You can put in at the mouth of a good sized creek underneath a bridge (Roaring Fork, Dunbar Rd). After a bout a half mile of shoals, you will drop into a beautiful mini-gorge for around 2 miles of Class II/III water. One rapid in this section might require a quick look, when you see the green coal loadout rising above on river right, get out on the left and have a look. Very easy read and run. Cliffs on both sides, lots and lots of rhododendron. It was almost like paddling through a rhododendron forest at times. Very beautiful. This section also gathers wood from time to time and most of it is easily spotted before you get close to it. The surprising thing about this section is there are active rails on both sides of the river, plus a road (Old 23) up high on the right, but you'd never know it from the river.
After about 3 miles, we hit a mile of fairly flat (but moving) water, then it regained a bit of gradient coming into Appalachia. The old stonework on the bridges and retaining walls in Appalachia is pretty incredible, also. You can take out just after running the big drop under the old rail bridge and carry back across to the parking lot behind the carwash. Or continue downstream for the regular run.
Anyway, if you ever find yourself getting skunked on the Guest or Little Stoney, take a gander at the Powell...it's not the gnar, but above 400 or so, it's a sweet float!
Use the Powell River @ Big Stone Gap Gauge for this run. There is also a gauge located on the Powell St bridge, -0- is minimum, equal to 480 cfs on BSG gauge and medium-high is about 18" which is equal to 1250cfs on the BSG gauge.
Permits are not required for this reach.
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