The section of the Blackburn Fork below Inland Lake is good intro class III creeking with an easily portageable class V rapid that is the first horizon line you will see, a few hundred yards after putting on at House Rd.
The class V is known as Pall Mall falls and consists of a few moves. First is the entrance drop with a left or right option. 10 yards of swift current from here leads quickly to the crux which consists of getting right at the bottom because 80% of the water is going through a sieve on river left. The river right drops 4 feet into a boily slot that ends with a left flare boof into the pool below.
There is plenty of time to get out above Pall Mall to scout and portage on river right, but don't let the horizon line sneak up on you. Be aware that scouting or portaging will have you in someone's backyard. They are boater friendly, but be courteous and let's keep it that way.
Putting in below Pall Mall leaves you with 7-8 drops of class II-III drop-pool, often compared to Town Creek below High Falls. Be cautious with beginners, however, because a sieve exists in the second drop below Pall Mall where the flow exits a pool and the majority of the water goes down the river right side around a pile of boulders. In this pile of boulders in river center, a small slot drops into a sieve filled with logs and sticks that would be bad news for a swimmer (I wouldn't mention it except for being witness to a near-miss here a few years ago). It is a spot you would never get near, or notice if you were in your boat with any degree of control.
The other rapids are easy boat scoutable read and run with good boofs and play in the deep eddy lines.
See also www.alabamawhitewater.com.
To know whether Blackburn is running, you have to know the level of Inland Lake. You can check that here: https://www.bwwb.org/node/150
If Inland Lake shows 100% and elevation greater than or equal to 784.25 feet, then the correlation on this page holds. The gauge listed here is on the section of Blackburn above Inland Lake. However, when Inland Lake is spilling then water into the lake is roughly equal to water out, and therefore the correlation holds. Post a date, time and observed level at the put-in in the comments and I will keep the correlation updated.
This video shows all rapids starting below Pall Mall falls: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMGdNLJmL-U
To be sure Blackburn is running, you HAVE to check the level of Inland Lake by using this link: www.bwwb.org/node/150
If Inland Lake is 100% with an elevation >784 ft, then water is spilling into the lower section and the correlation to the gauge on Upper Blackburn holds. This correlation is based on fairly limited data and may not be entirely accurate, but the mid-range should be reliable.
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