Marsh Fork is considered the Mainstem of the Coal River. Very scenic section, class 2-3+ when low, more class 3-4 at higher water.
We paddled this section Friday May 26, 2017 at 6.99 on the Ashford gauge (2990cfs). It was beefy, big waves, big holes, fairly continuous. The water was into the river banks, most rocks covered. Most all read and run. We did scout three or four spots. I would call this closer to Cl IV/very solid Class III skills needed at this level. A swim would have been long. Not for someone with poor water reading skills, more for the expert kayaker. I would recommend scouting the ' Big Drop'(the 'waterfall'). We walked it. It had multiple chewy looking holes in the approach and a huge horseshoe hole below. There may have been a line down the left but we scouted right. No pool below the drop at this level. The river was definately a fun time. I would advise small groups, however, as eddies were not plentiful but seemed to be all in the " crucial" spots. I would think this level would be blast in a raft due to all the big long wave trains. This was the first time we have run this section. Plenty of big surf waves as well. Worth a look if wanting something different or shorter. Enjoy but keep an eye out for strainers. All seemed easily avoidable. Paul
Would have to agree. Lowest i have been is 4.1 and it wouldnt be much fun any lower. 4.5 is a good time and at 4.8 you can get 10 foot rafts down. Am looking forward to seeing 5-6 feet for the rubber. Have some falls footage i will try to get up soon.
i believe 3.7 on the Ashford guage is too low to run this section... we paddled it at 4.1 and i couldn't imagine running this any lower
Ran this section this spring solo and it was some of the most fun I have ever had on the water. It definitley deserves the class IV rating but it is very forgiving class IV. Strong boaters will never need toget out of their boats. One thing I liked was that there are numerous horizon lines that hide rapids from view but once you are over them lines are straightforward. You get the rush of running rapids semi-blind, but without the consequences. I bank scouted every drop on my first trip down and this would be the safest thing to do because of the possibilty of wood but at lower flows there would probably never be enough force behind the water so as to create a life-threatening pin situation. I ran it at 11.3 and was scraping a bit, I would say 11.6 would be easiest and that at higher flows there would definitley have to be more caution taken. One interesting rapid to note is the one right below the Peachtree Rd bridge. All the water funnels down into a bottleneck and forms a high-energy rooster tail. I got some serious air there. Great fun! Im surprised this section does not see more boater traffic, as its like a VERY forgiving Cranberry. Note: At the time I ran it this run was the hardest I had done, I have since ran the NRG, LG, and UG. The guys I paddle with ran this section and it did not impress them much. I would probably have to agree with them after the harder water that I have seen now, but I would still have to recommend this run if you have never done it.
The Tornado gauge (AW #1444) may also be used. 11.0' Minimum to 14.0 Maximum. The minimum on the ashford ft guage is 4.05
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Typical large wave train at 2990cfs
Rapid somewhere after the 'Big Drop'
Another view of 'The Big Drop' @ 6.99 Ashford
The 'Big Drop' at 6.99@ Ashford
one of the last rapids on this section
eddie above the falls
carson wright running the falls
Troy Fultz on the Marsh Fork
Delbert Carter at the big drop
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