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Lower Moose River, VT

Saturday Oct 13, 2007
Participants:
Kayak: Mike Baseler Dave Coyne
Organizer: Dave Coyne
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium
Gauge (ft): 6
Gauge (cfs): 450
Author: Mike Baseler

Dave Coyne and I ran the lower moose (East St. Johnsbury- Passumpsic river) at a level of 6 feet on the Victory gauge. The run is about 4 miles, the run starts off with a bang with a big wave train under the first (car bridge) with good surf. Right around the bend is the biggest drop on this section, so scout carefully on river left right after the first bridge. There is a sneak line to the left side of train bridge pillar, but it's a little scrappy at 6'. The main line has a monster hole dead center that spans 80-90% of the river, not a place I would really like to be. Dave says it's a bit more tame at around 5 ft, (min suggested). The line of choice at this level was to start off in the eddy just above the bridge and boof the far left side and skirt the big hole directly under the bridge. The move was intimidating, but luckily no one got munched today.

After the railroad bridge there is about 2 miles of quick class I water until you hit the next section. The next rapid is a series of 3 ledges all about 3-4 feet high. Once you get to the ledges the run picks up and the rapids are close together.

Right around the next bend the river runs directly into the Maple Grove Farm factory and makes a definitive S-turn under another bridge. Once you get behind Maple Grove there is a fun class III, that consists of a big bouncy wave train, run right down the middle, watch for wood on the left side. From there to the next significant drop is pretty straight forward class II+.

Once you go under Rt. 2 again the river makes a definitive sharp left turn. Be careful here. The next drop is a big rocky ledge about 8 feet tall, the biggest single drop on the river. Stay left and scout. A cliff that juts out blocks your vision and if you miss the eddy right behind the rock you are committed to the drop. There is a simple line far left side if you follow the green tongue of water along the left bank. After this there are 2 more little ledges before you hit the confluence of the Passumpsic.

This is a really fun section, I think I would prefer it to the upper section from Victory down. Overall I would rate this as a class II-IV run to be in agreement with the guide book. Once you get down by the mills, past Maple Grove, there was unfortunately a lot of dumping that had been done and the river banks are riddled with tires and metal pieces.

The river runs directly along Rt. 2 the entire way so there's lots of opportunity for road scouting. To get to the take out take Concord Ave. across the bridge. Make a left onto Elm St and park back near the baseball fields. To get to the put in take Rt. 2 east for about 4 miles until you see a gravel pull off just past East St. Johnsubury on the right side of the road. If you want to skip the first big drop and the quick water section you can park and put in at Petty Co. Junction off of Rt. 2.

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