Sun. Oct. 19, 2008 – Upper Russell Fork

12192After a cold night at the Campground (Breaks Interstate Park) and breakfast at the park lodge,  I was down to the “Garden Hole” takeout to meet Jason B. and others from SW Va. for another run at the Upper Russell Fork except today I was doing a demo boat run.   Once all arrived our group of 9 paddlers included,   Jason B. k-1, Chuck R. k-1, Gene C. k-1, John A. k-1, Terri A. k-1, Brandon D. k-1, Micheal B. k-1, Dan P. oc-1, and myself-Paddlin-ed in k-1.  After making quick work of our shuttle and dressing out,  we where off on the river putting in at the Flannigan Dam Release pool on the Pound River.12013

Along the 2 miles or so of the Pound River down to the confluence with the Russell Fork,  our group spent time at some of the nice play waves and holes along this section.  Myself I was working on getting use to the feel of the Scud demo boat I giving a try.   Down past the confluence on the Russell Fork we dropped the tongue down the rock outcrop in the dam at Bartlett.  Below there we all worked the play waves and hydraulic lines for some surfing fun. (more…)

Upper Russell Fork – Saturday Oct 18, 2008

11851October for paddlers in the SE is Russell Fork release season.  For four weeks each October the Flannigan Reservoir on the Pound river releases to drop to winter levels for flood control.  Put in for the upper Russell Fork is at the release pool on the Pound which after a mile or two flows into the actual Russell Fork river at Bartlet Va. and combines with the natural flow to provide around 700+cfs of flow for three weekends, and then 1000+cfs for the fourth weekend.   Paddlers can choose the upper, which begins on the Pound below the dam to the confluence with the Russell Fork proper and then down to the upper takeout at “The Garden Hole”. 

This is an absolutely beautiful fall run,  with magnificent fall foliage set along the river flowing through mountains along the Va. and Kentucky border, along spectacular cliffs and rock formations.  The upper section of the run is 1-2 with some nice surf spots.  The 2nd half just a little ways below Bartlet is 2-3+ with some very nice technical rapids down through a gorge area that is both fun whitewater and spectacular for its scenery. (more…)

Wilson Creek Gorge – Sat. 9/28/08

394Saturday 9/28/08 arrived with rains over the last day and a half or so, spun off from remnants of hurricanes.  By early morning the Wilson gauge was on the move up, and the rain gauges indicated more was about to come down the watershed.  Eddie C. k-1, Gary M. k-1, Darron P. k-1 and myself, Paddlin-ed in k-1 all showed up to run this wonderful creek run and we where not disappointed, but delighted with a initial level between +1 and 0″.  At this level there plenty of flow.  The day was a bit cloudy with occasional showers and temps in the high 60’s to low 70’s.  Water was clear and clean and cool but not cold.

Eddie and Gary had already gotten in one run when Darron and I arrived.  Darron was doing a demo run on a Blisstick-Scud.  We quickly loaded up with Eddie and Gary and headed to the put in.  It was great to be back on Wilson Creek and the level was really nice.  At this level the boulder clog entrance to 10′ falls is a bit friendlier which I find one of the stickiest places to get through.  This level lets you make the move around the rock at the top and hit a slot a little left of the very tight slot you have to run at lower levels, which is tough to swing into  in a big creek boat.  (more…)

Upper Gauley 9/20/08

11644After a warm up of the Lower  Gauley on Friday,  I was looking forward to getting a run in on the Upper Gauley, and was joined by Darron P. k-1,  Gif. G. c-1, Joey k-1, Justin in k-1 and a buddie of his in k-1, plus Stuart S. k-1.  Stuart was nice enough to lead our group.  While several of us had done the river a couple of times previously,  we where glad to have Stuart along who knew the river well.  On this run there are places in certain rapids you do not want to be  and having someone along with enough runs to know where these places are is a healthy thing.

Once gear was dropped and shuttle done we where off downstream with sunny blue skies, temps into the mid 70’s, and a flow of 2,800cfs.  Warm up here mostly consists of running the first half mile plus, working the current, and smaller rapids down to “Initiation”, which is one  of those places you want to know where not to be.  This rapid has a serious pinning spot on river right and is easily avoided by running the left side of the drop, the key here is to know when your above it and need to move to left.  Stuart made sure we all knew “Initiation” was below up and lead our group well left of the hazard. (more…)