A fantastic alternate high water put-in for the Locust Fork. It opens up with a slide, a 15' waterfall, a pool, then a long, fast, easy slide. The rest of the way is a class II/III narrow creek. The surfing on the Locust at 5-7' (Locust gage) or higher is worth it alone. Be not intimidated by the waterfall and slide, you can always put in below them. As of 11/2001, this creek was rendered almost logless by Huntsville Canoe Club members.
A few years ago, there was a USGS gage on Graves but the elctronic portion is gone. They did leave the feet gage on the bridge. You can get a decent idea what Graves is up to by looking at Blue Springs. It is close by and has a similar size watershed. This run defines 3 chickens or more in water quality. The Blountsville Tyson chicken processing plant is a major watershed citizen, and no part is spared. This one can make you sick if you flip, it is mighty stinky.
Mark Hawkins has a few words for us:
A less experienced boater (who's name I will not reveal) almost drownded Thursday 1/24/02 at Graves Creek at the bottom of the falls. He claimed to have a bomb proof roll and was very eager and confident. The level on the bridge gauge was just over 6 feet and rising. Three of us ran the falls with no real problems, but the hole was very sticky and the boil line was much longer than first apeared from the river left bank. I will call the swimmer "Bob" for obvious reasons. Bob penciled in and got hammered by the curtain. He washed out into the calm boil and missed his role twice then pulled out. His boat washed into the river right eddy but "Bob" dissapeared only to pop up about 7-8 feet downstream of the curtain. He then was sucked back into the hole and disapeared again for about 25 seconds. We realized we had a potential situation on our hands so I hit the bank to throw him a line while the other two stayed in their boats to perform a boat rescue to prevent him from smimming the slide. "Bob" washed out just as I got set up and Bobby and Wade got him into the eddy safely.
I do not write this to scare anyone at all. I write it to inform less experienced boaters. At 6 feet there is a bad hole with a mean boil line. "Bob" said he learned a valuable lesson and respect for the water. Respect the water be safe and have fun.
This has been run twice by myself, once with Mary, Gary Holder, and Chris Parker, and again recently with Dave Curry and Jim Dowdy. The first time was below low but the second was tolerably low at 4.7’ on the put-in gage (85 cfs?) and 5’ and steady on the Locust. Graves flows from Tysons chicken plant into the Locust a bit upstream of the wagon wheel put-in.
The first run was so low it is too painful to describe. The second was OK. Jim and I ran the 15’ waterfall at the put-in. Jim actually had a nice line while mine was upright yet Branhamian in angle. Immediately thereafter, a long slide delivers you into a pool. The run drops about 140’ over 1.5 miles, and is tight but never over class III. Several logs have to be dealt with and really need to feel the chainsaw this summer. One pretty neat 360 hole is found just upstream of a rather large undercut rock. At 5’ on the Locust, the section down to the 231 bridge has 4-5 sweet front surfing waves. If you happen to be in the Locust area at high water and like to get tight, check it out. It is pretty easy class II/III stuff if you walk the first two rapids, which is not hard to do. One caution, though, this creek features more chicken content than most Campbells products.