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Upper Russell Fork with Kirk Eddlemon

October 17, 2015

Hi everyone!
As my family and I do every year, we will be going up to the Russell Fork Gorge this October, specifically the 17th-18th. It’s a bit of a drive, but the Russell Fork and Breaks Interstate Park are easily one of the most impressive destinations in the south, particularly during the fall colors extravaganza that time of year.
If you’ve yet to experience the Upper section of the Russell Fork, and are looking to see a new place, I will be leading a free trip down the Upper on October 17th, where I’ll be happy to show some lines and break down a few fun techniques at select spots on the run.
Considerations: Group size on any club trip is a major concern. I’d like for the trip to be safe, uncongested, and welcoming to new Russell Fork paddlers. If we get over 6 people or so, I’d like to at that point bring in a safety boater/competent Russell Fork paddler for every extra 3 people.
Difficulty: The Upper Russell Fork is a Class III run where a consistent combat roll will make the day better for the entire group. Though railroad tracks parallel some of the run, it is remote and in a canyon, and it often is cold and rainy on the trip. Proper winter gear is recommended in this case.
The river has sandstone geology, with several congested boulder gardens where proper line selection and decent boat control are important. Most is boat-scoutable though we’ll probably look at two rapids. Bring proper gear, rescue gear, rope, food, water, and all you’ll need for this half-day trip.
This is an unofficial trip – a paddling day with friends, and I’d like to exclusively offer this to Chota members.
Reach out with any questions.
Thanks and have a great week!
Kirk Eddlemon


October 17, 2015
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Kirk Eddlemon


Upper Russell Fork
State Route 611
Haysi, VVA, 24256 United States
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Basic Safety Information

All participants in Chota Canoe Club trips do so as common adventurers. The club or its individual members may coordinate paddling trips but no one is considered leader of a trip. All participants take the responsibility for making their own decisions including, but not limited to, whether to participate on any particular water body or section, what equipment they use, the routes they may choose to paddle, whether their skill levels and abilities are appropriate for the activity or whether climate and water conditions are appropriate for their participation. In applying for membership to the Chota Canoe Club (Chota), I acknowledge that paddling, like many sports, has inherent dangers which can be minimized through education and experience, but cannot be totally eliminated I hereby, for myself, my heirs, executers, and administrators waive any and all rights and claims for damage I may have against Chota, its officers and representatives for injuries suffered by me in Chota activities.

Safety Information at American Whitewater


The Chota Canoe Club touring group is an opportunity for paddlers of all levels to get out on the water and enjoy recreational touring. Group goals are for paddlers to have fun, be safe and expand their paddling skills and opportunities. Club members plan and participate in a wide range of interesting and fun trip every year that include:

  • Easy river float trips for rec boat on local Blueways and casual paddling trips on local lakes
  • Evening paddles along the Knoxville waterfront
  • “Paddle to the Grill” trips on summer evenings
  • Overnight kayak camping trip to Fontana Lake or some other remote location
  • Advanced trips to Vancouver Island, the coasts of Maine, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and Isle Royale in Lake Superior.

To Schedule a Touring Trip Schedule contact
John “Gunny” Wiser

To Schedule a Touring Trip Schedule contact
Jim Martin

Trip Rules

These trips are scheduled for Chota members, but TVCC & ETWC members are welcome too! To join the club click here!

You must contact the trip coordinator by the Wednesday before the trip if you want to attend.

The trip coordinator has sole discretion when evaluating skill levels for the intended trip, and all trips are water level dependent. Trips may be cancelled or changed due to lack of water or too much water, and the skill level of the group will be considered when choosing sections and appropriate water levels. Appropriate clothing and gear is required. If you are not sure if your gear is adequate, ask the trip coordinator, and please know you will not be permitted to paddle in shorts and a dry top no matter how far you drove to get to the river!!!!

Before you go be sure to:

Become a club member here!
Fill out and turn in a trip release form here!

Join our group and get out on the water in a kayak for fun, exercise, fellowship and adventure.  Canoes are OK too!