Report by Liane O’Hora
With the water being low just about everywhere, Moosefest was the place to be this October. Lake drawdowns and a little help from Mother Nature made this Moose Fest good as ever. The Moose River runs in the Adirondaks, New York – beautiful north country at its best with crisp air and a fantastic palate of changing leaves. We feared the water would be even too low for the drawdown to help much, but rain the week be-fore the releases brought us fantastic medium to high water. Even Mother Nature loves the Moose.
We started with some play and river running on the Black in Watertown, NY. Lots of people start Moosefest weekend on the Black and the power company even has an extra day of releases just for us. With the rain we had, some paddlers even got to do laps on the lower Indy, so we all had a great start to the weekend. Our initial plan was to run the Bottom Moose both days of Moose Fest – class IV-V adrenaline pumping fun – but the water came up just a little bit more than we had planned. Scouting the first drop on the Bottom Moose – a huge slide into a gnarly hole – tightened the sphincter a bit too much so we decided to start out with a “mellower” run of the Lower. Itself not for the faint of heart, the Lower Moose is a long day, starting with a long class III+ rapid full of holes and rocks, then some nice class III-IV drops with a lot of flat water mixed in. It’s just not Moose Fest without cold, rainy, snowy weather and Saturday did not disappoint. The morning started with a mix of snow and drizzle and went on to spit a bit of cold rain on and off throughout the day. But, with a group of 15 or so boaters and tons of other people, the day was great and we were ready for the festival that night.
Sunday dawned a nice cool, sunny day and we hit the Bottom. The water came down a bit so we were good to go. Our paddling club had a great turnout – close to 20 boaters and I was the only girl! Super clean lines and a great group of people brought us down the Bottom Moose. Our group had some fantastic boofs at Knife’s Edge – some of the best photos I’ve seen – wish it was me, I ran the sneak, gotta do the boof next time! Crystal was awesome and we even had some in the group run Magilla – the Gorilla of the north.
S ure, there’s something to be said for creeking in a shorty, but come October I’m ready for changing leaves, wiping snow off the boats and some good old north country huckin’!