By Alan Panebaker
Rain pounded the Northeast during the second week of May, bringing much-needed flows to the dry region. No one had been paddling as much as we had hoped this season. The idea of going to Spring Moosefest (sort of a toned-down version of the fall event) at higher water in a brand new boat, kind of gave me chills.
I rolled up to the park the folks in Lyons Falls set aside for the spring event and hopped in the Fluid Bazooka for a test run down the classic Bottom Moose in New York. It was my third year coming to the somewhat unofficial spring event. It's always a lot less crowded than the fall Moosefest.
The gauge read more than five feet earlier in the week—kind of a stout level for the Bottom Moose. But when we dropped into Fowlersville, the first big slide on the run, it became pretty apparent it was all good.
My friend Scott Martin and I spent two sunny, warm days shooting and filming on the Moose, taking our time with friends and catching up with our New York buddies Todd and Dustin Caza.
Everyone knows about the fall Moosefest, but the spring event still flies under the radar.
A community group called Lyons Falls ALIVE clears out the town park for camping and serves a spaghetti dinner to support the local community. The sunny weather and mellow crowd even make it a good family event. And there's no shortage of Class V camaraderie.
The Moose delivers big hits and challenging lines if you want, but it's also a place to step it up for Class IV paddlers. The local power company guaranteed releases on the bottom stretch (with the classic rapids like Crystal and Magilla) three Sundays in April, and every weekend in May for 2012. The top half of the run (with Fowlersville and other rapids) runs on natural flow all the time.
If you haven't been up for a weekend on the Moose with warm weather and green foliage, it might just be time to try it.