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One step ahead at Moosefest

Saturday-Sunday Oct 17-18, 2015
Kayak: Lots of people
Organizer: Fulton Lakes
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium
Gauge (ft): 3.5
Author: Mike M

One of the great things about the Moose is that you can make it as tough or easy as you want.  If you're looking for a fairly mellow, class IV- sort of day, you can scout and run sneak routes and maybe carry a few rapids, and still get plenty of quality boating in.  If you're looking for class V, you can run the hard lines or go for obscure moves.  Because of this, it's a great run for a mixed-ability group.


We had a big group on Saturday.  The normal folks were there, but I was also pleased to see many folks who hadn't been here before, some of whom might consider the run something of a step up.  The weather was chilly, but we otherwise had a great, relaxing run.  The level was just about perfect - somewhere between 3.5 and 4.0, and there wasn't a whole lot of real carnage.  With the exception of a few minor incidents, everyone had good lines.  A few of us even went back up for a second lap on the second half.


Typically, a Saturday evening at Moosefest is spent camping near the put-in, participating in various shenanigans.  Everyone but myself decided to head for the party Old Forge, meaning that I spent the evening drinking freezing Mountain Brew in the dark.  Jordan, much to my chagrin, on the other hand, won a brand new Sweet Protection drysuit in Old Forge.


The good news was Sunday morning was sunny and the temperature warmed up a bit. We cruised down to the first rapid, Fowlersville Falls, and a few of us ran it down the normal line on the left, sliding around the middle hole.  There's a middle line, which is a tough ferry across the top, above the horrifying maw of that awful middle recirculation.  I've never even really looked at it seriously.  Anyways, a few of us were on a bit of schedule and decided to keep cruising downstream.  Just as I was leaving, I took one last look upstream to see Jordan and Ben scouting the middle line.


This caused me great distress.  How could I let Jordan out-do me like that?  Running a line I had never even seriously considered?  Jordan, a homeowner, devoted husband, collegiate basketball player, respected teacher, active member of the community, accomplished sportsman, responsible driver, soon to be father and my New Haven Race nemesis was going to resoundingly prove that he is a better paddler than myself.  I felt as though I was on the brink of an abyss even Mountain Brew could not fill.  I mean, for God's sake, the guy even has a rock on the New Haven named after him.


But it was not to be.  I was not going to let Jordan Vickers steal kayaking from me.  It was too late for Fowlersville, but I would step it up too.  Heading downstream, I went for every boof, ferry or surf I could.  I caught the tricky and nearly non-existing hero eddy in Funnel, routed the left line at Sureform blind and then sent the Alpine Line at Crystal.  


The last rapid is Magilla, which has two lines, the easier (but still fun) right line, and the more intimidating one on the left, which I had scouted many, many times, but never run, until today.  Mostly by chance, I had a great line.  At the take-out, I was so elated I almost forgot why I ran it.  All those times I scouted it and walked away, even after watching less experienced boaters run it and be fine!  Done!  Checked off the list!  Heck yeah!


20 minutes later the rest of the group showed up.  As it turned out everyone had enjoyed another nice mellow day and hadn't really looked at anything but the normal lines in most rapids.  So I guess I'm safe for another year, and conveniently I actually had to do some real kayaking for a change.  We even went up for a second lap, where Ben pinned at the brink of Magilla after making fun of me for running it only at a lowish level... but that was pretty harmless and he claims he was laughing the whole time.  


Like I said, you can make the Moose into any kind of day you want.

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