Basin Pond, a 29 acre pond nestled in the hills between Brooks and Monroe, is ideal for paddle boarding in that it is largely protected from winds — and typically offers calm conditions, even when nearby lakes have waves and whitecaps.
The pond is also great for swimming. Swimming and paddle boarding are better together! We also find that your SUP learning curve will be steeper if you combine paddle boarding with swimming.
The pond plenty of wildlife and has the feel of remote wild ponds far to the north. The eastern shore of Basin Pond is an undeveloped hillside owned by the town of Monroe. The southern end of the pond is a vast marshland. With the exception of a log cabin tucked up onto the wooded western hillside and our log home set back 700 feet from the northern end, the pond is wild and likely looks much like it did 400 years ago.
It is about one mile to paddle around the pond. If you want to explore more, you can paddle out the outlet at the southeastern end and then either east or west on the Marsh Stream. Upstream the river is relatively shallow and marked by a series of beaver dams, beaver lodges, and other signs of beaver activity. Through mid-June and following heavy rains in summer, you can paddle several miles upstream so long as you are willing to portage the beaver dams. Downstream from Basin Pond, the river winds through grasslands to a small stone dam and then widens and deepens into a larger waterway that flows through Jones Bog.
The eyes of two eagles are constantly on Basin Pond and surrounding marshlands. They raise their young in a nest high in a pine near the northwest corner of the pond.
A pair of nesting loons take turns guarding their well hidden nest and fishing the waters of the pond.
More than a dozen beaver lodges can be found in the marshlands surrounding the pond. Especially if you paddle early in the morning or toward dusk, you are likely to see beaver and to hear the emphatic slap of their tails.
Toward evening, you are also likely to hear the call of coyotes from the nearby hills.
Other frequent wildlife sightings include muskrat, redwing blackbirds, and a slew of other songbirds. Seen often but less frequently include blue heron, turtles, otter, osprey, and more.
Below the surface of the pond, yellow perch and chain pickerel are plentiful, with brown trout, hornpout, and sunfish rounding out the population.
Part of the experience of paddling the pond is the 5 minute walk down to the pond. You will walk on a series of bog bridges, first passing through the mossy quiet of a fir, spruce, and hemlock forest. After following the trail as it parallels a stone wall and crossing under the shade of a venerable old tamarack, you will continue on along more bog bridges through the “bog” proper. Beyond that is a dock from which you can slip into a kayak or onto a paddle board to explore the pond.
Those who may have difficulty walking the trail (narrow with short steep inclines and uneven footing in places) should contact us to learn about other options.