Labor Day weekend marks the beginning of the Fall boating season in New England. There's boating all summer, but as the leaves start to change and 'peeping' season begins in earnest, the rain starts to actually bring rivers up for more than a few hours at a time. I've been to the Labor Day Beaver/Raquette releases for a few years now, and they're always a blast. This year, we rallied up Friday night straight to Colton. After a healthy breakfast at the local diner, we spent all day lapping the Raquette, the Northeast's summertime classic.
Me, boofing the flake on Colton...it hurts a bit, but it's just so fun. Photo Brian Seitz.
Some of the spring flooding changed Colton Falls a bit, making it a slightly harder rapid (the eddy in the middle is more challenging to catch than it used to be), but no worries, you can surf out of the hole at the bottom of the slide.
After 4 (or 6, for some of us) laps, we headed over to The Finish Line, a bar (the bar) in Colton that had a sign out front reading, “Welcome Kayakers.” They'd put together a great pulled-pork buffet for about $7/person, the town really supports kayakers on the river and is doing their best to be friendly – I hope everyone who goes up there for summer releases next year spends some time/money in town. On Saturday, we rallied down to the Moshier section of the Beaver. I wasn't feeling the put-in slide this year, but Christian, Tripp, Morgan, and James all were.
Lines were mostly good and everyone was stoked to be at the bottom. The rest of the Moshier section is basically fun class IV. Two waterfalls, a lot of flatwater, some class III, and a really fun continuous rapid at the takeout called Moshier Falls. This is always a circus on Labor Day Sunday – people getting worked everywhere, about 50-100 folks on shore either watching, scouting, portaging, or hiking back up to run it again. I ran six laps on the first waterfall of the run and five on Moshier Falls...they're great rapids.
Afterwards, we headed over to the Eagle section where I snapped a few photos.
Geoff Calhoun handpaddling his Nomad into drop #3 on the Eagle.
Anyway, looking forward to a great paddling fall in New England (not that Summer wasn't good). I've been out a bit since Irene – a lot of the classics have changed dramatically, and most good rivers are still suffering from “You can't get there from here” issues. Roads are slowly reopening though, and I'm excited to paddle our 'new' old rivers. I already ran the Big Branch last week – no pictures, as I was in a rush to get off the river and get back to work quickly – it's completely different. An entirely new river. Still awesome though. I'll check back later this fall with some pictures of the new rivers up here.