put a lot of water in anything & it can be scary. the gauley at 20K is scary. shit, the lower new at huge water scares me. but is that the true nature of the "run"? i'd say that the true nature of the "run" is judged by the conditions under which most paddlers paddle it most of the time. tumwater is paddled most of the time by class IV or aspiring class V paddlers.
if you want to have a conversation around runs at flood, then have that conversation. but to say "tumwater is the shit & the middle kings isn't", when what you really mean is "tumwater at flood is more intense than the MK at regular flows" is weak.
re barrel springs & tumwater, & the nf, for that matter .. those runs are all roadside. barrel is less than a mile long & practically in a town. the MK & other remote low-volume creeks, at reg. flows, might have easy slides & be less "intense" in terms of being pushed around, but being boxed-in with mandatory unscoutable rapids requires a different (but related) skillset & level of mental fortitude all its own.
in the end it is about fun & feeling good about yourself, whether its slides or big water or flatwater cartwheels .. i take that back .. flatwater cartwheels are never fun. but anyway, there's no need to choose between them if you like it all.
last, i realize i got trolled in my own troll-y thread, by the guy i was trolling. dang! but crapo, i'm onto you. between your 2 screen names, you left a lotta clues.