Pacific Northwest Mystery Worlds 2016

Saturday July 16, 2016



The World Mystery Move Championship event is coming back to the Pacific Northwest!  The PNW crew is stoked to be hosting this prestigious event again, and look forward to seeing zombies from all over the world visit and experience all that the PNW has to offer!

This year’s downtime event will be held on Saturday, July 16, 2016.  Based on current water levels and logistical ease, the Weasel will be our base camp and primary downtime venue.  The Gemini is about thirty minutes from the Weasel, and if we’re lucky, it could come in with a moderate rain or if dam operators make level adjustments in our favor.  Twin Springs is several hours east on the Deschutes River and Big Rocks on the Sandy River is 20 minutes from the PDX airport.  Both are great and will be in. If we have a complete weather blow-out and flows are high everywhere else, then the Buffet is another top shelf spot on the Washougal River in WA that is in during rainy periods.  Rumor has it that there may be a few “secret” spots in the works, but we’ll see how that all shakes out.  As of July 1, there is a good chance of rain the weekend before, but otherwise the forecast is dry and warm for Worlds Week. 

Bottom Line:  The weather will be sweet, and the Weasel, Twin Springs, & Big Rocks will be primo.  We’ll update the Facebook group on weather and levels as we get closer to the gathering.

The Spots

The Weasel: Most folks are already familiar with the Weasel, as it was the site of the 2011 Mystery Worlds.  Discovered by Scott Weaver and Joel Meadows in late 2007, the Weasel has remained consistently good since the last Worlds, offering up back to back 20+ second mystery spots created by a small island in the North Santiam River.  This year’s version of the Weasel has a smaller rock island, but both spots seem to be as good or better than in previous years. There will be epic downtime available by linking the upper and lower spots into one mega-mystery, and the lower spot alone offers nearly limitless downtime for those with big lungs. Both spots work great spinning left or right.  There is a great first-come-first-served campground on site in North Santiam State Park, and logistics for the Weasel are very simple.  Flows are dam controlled and very predictable, and July is usually the best time for getting the most out of both spots. 

Gage – Generally, anything below 2000cfs on the North Santiam at Niagara is great, and Niagara is the primary gage for the Weasel.  For a more accurate flow, the best method is to subtract the Little North Santiam from the North Santiam at Mehama, and the flow will be somewhere between that number and the flow at Niagara. For example, if Mehama is 2000cfs, the Little North is 400cfs and Niagara is 1200cfs, then the Weasel is roughly 1400cfs.

North Santiam at Niagara:

North Santiam at Mehama:

Little North Santiam (Opal Creek):


The Gemini was first discovered in 2014­­­­­ by Emile Elliot and has quickly become a premier spot in the PNW.  The Gemini has been changing significantly year to year and the flow range for being “in” changes each year, but the quality (so far) has remained intact.  In 2016, the best flows have been 3000-4000+cfs on the Santiam at Jefferson gage.  This spot offers it all:  easy entry with any charc imaginable, and deep controlled smooth mystery moves that allows the rider to go as big or tame as they desire.  Downtime can easily exceed 40+ seconds.  The Gemini is reasonably accessible as access to the spot is directly off of I-5 at a large rest area just south of Salem, OR.  The spot itself is about a half mile downriver from the rest area.  Camping at the spot is possible, however the nearest facilities are upstream at the rest area.   We really hope the Gemini will be in at some point while everyone is in the area, and it’s probably worth a look at lower water either way.

Gage - Santiam at Jefferson – based on 2016 sessions, we are looking for 3000-4000+cfs:



Twin Springs is an amazing powerful spot on the Deschutes River in the high desert of Oregon.  Discovered by Scott Weaver in 2008, we’ve been tentatively probing Twin Springs over the last eight years, but only in the last two or three years have we really tried to max out the spot and get to know its ways.  Any conceivable charc can be used to get massive “life-jacket” mysteries with limitless breath holding potential.  The seam itself is at least 30 feet long and multiple rides can go at one time.  Giant mysteries are possible for those daring enough to hang on for the oblivion charc.  The spot is road side, however fees, parking, and a heavy police presence present some difficulties with logistics.  All boaters on the Deschutes must have a “boaterpass” permit for each day on the river.  Luckily these can be purchased online or in Maupin, the nearest town.  The pull off at Twin Springs can hold 3-4 vehicles at most, so some coordination will be necessary to accommodate a large group.  “Hang out” spots when not on the water are also limited at Twin Springs, as it is very rocky with quite a bit of poison oak.  Finally, the area is heavily patrolled by BLM rangers and they will 100% be checking in if a large group is on the river.  They are very aware of PFDs and will ticket PFD-less boaters.  We’ve explained to them in the past about mystery moves and the “competition watercraft” laws exempting us from PFDs.  We’ll have that law printed and ready to display, but having a life jacket at least somewhere around might be a good idea.

Gage – Deschutes at Moody – below 5000 and we’re good:,00060

Boater pass –  Go to to purchase a daily boater pass.  Passes are $2.00/weekday and $6.00/weekend.  Twin Springs is in Segment 3 so choose Buckhollow to Pine Tree for your put-in/takeout.  Cell phones do not work at Twin Springs, so if your boater pass is on your phone be sure to take a screenshot before you lose your signal.  The rangers seem to prefer to look at a printed boater pass.


The Buffet is another smaller but powered up mystery spot discovered many years ago by Tim Hollar.  The Buffet is on the Washougal River just upstream of the confluence with the Columbia River in the town of Washougal, WA.  The Buffet is a bit trickier to master than the other spots, but it offers up amazing, deep, clear-water mysteries with 30-second potential.  It is almost exclusively a lefty spinning spot, but multiple charcs will work, and recently some righties have had success.  The Buffet will only flow in July if we have major rain event.   Regardless, it would make a great emergency backup competition location if we get a big weather event and other spots are blown out.

Gage – Washougal at Hathaway Park – 500-2000cfs optimal:


Big Rocks is on the Sandy River at Troutdale, OR, about fifteen miles east of the PDX airport.  This spot was first probed by Tim Hollar at least 12-14 years ago.  It changed significantly around 2008 after the Marmot Dam was demolished upstream.  It was probed again in the spring of 2014 and we found great downtime at 1400cfs, however tides on the Columbia can rise high enough to inundate the spot and it kept us away for a while.  Most years this is not an issue.  Recent probings in 2016 have been very successful with big deep rides available.  20+ second rides are still there at 600cfs and the Columbia is now low enough that tides are not in play.

Gage – Sandy River below Bull Run - below 2000cfs optimal:

Tides on the Columbia River can affect the spot, but very rarely.  If the Columbia is raging it is worth looking at the tide chart.  Low tide is good:


Downriver Squirt Run

There has been talk of a downriver raft-supported squirt bonanza on the Deschutes at some point earlier in the week of the Worlds.  The Deschutes River is a squirt boater’s dream river, with countless big water eddy lines, multiple exploratory mystery spots, complete with fantastic desert camping.  Again, permits are required for anyone on the Deschutes, and some coordination will be necessary to acquire the necessary rafts, oarsmen, and supplies to pull off the overnighter.  As of July 1 this is still up in the air, and if anyone would like to lead the charge, start talking it up!  Another option would be to do the classic Deschutes day-run, which is a big water class 3 just upstream from Twin Springs.  The day run plus Twin Springs is a great day!

Creeking, Playboating & Surfing

There is a lot more to do in the PNW that just squirt boating.  Many of the world’s best class 4-5 runs are a quick hop away in the Columbia Gorge.  The White Salmon runs year round and the Green Truss section is its stand-out summer section.  Offering up famous waterfalls such as Big Brother & BZ Falls, and steep difficult rapids like Zig Zag Canyon, the Truss will keep any creek-addict happy even at summer flows.  Just upstream of the Green Truss is the Farmlands section, which is another premier section.  While not as difficult as the Truss, it is a solid class 4+ run that is not to be missed if flows are high enough.  Downstream of the Truss is the Middle, Lower, and Lower Lower White Salmon, which are moderate runs accessible to paddlers of all skill levels.  If levels are prime, the ultimate White Salmon experience is to run the entire river to the Columbia.  As of July 1, the White Salmon is below 3 feet on the Husum gage, so the Farmlands is extremely bony at these flows.

Just down the road from the White Salmon is the Little White Salmon, considered by many to be the top class 5 run in the world.  It’s no coincidence that many of the world’s best paddlers flock to the Columbia Gorge every spring and summer.  The “LDub” has incredible jaw dropping scenery and rapids. If you’ve seen a creeking video then you’ve certainly seen the Little White.  Big waterfalls like Wishbone and Spirit are some of the most photographed drops on the planet.  As of July 1, the Little White is in the mid-2s on the put-in gage.  It’ll be bony but no problem for those used to SE micro-creeking.

If you feeling adventurous and not afraid to drive a few hours, runs like the Cispus and Ohanepecosh are a just a few of many gems that should be running in Washington.  For mellower runs, the North Santiam upstream of the Weasel offers a nice class 2-3+ float.  The upper Clackamas River is also an Oregon classic.  The PNW is not known for its playboating, but in the summer, Spencer’s Hole on the North Santiam is a well-known park-n-play spot.  Spencer’s is a half hour upstream from the Weasel.

For those into ocean sports and/or just hanging out at the beach, the PNW coast offers great surfing, SUPing and surf kayaking along its stunning coastline.  A day trip to the beach is not to be missed if you have the time.  Short Sands Beach, Indian Beach, Seaside, and Pacific City are among the most easily accessible surfing breaks in Oregon. 


The nearest major airport to all the action is in Portland, OR (PDX).  We’ll be around to help folks out in any way possible.  Need an airport pickup?  Need any boating or camping gear?  Let us know and we’ll try our best to make it happen.  We have a fleet of extra squirt boats of all sizes and can likely dig up a few plastic boats as well.  The Facebook event page will be updated with specs and photos of spare boats.

Gear & Amenities

If you arrive in Portland and need to pick up any boating and/or camping gear, there are several local shops that should have just about anything you could need.  Next Adventure ( and Alder Creek ( are the local paddling shops in Portland, and Kayak Shed ( is in Hood River.  There are also big retailers like REI, etc. in Portland.

If you need something, please contact one of the PNW crew before buying anything.  Chances are we’ll have extra gear to loan out.  

There are plenty of supermarkets and beer shops in Portland and other larger towns.  The closest grocery store to the Weasel is in Mill City which is just a few miles east on route 22.  It’s a small town so you won’t find much other than basic amenities.  Again, please contact one of the PNW crew if you have any questions or need any specific items. 


Home base will be the campground at North Santiam State Park, about thirty minutes east of Salem, OR.  The park has nine walk-in, first-come-first-serve campsites.  In the past, campsites generally become available Sunday afternoon and into the early week.  Enough folks will be around early enough to hopefully secure all nine spots by the weekend.  This year’s park host, Randy, has been very cool and low key so far.  Campsites are $10 per night and $7/night for extra vehicles.  ALL vehicles parked overnight MUST have a parking pass on the dashboard or you will get an expensive ticket ($130ish in the past).

More info on North Santiam State Park can be found here:

For anyone who’d like to spend more than a day at Twin Springs, Twin Springs Campground is just downstream of the mystery spot.  The campground is managed by the BLM and is also a first-come-first-served campground, but sites are usually available mid-week. 

More info on Twin Springs Campground can be found here:


There is a pretty good loop for all of the spots and other boating opportunities. One could conceivably hit Twin Springs early, head back to the White Salmon for a Truss lap, then to Big Rocks on your way back to a twilight set at the Weasel.  That would be an epic day, but it’s possible!

The Zombie Loop:

North Santiam State Park/The Weasel:

The simplest route from PDX to the park is to take I-5 south to Salem, and then head east on route 22 towards Bend for about 30 miles.  The park is roughly four miles from Mill City, Oregon.  If you end up in Mill City, you’ve gone too far.  Once in the park, the campground and main parking area are to the left, and continue straight to get to the riverside access.  The bottom of the island fifty yards downstream is where the action it is.  You can float or wade across to the island. Rocks are slick this year so go slowly if wading!

The Gemini:

Take I-5 south from Portland.  After passing Salem, continue about 15 miles until you reach the next Rest Area on I-5.  Pass all of the facilities in the rest area and continue through the gate towards the river.  There is a large parking area on the right, to the right of the boat ramp.  From here, you can put in and float down to the first island where the spot is located.  Or, take the trail from the parking area and follow downstream through the woods.  Eventually it will end up riverside and you can wade across to the island.  The walk takes about twenty minutes. You can camp right at the spot, but parking overnight isn’t allowed at the river (at least technically). 

Big Rocks:

From PDX, head south on 205 to 84 East and take exit 18 (following brown signs for various parks). At the stop sign at a T, take a left and continue to the next stop sign (just next to the Sandy River Bridge on the right).  Drive directly across the road and park in the lot on the right.  From here, walk down the trail to the river.

Twin Springs:

From PDX, take 84 East, pass through Hood River and take exit 87 for US 197.  Stay on US 197 South (several turns) until OR 216 East.  Stay on 216 East and take a left on the BLM Road, away from the town of Maupin, OR.  From here, pass the Trestle bridge, and the spot is a few miles downstream of the bridge.  The mystery spot is easily seen from the road; park on the side of the road next to the spot.



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