Adventures on Narrow River
There will be multiple blogs that focus on Narrow River because the beauty and the options are almost limitless. This is pretty much my favorite spot in Rhode Island regardless of whether I’m paddling or not, it is quintisential Ocean State gorgeous. Quick geography lesson first to clear any possible confusion. Narrow River’s name is actually Pettaquamscutt…Annnnd it’s not really a river, it’s a tidal inlet (and furthermore, mostly NOT narrow!). A very, very long tidal inlet that begins in the bay on the northern end of Narragansett Town beach and it tops off by Gilbert Stuart Museum (“Where?” you say?) in North Kingstown.
Today I’ll focus on “The Narrows”, the final section from Rt 1A that empties to the bay because I just paddled it on Tuesday and it’s “Narrow River on My Mind.” The Narrow River Preservation Society has links to a couple of awesome maps that detail the area, as well as info and history. You’re silly not to go to the link and check them out. In fact, if you want to know all the spots where you can launch, you’ll just have to cuz why should I have to rewrite it all?
When you paddle Narrow River, there are several weather related items that require your attention. You could choose to ignore the wind and the tide and may Mother Nature bless you that you have a pleasant ride. Even under the best conditions you will be challenged in some way. If nothing else, you will always be dealing with a current whenever you paddle north. It is incredibly easy to be lulled into peace and tranquility when you paddle to no resistance. Don’t EVER, EVER forget that going back will not be so easy. Whenever possible, I paddle in the challenging direction on the way out so I can take it easy on the way back and in doing it this way, you will never paddle further out than you can manage.
Which brings me to wind. Wind is our enemy, at least when we’re paddling against it. After a few rough experiences, I never even put my board on the car until I make sure the wind is manageable. Under 10mph is best and over 15, stay home unless your goal is to get a great workout. When it comes to Narrow River you do not mess around. My very first time paddling here was horrific and I had to lay on my belly to paddle so I wouldn’t go backwards.
Finally we have the tide. As high tide approaches, the water is coming in and heading inland. If you try to paddle toward the ocean when the tide is coming in , it will prove challenging. When the water goes back out for low tide, it is an easy, breezy, peezy, weezy ride to the ocean but going inland might make you cry. If at all possible, I try to paddle at the peak of either tide and pray for the Universe to align. And if I could choose between high or low tide, I’d go with high tide because you have more water access. There are a lot of very shallow areas during low tide that don’t have enough clearance for your fin.
Tuesday night the Universe aligned and it was truly a spectacular paddle.
Look at how calm the water is!! There was little to no wind and it was the peak of low tide. The ride from the bridge on 1A to the ocean was dreamy, you didn’t even have to paddle.
Once we got to Narragansett Beach, we also attempted to put in from the shore into the ocean. A couple of us managed to get out and then also, quite awkwardly, back in but that is fodder for another blog. The paddle back to the cars was almost as lovely but took about 4 times more energy. It may not look like much but the current here is still strong. You also have to be aware of boaters when paddling here, it can get very busy. I strongly suggest avoiding the weekend during peak summer.
Until next time, don’t hesitate to comment or ask questions! As you can see, I enjoy giving advice and telling people what to do and I love getting comments (unless you’re a troll, then I’ll just delete your ass!). Did I ever tell you how much I adore the summer?