Fall Moosefest 2018

The weekend after Columbus day is host one of the best kayaking gatherings out there, Moosefest. A week or two before I was watching the levels and it looked like it would be a nice and mellow level, similar to what I had run it before. However, about Wednesday they got a bunch of rain, and by Friday the Moose was at beefy levels. I sat at work, watching level, looking forward to being in New York, but not the drive there. All the time I was wishing I had realized this was happening on Thursday. Had I, I would have called in sick so I could go paddle some of the runs that were in. The end of work rolled around and when I went to unload the cans of soup I had bought for lunch. Much to my dismay I discovered I had forgot my GoPro and would have to drive home to get it. With the added delay I arrived up at Fowlerville around 1am.

With less sleep than I would have liked I headed into Old Forge to grab some breakfast. I’m a fan of Keyes’ Pancake House, so that was the stop. The food is good and service quick. Then it was off to Mountain Man to chat with everyone I have yet to see, which was basically everyone since I arrived so late. The other goal was to grab some beta on the Independence. It was one of the things I had been watching, and there was still water. After a little I determined there were probably some people there. Managed to get Graham to lead me as he was looking for some redemption and knew some people headed there. So it was off to the Indy.

Independence River

The Indy has been on my watch list since I made my first trip to the Adirondacks for whitewater kayaking last year with Kevin. I was excited to catch it and it definitely delivered. When we put on it was about 485cfs, which ended up being slightly scrapey in some places. The run starts of with a nice stretch of class 3 boogie water. In a couple places a bit more padding would have been desirable. As you continue the rapids slowly build and become more complex. The first bigger one you come to is powerline, a ledge with an about five foot drop. It has an undercut on the left. Next is one where the river divides around some boulders. There’s a nice eddy in the middle where you can boat scout. Eventually you start getting towards the end and come to Fat Lady, a series of slides. Graham and I decided we were running it after taking a quick look. I messed up the entrance drop, but just managed to brace through it and make the line upright. I had decided to run the middle line and entered a bit off. At the bottom the hole grabbed me and I had to work a little to get out. We regrouped at the bottom and headed down to the bridge boof and The Wall.

The first bigger one you come to is powerline, a ledge with an about five foot drop. It has an undercut on the left. Next is one where the river divides around some boulders. There’s a nice eddy in the middle where you can boat scout. Eventually you start getting towards the end and come to Fat Lady, a series of slides. Graham and I decided we were running it after taking a quick look. I messed up the entrance drop, but just managed to brace through it and make the line upright. I had decided to run the middle line and entered a bit off. At the bottom the hole grabbed me and I had to work a little to get out. We regrouped at the bottom and headed down to the bridge boof and The Wall.

Left with one rapid before the takeout we got out to take a look. Stared it down and watched a couple other run it. Lines were not always clean, but all came out unscathed and we decided on our line. I started my run, and dropped in, staying to the left at the top. Once down to the half way point, just above the last drop I started to drive to the right. Unfortunately, I came in too hot and dried out. Got spun around, tried to drive across the flow and turn to punch the hole. Just managed to get all the way across, but didn’t get the boat straightened out. Landed in the pocket hole on the far left and started to get a working. Rode it for a little while and eventually managed to get my boat turned and worked my way out. Now that it was clear, Graham was up. As he entered the final drop, he was too far to the center. He hit a rock hard and got thrown to the right. It didn’t look like a painless ride, but he came through quick.

We finished up with enough time to get back to the Moose to see the race. Went to Crystal to spectate and help out with the finish line. This year’s race had a small turn out, probably due to the higher water. I was now feeling cold and decided to call it a day and changed into drys. Then it was off to Mountain Man for the festivities and to find out who won the Emperor’s Cup.

Lower Moose

Hung out for a little in the morning at Mountain Man, people were moving slowly. Jumped in with Alex on his run down the Lower Moose. I was advised to bring the long boat, and it was definitely the correct move. There’s a lot of pool in between the drops. The scenery is nice, with some color still on the trees. Most of the drops were not too complicated, but they were all good class 3 at least. At Mixmaster I blew my line, slammed into the rock shelf,  and ended up getting sucked back in. I rolled up and got windowshaded hard. But it was enough for me to determine that the boat wasn’t coming out easily. Pulled the freedom cord and got some good downtime. I then had a nice bit of exercise after to warm me back up. Greenboats hold a good deal of water. The theme of the weekend seemed to be not to get too much speed.

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