Possum Creek, Big, Tennessee, US
|Usual Difficulty||III+(IV) (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||200 fpm|
The put-in longitude and latitude are educated guesses.
The topo maps for the Chattanooga area are not working in the 1:100,000 mode.
To see the maps click on 1:50,000.
Big Possum is a Class-III (IV-) run . It could be a run for someone with strong Class III boat-handling skills with a roll included. If they are looking to start creekin' and have moderate rescue skills, this is a place to go.
The put-in has 2 options; one is to use the Little Possum put-in and remember the gate policy for Little Possum--contact someone who has keys to the gate, and as always, be respectful. Another one is get your topo map out. There is a road off Jones Gap road. It is on private property , but it is a much easier access point. The logging 4x4 road fords Big Possum, and it ties into the same road you use for the Little Possum put-in. If you see this on your map, that's it. The landowners were friendly, but that might have changed; in any event, showing respect will get you far. Christmas hams were always a good bribe, and made excellent conversation starters. We put in on the Little Possum side to see if Little Possum had water, and Big Possum was the "Plan B" run. The Jones Gap put-in would have been easier and less stressful on me and the truck.
The hardest rapid that Justin Howard and I found during our first descent in 1994 was about 3/4
of the way in the run; a Class III+ (IV+ High water) notable rapid appears. You come to long
slidish rapid, which runs into a swirlie pool, with an undercut that makes you notice it. You
have plenty of time, and the scout / walk is a piece of cake. At higher water this would be the
one to pay attention to. All the others are straightforward. The biggest thing are the little
trees that try to fall into the little creek, Big Possum? (I think someone messed up on the
names, or at least from a creeker's point of view the names are backwards.) I do not remember any
traumatic rapids, and I am going by memory. But with that said, it would be a good run for
up-and-coming boaters or a club with Class III+ skills, or even better for someone who likes
fuzzy creekin and not hair. You can always brag you ran "Possum," just forget to
mention Big! If you compare it to the Piney River in Spring City,
Tennessee, the Piney is much harder.
Big Possum will still be running when Little Possum has just dropped out, and it can also go when Little Possum starting to rise and get a little past the usual comfort level. Use the same gauge as Little Possum which was then and is now 1.75 ft for the min.run. But you can always go with the old rule: "If it's got water in it, run it".
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