2009 Santiam River Trip Report
November 21, 2009 at 8:00 AM
By Vance Cordell
On October 24th five rafts, three kayaks, three IKs and twenty-two members of the OWA floated the North Santiam River from Packsaddle County Park to Fisherman’s Bend. We met at Fisherman Bend and then proceeded to Mill City to scout the falls and see first hand the tree that had lodged at the top. The small tree pretty much cut off going over the falls on the left hand side, but plenty of room was available on the right.
The weather was perfect…..plenty of blue sky with temperatures in the low sixties. There had been abundant rain the previous week bringing the water levels up and providing a river that was running an optimum 2,900 cfs. Despite the rain during previous days the water was still reasonably clear and well within the banks of the river.
After successfully navigating Spencer’s Hole and Carnivore Rapids, one of our rafts fell victim to the falls at Mill City. Most of the rafts got over the drop successfully, but then Sherry Ripley fell forward and out of their Puma as they were going over. Then her husband, Bruce, fell in trying to grab Sherry as he went by her. Brenda Bunce blew her whistle and yelled “swimmers”, but before anyone could get to them, Bruce got back into their raft and quickly pulled Sherrie in behind him. No harm done. Both took it with a grin.
Overall it was a wonderful day. The weather and water conditions couldn’t have been better. We had a great group of people, an exceptional float, and even superb pizza on the way home.