Santiam, Little North (Upper Opal), Oregon, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV-V (for normal flows)|
|LITTLE NORTH SANTIAM RIVER NEAR MEHAMA, OR|
|usgs-14182500||700 - 2000 cfs||IV-V||01h32m||395 cfs (too low)|
This is a more adventurous version of Classic Opal. It has many of the same features as that run, but requires a hike in and has a more serious feel to it, but does not reach a difficulty that requires class V skills. So if you have a good time on the regular run, and are curious as to what's upstream, check it out. It's best to get an early start so you can continue down to Three Pools instead of having to walk out from the Mine. It's worth doing your homework beforehand so you have an idea when to be on the look out for the more serious rapids and know the hazards of each. Mainly the shallow landing zones in Cascadios Los Ninos, the line at the difficult to scout Harvey Wallbanger, the location of Coyle's Boyle and the eddies above it, as well as the safest lines at the two ledges between Coyle's and the Mine at the Classic put in.
Logistics: From Highway 22 mile 23.2 turn onto Little North Santiam Road (this turn is at a flashing light on the west side of the Highway 22 bridge across the North Santiam). Head up this road paralleling the river and at mile 16.9 where the road comes to a Y turn right onto Forest Road 2207. Follow this road down 0.7 mile to 3 Pools which is the take-out. To reach the put-in head back up to the Y and this time take the left fork onto Forest Road 2209. Follow this road to the gate at mile 21.1. From here you will hike in to the Merten Mill historic site (put-in for Upper Opal) or continue on up past Jawbone Flat and above the confluence with Battle Axe Creek. Jawbone Flat is about 3 miles up the trail and the location of the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center which is a great place to spend the night.