Russell Fork of the Big Sandy River

October 8-9, 2016

(Delane, Joe, Kevin R, John K, Dale S, Justin K, Stephen M, Randy W, Jennifer F, Pete)

Joe arrived at my house mid-afternoon and we arrived at Breaks just before the sun went down.  I setup my tent on trusty old site #102, Joe crashed in his car.  Rain was threatening, but it held off until after we were setup.  Randy, Jennifer, Dale, John, Stephen and I set around our campfire laughing and telling stories.  The next morning we met at the lodge parking lot at 9:30 and due to our low numbers, we had the shuttle set fairly quickly.  Bill H and John VL were at the parking lot as well and joined us for the first part of our trip.  We met Pete and Kevin at the put-in.  Stephen was our only first timer and I think he enjoyed the river.  It was overcast and rained off and on, but the temps were nice and warm.  We all just ran the upper section.  At the takeout a handful of us made the boof slide at Garden Hole.  Jennifer and Randy ate at camp, but the rest of us went into Haysi.  The dinner conversation might have been my favorite part of the trip.  I laughed until I cried multiple times.  We stopped at a lookout on our way back to camp and watched the sunset over Tower.  I left the GoPro and iPhone in Joe's car on Saturday, so no photos for me until we were off the river. 

Pete had to head back and Stephen left early the next morning, but the rest of the crew made a run on Sunday, starting at Bartlick.  Bartlick Dam is always a favorite part of my RF trip.  I had my longest and best ride ever.  Just like last year, the hole had to be entered from player's left, but this year it wanted to settle into more of a side surf at the edge of the low-head dam.  On Sunday Kev joined me and had a nice long ride.  Video here.   Another highlight for me was parking my boat on Mercer's Splat Rock.  I try to do that at least once every trip, but the move often alludes me.  Another memory was flipping in Twenty Stitches.  I was hustling to get to the bottom to take photos before everyone else came through on Sunday.  Instead of taking my normal eddy hopping line, I barreled straight in, flipped and spent a good chunk of the rapid upside down.  Pretty good stuff.

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