Canoeing to College: Incoming Dartmouth Freshman Fights His Way Upstream

Tuesday, May 06, 2014
Incoming freshmen travel to Dartmouth College from all around the world, many of them piecing together epic journeys by train, plane and automobile. All 19-year-old Hartland resident Cedar Farwell had to look forward to was a crummy 22-minute drive.

So Farwell, who graduated from The Sharon Academy last spring, and his parents, a pair of Dartmouth graduates, decided to make things a little more interesting by voyaging to Hanover via canoe. Farwell and his mother, Edie Farwell, left Hartland in a canoe this morning and, after rendezvousing with the rest of the Farwell family at a camping spot tonight, hope to make it to Farwell’s first day of classes by early tomorrow morning.

Things got even more interesting than any of them had initially planned when officials decided to release water from the Wilder Dam around 1 p.m., which Farwell said increased the pace of the river's current more than 10 fold — from about 700 cubic feet per second to roughly 7,500 cubic feet per second — making for slow-going midway through their upstream battle.

This did not go unnoticed by a farmer along a bank, Farwell said, speaking in a phone interview while he and his mother took a lunch break in White River Junction this afternoon.

“(The farmer) was like, ‘What are you doing paddling upstream?’” And we were like, ‘We’re going to Dartmouth College!’” Farwell said, to which the farmer replied, “That’s good, go to Dartmouth College; they’ll teach you to paddle downstream next time!”

Posted to the Upper Valley Dispatch blog Monday at 4:20 p.m. Read more in tomorrow’s ‘Valley News.’ Maggie Cassidy can be reached at

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