With low flows and no crew, Ryan thougtht the North Santiam would be a cool run to check out. He hadn’t been out there in a few years and I had yet to see it, so given our options it seemed like a good bet. The run was very continous class II with the occasional III thrown into the mix. According to some guide books, there is a class IV rapid in there but, at the very most and at our flows, this rapid may have scraped by as III+.
The water was freezing and the snow on the river banks (at only about 2300 feet!) confirmed the chilly temperature of the small canyon. Wood was a minor issue with one “must” portage and a few other snags here and there but avoidable. The mandatory portage was a huge tree that stretched all the way across the river. It was massive. There’s a picture of it below. Very obvious and easy to pull over to portage.
Throughout the run there were a lot of fun play waves. Ryan was in his playboat and I was in an empty 12′ Otter with just a rodeo frame so we took advantage of the fun nature of the run. Some good surfs, particularly near the take-out.
The entire length of the run was approximately 10 miles and we covered it in two hours. Enjoy the pictures: