By Crede Calhoun
25 years ago the Russell Fork, on the Virginia-Kentucky border, was a rough and tumble river-running adventure where the only entertainment other than V+ rapids and nasty undercuts was the Snake Pit by the motel and pondering the river’s amusing ability to sort trash in the eddies. There was the shoe eddy, the oil can eddy, the bleach bottle eddy and eddies that can’t be cataloged in mixed company. Learning the ropes and the rubber from Upper Yough ‘Big Dogs’ Roger Zbel, Phil Coleman and Jeff Snyder (pictured) was an honor, but I always had to live with a grain of salt in my polypro to keep from getting in way over my head. On some weekends Precision Rafting in Friendsville, Maryland, rafted the same guests on Friday on the Upper Yough, Saturday on a 25-mile Gauley Express and Sunday on The Russell Doggy — six and a half hours from Friendsville. The road tripping and partying was almost as dangerous as the river running but certainly not as fun.
Jeff has saved a few lives on the Russell Fork and swam mega-rapid El’ Horrendo because it was there. On this fine crisp October morning he was doing what he usually does which is stay busy while the rest of us loafed. The overhead angle afforded by the bridge was perfect to catch the early morning light, his blasting and his peaceful salute.
–See more photography by Crede Calhoun here.