The Vermont Paddlers Club

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Spring Moose

Saturday-Sunday May 26-27, 2018
Kayak: Mike, Tom, others
Organizer: Nobody
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium low
Author: Mike M

For the first time in a few years I actually had memorial day weekend clear to paddle, but didn’t really make any plans.  I sorta wanted a big Quebec weekend or something that like, but hadn’t the time to get a plan together. Still, a warm weekend on the Moose in New York seemed like an easy, fun and logistically simple option and as it turned out Tom was on board as well.  I have to admit that while the Moose is not the most exotic or sought-after run, it’s still a pretty good deal… you can camp by the river, run fun, mostly-friendly class IV/V and the pool-drop nature of the run makes it a great social river, especially with the level in the low- to mid-3’s.


On Saturday we had a large but competent group and had a routine run down to Agers.  Some folks went for the hard lines, some didn’t, but everyone was a having a fun, relaxing day.


Things took a decided turn at Sure-Form, when one member of our group, Molly, flipped at the top and washed out the bottom semi-conscious and unable to exit her boat.  I didn’t quite realize what had happened, but fortunately Justin and Jeff picked up on the problem faster than I did and 4 or 5 of us managed to get her out of the current and somewhat stable on a rock, while a few others corralled gear and Greg took off to call 911.  The next big stroke of luck came when a friend of ours, Olivia, who is an ER doc came down with the group behind us, and with her direction we moved Molly to a better position where she regained full consciousness and a little bit of feeling in her extremities. Once the Lyons Falls Fire Department arrived, 20+ firefighters and paddlers carried Molly across the runout of Sure-Form to the back of a pickup truck and thence to an ambulance.


This was a sobering event for a rapid that, while notorious for bloodying knuckles and smashing elbows has never really been viewed as truly hazardous.  To some degree, I think many of us have become indifferent to the shallow-but-not-shallow-enough nature of so many rivers in the northeast and the significant, but unobvious hazard that produces.


As a side note, the ultimate diagnosis was 2 or 3 broken vertebrae, a painstaking but nearly complete recovery and what everyone hopes will ultimately be a strong return to paddling.


Sunday went a bit better, with no real issues.  It was warm enough to paddle in a t-shirt. The best part of the day was when the entire group ran the alpine line at crystal.  In fact, sitting at the bottom watching 10 friends fire it off cleanly was one of the best parts of the season.


Paddling is always about taking the good with the bad and dealing with what the river throws at you.  Be well, be wise, beware, because.


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