Usually by the first of June, I’ve already burned off a couple layers of skin from my shoulders after sun-drenched weekends on the river. You’d think after 35 years I’d have learned better! But there’s something about a warm day on the river after a cold winter and spring that makes you throw caution to the wind and just reveal yourself to the sun!
But not this season. My arms remain a horrible pasty white color. Because as anyone living in the Northeast can attest—May has been a particularly damp month!
But am I complaining? Do you hear me whining? No! Because while the weather has been miserable…the whitewater has been glorious!
I wish I could change this basic truth of whitewater: the wetter the weather—the better the rapids. I wish the facts of the matter were that a river’s excitement increased with warm sun and dry weather. But that just ain’t the way it works.
It is practically a universal truth that higher flows on whitewater rivers increase the intensity of the rapids. The current moves faster, waves grow in size, rocks get covered and develop into hydraulics. Big water means big excitement!
It’s certainly true on the two rivers that ARO rafts in the summer—the Hudson and Black. Both rivers feature guaranteed flows that produce exciting whitewater throughout the summer—courtesy of water releases from upstream dams. But during a wet spring and summer—those levels are augmented by additional flows from the rest of the watershed.
Which brings us back to the aforementioned corollary: big water means big excitement. With both the Hudson and Black flowing at levels higher than typically found at this time of the year—the conditions for whitewater rafting couldn’t be better!
Especially if the rain would stop by the weekend! Need to work on my tan!
The rain this May has created fantastic rafting levels on the Black River. As summer approaches we have our favorite combination High Water and warm weather. Our reservation staff also can offfer you a 20% discount on select days. Call to make a reservation today.
This Spring ARO is again offering a March Madness Special! We are offering a $10/person discount on Sunday raft trips in April and May through the the Hudson River Gorge. In addition we are now including wetsuits on these exciting Spring trips, at no additional charge. That's a total savings of $30/person
If you make your reservation before the end of March your trip is only $74 (can not be combined with other discounts)
The High Peaks of the Adirondacks are still snow covered, which to us looks like future whitewater. We expect great "Adventure Class" rafting on the Hudson this April and May. With our March Madness special, ARO is offering the lowest price of the year for a Hudson River trip every Sunday through the end of May.
Are you in need of a surge of adrenaline?
Do you take pride in overcoming your fears?
Do you consider an occasional swim wearing a wetsuit invigorating?
If your answer to all three is yes, then you are ready for the Hudson or Moose River in April and early May. Outside Magazine rated the Hudson as “One of the ten best spring whitewater trips in the country,” and the Moose is its wilder cousin.
This year the spring run off from the Adirondack High Peaks will be creating waves in the Hudson Gorge that resemble small mountains. While summer trips on the Hudson can provide excitement for the whole family, spring trips have a much higher minimum age, and are not for the faint of heart. We anticipate that there is enough snow in the High peaks to keep the river at “Adventure Class” from early April until the beginning of May.
The Moose is a different type of river with a series of ledges that the river drops over creating not only waves but some aggressive “holes” that you have to help power your raft through. While the Moose has some of the best whitewater guides in the country, they can’t do it alone, you need to be ready and able to paddle through the whitewater. The Moose is best for experienced rafters, and will be running until the end of April.
Most people claim I’m crazy—but in my skewed estimation—the best time of the year to be in Old Forge is in April. Specifically--the three or week season when the ice breaks free on the Moose River and spring rains create favorable flows for whitewater rafting and kayaking.
The Moose was the first New York whitewater river I boated after moving to the state back in 1983 and it remains a sentimental favorite—my home river. Its difficulty varies from an easy class 4 at low water levels up to a solid class 5 at higher flows. It is the most challenging whitewater commercially rafted in the state.
But it isn’t simply the lure of the river that makes April my favorite season to visit Old Forge.
Some people associate the Adirondacks with the verdant green of summer or autumn’s riot of red and gold—but to my taste, the Adirondacks are most stunning in the early spring when the rugged bones of the landscape are revealed. The stark beauty of the mountains is on display.
Sure, the temperatures can be brisk in April. Often you can wake up to an April morning with the sky spitting snow. But just as often you can end the afternoon in brilliant sunshine and you’ve exchanged the sweater and boots for shorts and sandals.
But mainly, I like to hang out in Old Forge on April evenings after a day on the river. Old Forge was built to accommodate the crush of summer tourists but in April, the funky restaurants and bistros scattered throughout the village are populated only with other guides, whitewater enthusiasts and curious locals. It’s a comfortable and convenient time for a night out.
Don’t get me wrong—any place in the Adirondacks is pretty special. And at any time of the year.
Just not quite as good as Old Forge in April.
For rafters who want "big" whitewater, spring begins early in the Adirondack Mountains. While the High Peaks region lies locked in winter's icy grasp, the warming trends of February and March will work on the moisture laden snows of the lower slopes. The softening spring snow begins to dwindle, creating millions of gallons of crystal clear run-off to fuel rafting fever. Tiny rivulets become rushing streams, which in turn feed boiling spring torrents. Surging rivers turn overnight into raging thunderheads, pounding down through the ancient gorges of the Adirondacks. It's rafting paradise for those bold enough to tackle big water, and it is home ground for Adirondack River Outfitters. Inc.
ARO has had springtime operations on the Hudson and Moose, and Black Rivers, two of the best spring rafting rivers in the Northeast since 1981. Each season ARO introduces thousands to the wild exhilaration of rafting big-league whitewater on these two famous rivers. The Hudson and the Moose are the most popular spring trips in the Northeast, and the reasons are clear. As rafters become more experienced and adventuresome they are capitalizing on the bigger-than-life spring whitewater thrills. The accessibility of the Hudson and Moose rivers, combined with their challenge of heavy-duty waves and technical whitewater, make these trips natural choices for serious rafters.
Spring rafting with ARO is not tea with the Queen. It's tough, cold, thrilling, rewarding, unpredictable, and as safe as is possible. This is wilderness adventure class rafting, and this is what ARO does best There are risks involved, but ARO combines 35 years of experience, intense technical and medical training, licensed professional guides, and the best equipment in the world to minimize danger and maximize enjoyment.
ARO has been meeting the springtime challenges of the Hudson and the Moose since 1979, and though the faces and the waves change, the scenario is always the same. ARO is poised with all the essentials: world class boats, safety equipment, paddles, Class V life vests, commercial quality helmets, full wetsuits, veteran guides, and heaps of hot, hearty food. Everybody in the company is eager to get out on the monster waves. That enthusiasm is matched by the anticipation of hundreds of rafters, veterans and newcomers alike, who venture out each week to wrestle the champion whitewater. Together, ARO guides and their teams of paddlers meet the impatient, relentless rivers, climbing and pitching over 10- foot wave trains and plummeting into hungry, churning holes. Whether battling the giant, cresting breakers of the Hudson, or testing the ultimate intensity of the Moose, springtime rafting doesn't get any better than this.
If you are up to the challenge, ARO has an unforgettable experience in store for you. You can do it, and we'll show you how. We stand by our reputation as New York's whitewater pioneers, ensuring you the finest whitewater adventure on and off the river. Beginning in April. ARO will launch a new 8-week spring season in the Adirondacks. We will continue to set the standard for eastern rafting.
For the stout of heart and strong of limb, ARO has its Moose River operations. We offer this high adventure, high intensity trip to accomplished former customers' and other experienced rafters who are ready for the ultimate spring challenge. ARO began on the Moose in 1979 and has been running successful trips there ever since.
The rains have come and gone leaving great water levels on the Black River and summer weather. There is still time to make a reservation for this weekend on the Black River. The rivers is back up to adventure class levels and the weather should be in the 80s.
Whether you are rafting the whitewater of the Black River, near the 1000 Islands, or the Hudson River in the Adirondacks, it is easy to extend your adventure. The 1000 Islands is a paddling paradise with beautiful water, secluded islands to explore, outstanding fishing, and great places to camp. The Adirondacks are the East’s largest wilderness area with 100s of peaks to climb, countless lakes and rivers to paddle, hikes that lead to back country water falls, and literally millions of acres to explore and inspire.
Over the next three weeks the ARO Blog is going to describe a series of vacation itineraries, which will of course include a whitewater raft trip or two. With thirty four years of leadership in outdoor recreation, we are familiar with what Northern New York has to offer, and who can best provide the experience you dream of.
Check our Blog or Facebook for the latest Northern New York outdoor vacation advice.
Q - What is more fun than going on a whitewater rafting trip with ARO?
A- Guiding the raft.
Q- Do I have to pay extra to be the guide?
A - Believe it or not if you are the guide not only don't you have to pay, but you get paid for having all that extra fun.
Q - So how do I get in on the fun?
A - Contact ARO and see if you are qualified to enter our Guide Training Program.
Q - What are the necessary qualifications?
A - Along with the guiding skills which we will help develop, the most important aspect of being a river guide is being a ‘people person’. You have to enjoy being with people, and be sensitive to their concerns and fears, while inpiring them to meet the challenge. The quality of our staff and their ability to relate to our rafting guests is what makes people choose ARO and refer us to their friends.
It’s also important to be a team player. Working at ARO is a group effort, you will be assessed on your willingness to lend a helping hand, and your ability to be maintain a positive atitude and support your team mates.
Please note that completion of our guide training does not guarantee employment. trainees are assessed on their rafting skills and personality. Be genuine, be friendly and be caring.
Q - How much does the training cost?
A - The only cost is your time and efforts. On days when you are joining us for training trips, you will be expected to arrive with the guides and assist in the trip preparations, inflating and transporting rafts, etc.
Q - What are the employment prospects?
A - ARO will be hiring additional guides for the the 2017 season for both our Black River and Hudson River operations.
For most guides it is a labor of love with the added benefit of being paid to guide when needed, plus tips from appreciative guests.
On the Black, the majority of the newly licensed guides that are hired, will work part time. Weekends being the most likely days for work, with some weekday possibilities. Top candidates may be offered additional non-guiding work, to help increase their work days. People with great cooking and BBQ skills, or a CDL to drive a bus, in particular, may have additional opportunities.
On the Hudson, trips are Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday (when the dam releases occur). New guides often get three or four days of guiding per week in July and August. New this year we have an Aerial Ropes and ZiplineCourse and and a Paintball area which will provide additional employment opportunities. We are also developing additional Adirondack activities that may provide.
Q - How long will it take me to become a guide?
After you have passed your state written exam, got certified in first aid, CPR and water safety, and completed your five documented training runs on a river, you can obtain your license. However, that is only the minimum required by New York State. ARO has much more stringent requirements, depending on your background experience, and aptitude for guiding, you will need anywhere from the state mandated six training trips on a river, to twenty or more. Our traners and staff will determine if and when a trainee is ready to guide a group of ARO guests. Many trainees that started with little or no river experience and took longer to develop their skills went on to be outstanding guides.
We are looking for people who love outdoor adventures and enjoy sharing this passion with others. Employment opportunities exist for part time guides from April to October. It is a great summer job for teachers, college students, and people working in the ski industry.
I have to make an awful confession: for me—the best part of a whitewater weekend isn’t the time spent on the river…
Instead—it’s the time after the trip reliving the day’s adventure with friends around a table with dinner and drinks.
Somehow—the rapids always get bigger, the swims more spectacular, and my paddling more heroic from the security of firm ground and in the comfort of dry clothes while enjoying hot food and a cold beverage. Funny how that works!
At ARO, we always end our trip with a barbecue complete with frosty libations. It’s the perfect opportunity to test your trial version of the day’s adventure!
Now, as conscientious guides, we make sure all the beverages provided for the barbecue are exhausted before leaving the party—we don’t want to create work for the cook putting away the extras! But it always seems the barbecue is never long enough to reflect upon all the glories of the day—or to polish up all the details of the stories!
Fortunately, ARO’s rafting bases are centered in areas famous for accommodating outdoor adventure guests. There are plenty of funky bistros and restaurants available for apre-raft celebrations!
Here’s a list of “guide-tested, guide-approved” destinations to provide the perfect conclusion to your day on the river:
(Company disclaimer: the phrase “guide-tested, guide-approved” does not merit the same gravitas as the Michelin Four-Star rating system. “Guide-approved” only confirms the availability of cold beer (usually at reasonable prices), better-than-average bar food, pool and/or dart games, relaxed dress code and an extremely tolerant attitude toward raucous high-jinx).
HUDSON RIVER GORGE: Just a few miles down the road from our Hudson base is the village of North Creek with a cluster of comfortable bistros including the Barking Spider, Bar Vino, Laura’s and Basil and Wicks. You can park the car and pub crawl to most of them. Extend the Après Rafting further by staying at Adirondack River Beds, a Hostel located near our base and run by one of our guides.
MOOSE RIVER: Our Moose River operation is based in Old Forge and the trip barbecue is hosted at the Back Door. Slickers Tavern, Tony Harper’s and the Tow Bar are all a few steps away. Stay at the Adirondack Lodge, our Moose River base, with great rates for our rafting guests.
BLACK RIVER: Maggie’s On The River is just a short stroll through the river-side park from our base in Watertown. Maggie’s features a deck overlooking Hole Brothers rapid and its raft and kayak surfing. For more formal dining, the historic village of Sacket’s Harbor is a 15-minute drive.
If you require additional information regarding prime apre-rafting locations—just ask any of the staff at the base. Or easier still—just follow them at the end of the day!