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Moose Fest 2006

Thursday-Friday Sep 14-15, 2006
Kayak: Anne, John, Jon, Ian, Tony, Rowan, Steve, Martha, The Vermont Crew: Si, Johnny, Chris, Eric, Don, Alex.
Organizer: Cheryl
Difficulty: intermediate WW
Level: medium
Gauge (ft): 3.5
Author: Cheryl

Moose Fest for those who haven't been it isn't about watching Moose Doh!!

No it's the Northeast's most anticipated whitewater festival of the year. What ever your ability there is something for everyone just as long as you can stand the cold.

2006 was my fourth and probably final Moose fest. This year I was determined to paddle the bottom. In my mind I didn't care if I walked everything I just wanted to be on it and see it.

Friday night we arrive, we party, we party some more and we awake to the realization we about to run the Bottom Moose...but first a good hearty breakfast at the Pancake house. Which I rather quickly deposited in a projectile way on the roadside.. was it nerves or night before beer??

We decided to run the first three drops on the lower as warm up. Compared to the previous year the lower was a walk in the park. So we were ready!!

We decided as group it would be best to run to Agers a halfway point on the Bottom Moose. (At this point, due to a very inaccurate Map we thought we would only have to run Fowlersville, Double drop and Agers..easy)

We scouted Fowlersville before putting on, I almost swear I could hear drums pounding...oops sorry no that was our hearts in our mouths pounding.

At the top of Fowlersville I don't think I have ever been so focused and nervous in the same instance, I just wanted it over with. I watched eagerly as my companions went one by one down the foamy white mass in to oblivion. From the top you can't even tell if they have made it down okay...except the one nice spectator who puts their thumb up to acknowledge your next... I tried to ignore it was my go, but I couldn't wait to go either.

I set up, I knew the line and aimed towards the rock at the top. I probably aimed a little too well, when suddenly it sent me spinning backwards...Arghh. I don't think I have paddled so hard in my life to escape the clutches of fowlersville. I was now in a eddy at the top left of fowlersville not a good place to be...but I made the line down to a roar of cheers. The adrenaline rush was I was set for the rest of the run.

So back to our very inaccurate Map and we came upon a gnarly looking constriction, we now know as Funnel. While scouting it, we watched some Hair boaters run it. We thought their line looked good so tried it ourselves... mmm not a good idea. While no one really had a bad line, no one really had a good line. Mine and Anne's certainly weren't...upside down!! My new boat, first time out now had scratches on the TOP!! and a torn grab loop!! I am pleased I rolled in such a gnarly place, Sadly Anne didn't have the same luck and we proceed to collect the pieces!! Well every river needs a sacrifice to the gods.

So next Double Drop yeah!! No!! Knifes Edge came upon us... even to scout it is grade V. Thankfully a group of rafters pointed out a really fun sneak. Which as sneaks go isn't that easy.. It showed how hard it was when poor Jon got flipped in the curler got thrown against the rock. His boat decided it had enough and ejected him.

So next Double Drop yes!! At last we got the drop we hoped for. Let me tell you, this is the one drop I have watched from the road for years. It is much bigger when you're up close!! This drop can be almost run anywhere. Our choice was to run the hole and boof off a 5ft ledge.

Next Agers, the crème de la crème. This has to be the easiest waterfall to run, what doesn't make it that easy is the class IV run out.

We scout at the top. I have a cool picture of us all talking about the lines. I was overjoyed to see Simon and a few friends watching eagerly from the bank. Hopefully there to cheer us on.

I love the feeling going off a waterfall, the freefall the weightlessness. I can feel the smile radiate my whole body. It doesn't matter how many times I run them it always gives me a sense of achievement. Even more so this day as I knew I had just run the majority of the bottom Moose.

Saturday we had a fantastic group dinner at the Steakhouse, it gives us all chance to wind down, eat good food and talk about Sunday's paddling. At dinner we looked out the window to see snow falling and settling outside. We laughed...a Moose fest isn't Moose fest without snow. We made a toast as always to the "River Gods, thankful for another awesome day of paddling"

Sunday we meet for another hearty breakfast... I didn't drink beer Saturday night so I kept it today.. I needed the energy. I had already decided no matter what the group were doing I was doing the full bottom.

At the put in the group was divided, park and huck, lower, bottom to Agers, Full Bottom. Hot Tub. In the end Anne and I paddled the whole bottom with John joining us at Agers. The rest of the group ran to Agers or were a spectator for the day.

So Anne and I joined up with the Vermont Boys, Si, Johnny, Chris, Eric and a few others. To say the least it was going to be intimidating. They had pre warned us we would not be allowed to scout anything we had already run...scary!!

So while at the top of Fowlersville Anne and I waited for the guys to arrive...(they put on from a different location). I decided I could no longer wait. The longer I sat at the top the more I unfocused I became. So I went. I nailed the line perfectly and went hurtling at a 100mph down the slide. Again to cheers from fellow boaters. It felt so good to be rewarded with such a cheer. On the moose I am most definitely the novice!!

The guys paddled at top speed and it was difficult to keep up. It was awesome to watch them run the boof line at knifes edge... One day I will be like that!!

After Agers comes Sureform... Despite seeing the line and knowing I could probably pull it off. For John, Anne and Me just to see it was time I am running it, the portage sucks..

Next came Power line, I didn't trust the guys enough to just tell me the line so we scouted. It was narrowing of the river with two rather quirky powerful holes. The line was pretty easy and I made it through very nicely. John I heard had a close call at the top but pulled it back. Poor Anne, the hole munched her for breakfast and unfortunately ran it upside down... I think everyone cringed in the eddy.. it is quite shallow in there. We picked up the pieces and went on to the biggie.

Crystal. There was no way in hell John, Anne and I were running it. John and I got out, looked around and noticed a really nice sneak to the right. Nothing too complicated and it would allow us to get to the island at Crystal. From there we could admire the hair boaters running gnarl.

To stand on that Island was amazing. Seeing up close and personal the beauty of crystal is awe inspiring. It was more amazing how easy people made it look...maybe next time.

I tried to avoid Willie Kern who was trying convince me there was a easy line ...nope I didn't see it.

This weekend was one of my best weekends paddling, my friends were amazing, the paddling was fantastic. But I didn't see any Moose.

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