her three short years, as a matter of fact, she was born the day after a family powerboating picnic, perhaps giving her Mom the ride around the lake helped bring her to us.

This day, though, started with planning and expectations. Will she like it, or will this be a trip to the pond for a nice ride in the Jeep? The weather channel showed sunny weather for all day, but years of experience on West Hill Pond told me to go early cause the wind can pick up and make the return trip a good workout.

I loaded the trailer up to the jeep, put the twin kayak on one side for my wife and son, and strapped down both the twin and the Coleman canoe. I had to laugh that the combination of dark green kayak, and orange Coleman really didnt go well together.

When we got to West Hill Pond, the whole family helped unload the trailer, then they put on their life jackets, and Maggie patiently waited at the dock while I helped my son, then my wife into the kayak. It took a couple of minutes to get them where they were working together and going around in circles. Then it was time to help my darling little girl into the canoe.

She sat right in the middle of the seat, and held her little paddle inside the boat until I climbed in and gently pushed off and with a pulling draw stroke, spun that boat into the open water.

With only 38 pounds of 3 year old weight in the front of the canoe, it spun fast and flat, and I think that was that moment that Maggie was in love with canoeing. I heard her giggle and could tell that she was happy, though I could not see her face.

Maggie was fascinated with the beams of light she could see filtering into the water, and was looking for fish, and wanted desperately to be fishing. I promised to take fishing poles the next time.

Maggie and I had caught up to Rick and Nancy, who were having fun, but still getting out of sync with the dual paddling and working on the teamwork. We pulled alongside and had a quick break of some Quaker rice snacks and a juice packet. All eyes were on Maggie as she dipped her hand into the 50 degree water. I asked her if she would like to swim in that cold water, and she was quick to let us all know that was not her first choice. OK I said, Then always stay seated in the canoe and you wont fall in

A town beach was about a half mile away from where we had drifted, so we dipped our paddles in and headed there, where we beached and rested. Rick took his shoes off and tried to get his feet wet, and that didnt last long either.

After a few minutes of resting and regrouping, we set off again for the launch point.

Cutting into the breeze that had helped push us to the beach, I angled the boat so that the paddle Maggie was dragging in the water would help steer us straight up the pond, and she waved to fishermen as we slid by. The rest of the trip was uneventful, save for the emotion of a paddling father, proud to successfully introduce to his Daughter to one of his favorite pastimes, and knowing that the years she will want to be seen with Daddy in a beat up, orange Coleman will be short enough.


Nice State maintained concrete ramp.
Recently opened West Hill Grill across street from ramp.
Dirt parking.
Lots of ramp activity in the mornings


Ct Rt. 219 to Stub Hollow Rd, to West Hill Rd. Follow the signs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip