Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River (Greenbrier)
|Stretch:||Potter’s Creek to Highway 73|
|Difficulty:||Class III to IV-|
|Flows:||~1.8 to 3.5+ (Harder over 2.5ish, 2.2 felt lower than optimum). The gauge was on the upstream side of the highway 321 bridge. Doesn't take much rain to get it going.|
|Gradient:||99 fpm average|
|Put-in:||Bridge over Potter’s Creek|
|Take-out:||Parking area next to the last rapid. 2nd parking area up from Highway 73|
|Shuttle:||3.0 miles (8 minutes one-way)|
|Season:||Winter/Spring from rain… Occasionally off of Summer thunderstorms|
I will keep this one brief. The rain was pouring in a big summer thunderstorm. We had originally planned on doing Upper Big Creek, but it was at 4’ and a new wave of rain was hitting. We decided to redirect to Ramsey’s on the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon. We feared that it might be high, and as such thought the backup could be Potter’s Creek right there. Either way, we would continue down through Greenbrier no matter which branch we started on nor how high we were able to start. Arriving at put-in though, we were more than a bit surprised to see that both Potters and Ramsey’s was low… too low. Arg. So, no class V for us this day. Instead we put-in at the end of Potters for the top of Greenbrier and enjoyed the float down to take-out. The run was a great run. But I was certainly a little disappointed at not getting the Plan A or Plan B option for the day.
I thought this run was like a less classic version of the Little. The Little has the sinks and a couple other fun and busy rapids. This run had nonstop action, but was a grade easier overall and didn’t have the standout rapids. It is probably what makes this a perfect class III novice run where the Little is certainly more class IV. Oh well, don’t let my disappointed for the day jade your opinion. It really was a nice class III run with several fun creeky rapids… I just look forward to getting back there and seeing what is upriver!
- Boogie (III- to III). The first mile and change did not have single rapids that stuck out in my mind, but did have non-stop action to keep you busy and paddling.
- The last half mile has the best whitewater… When you get to an island, get ready for the run.
S-turn (III). A really fun straight away that had an S-turning drop at the top.
Ledge (III+). Boogie leads to the top of a ledge that is known for swimming people. Just boof it… which of course not all class III boaters will be able to do.
Ferry (III). I bet this rapid is better with more water. For us we dropped in far left and worked directly far right to avoid a piton rock.
Final Boofs (III-). The final rapid had several nice boofs to hit and led directly to take-out.
Take-out: From Gatlinburg, take US-321 East for 6.0 miles, just before the bridge over the Middle Prong, turn right on Greenbrier Rd. In 0.3 miles, turn right at the second parking area you come to and park. This is just below the last good rapid.
Put-in: Continue up another 2.8 miles to the confluence of Potter’s Creek and the Middle Prong. Put-in here.
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