On the Waterfront
by Elizabeth Folwell
There’s been a lot of buzz about water levels on the Hudson and other Adirondack rivers. Recent rain, snow, sleet and hail have helped pump up shallow streams. Conditions for kayakers, canoeists and fisher folk venturing out in May will depend on spring precipitation, not snowmelt. If you don’t like Adirondack weather, wait a minute, as the saying goes.
To help you get in the mood for serious water sport, Lake Placid Center for the Arts is screening a wild assortment of paddling films on Friday, April 27. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and tickets are $15, with proceeds benefitting the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, which links Old Forge, New York, with Fort Kent, Maine. The Reel Paddling Film Fest ranges from extreme whitewater to tranquil tripping all across the globe.
Biking, hiking, even free rafting are all part of North Creek’s Adirondack Adventure Festival on May 4–6. Students from SUNY Adirondack’s adventure sports program will lead 20- and 50-mile road bike tours; there’s live music, fly-fishing demonstrations, nature up close (like releasing trout into the river) and family activities too.
That Saturday and Sunday, May 5–6, mark the 55th annual Hudson River Whitewater Derby, which began with about two dozen boats heading down an eight-mile course. The most famous competitor was Senator Robert Kennedy in the 1960s. Now the event includes a day of upstream, downstream and reverse slalom gates that require quick reflexes and keen eyes to spot the best line for negotiating the rapids. Spectators can pick a perch along Route 28 in North River to catch the action. Sunday’s race isn’t as exciting to watch since it covers a lot of territory, launching in North Creek and ending at Riparius. But for paddlers who want to stroke Class II water, this year could be somewhere between serene and scratchy. You’ll need to register in advance using the derby’s website.
The Moose River at Old Forge is the setting for Mountainman Outdoor Supply’s annual Paddlefest on May 18–20. This is more than a chance to gawk at the latest shiny cat toys, boats and accessories; you can try before you buy and even take a class to hone winter-dulled skills. Along with waterfront action there is music, food and the paddlers’ photo contest. If you visit this event, look for the Adirondack Life booth with ad sales director Jo’el Kramer.
The West Branch of the Ausable River, world-famous trout water, hosts the Ausable River Two-Fly Challenge May 18–19 in Wilmington. The fishing begins on Friday, segues into a friendly gathering of anglers and continues on Saturday with more casting on the catch-and-release stream known for feisty brookies and trophy browns.