Big Bottom - 5/5/2015

Discussions and Trip Reports for off-trail adventures and rediscovering lost trails
scole
Posts: 106
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Everett, Washington
Contact:

Big Bottom - 5/5/2015

Post by scole » May 8th, 2015, 2:38 pm

I only learned about the old growth at Big Bottom in the weeks leading up to my trip down to Oregon this week. There isn't a ton of information about it but what little I did see made me eager to visit.

No problems on the drive to the "trail head". I don't know how you miss a spur road but I managed to do it but eventually figured out the error of my ways. On this point, I will say that the USGS topo map is surprisingly accurate in his area. The spur road location and appearance of one of the side channels of the Clackamas seemed to correspond well with my GPS in the field.

Image
The "trailhead" is at right. Look for the flagging on the lefthand side of the road as you drive up.

Despite the rain on the west side, I enjoyed partly sunny skies with an occasional few drips. Not a whole lot in bloom in the understory; it seemed to still be awakening from winter. Contrary to one previous description, I think I enjoyed the old growth section located after the side channel and wetland. I would have gone further if not for one tremendous windfall which blocked things for quite a distance.

Image
Approaching the entrance of the old growth grove

Image

Image
I happened across a number of Fairy Slippers at one portion of the "trail"

Image

Image

Image
I would have gone a little further but the trail/road is blocked by this massive windfall. It's 5-6' in diameter and makes for a long detour around it

Image
Pano from on top of the windfall

Image

I wanted to visit the fabled "largest Western Red Cedar" but didn't make it. I had trouble finding the way path off of the road. One trip report here claimed that there was a small aluminum diamond tacked to a tree but I did not see that.

Another source claims the waypath is located at the true entrance to Big Bottom. I think this is correct and I might have found this path. I found some new-ish looking orange flagging that marked a path through the forest. I followed about 7-8 flags until I reached a tremendous fallen old growth log at which I didn't find another flag. Could this have been the log crossing that is required to reach the cedar?

Image
The "entrance" to the waypath at right. You can barely make out an orange flag hanging off the tree

Image
Next segment of flagging..

Image
Next segment..

Image
Next segment..

Image
Last flag I saw next to this massive windfall log

Oh well. Complete solitude and VERY minimal human sounds (one car and a distant short blast of a logging horn). What a wonderful area.
Attachments
bigBottomHikeTracks.kmz
GPX Track (KMZ version)
(28.84 KiB) Downloaded 193 times
bigBottomHikeTracks.gpx
GPX Track
(544.62 KiB) Downloaded 123 times

User avatar
adamschneider
Posts: 2998
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:02 pm
Location: SE Portland
Contact:

Re: Big Bottom - 5/5/2015

Post by adamschneider » May 8th, 2015, 3:15 pm

See any of these on the road in?

Image

User avatar
Derwood
Posts: 36
Joined: February 9th, 2015, 7:39 pm
Location: Portland

Re: Big Bottom - 5/5/2015

Post by Derwood » May 8th, 2015, 3:34 pm

I would have went with Spinal Tap. :D

scole
Posts: 106
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Everett, Washington
Contact:

Re: Big Bottom - 5/5/2015

Post by scole » May 8th, 2015, 3:42 pm

:lol: Man- who named that place that and why!

RobFromRedland
Posts: 986
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Big Bottom - 5/5/2015

Post by RobFromRedland » May 8th, 2015, 4:06 pm

scole wrote::lol: Man- who named that place that and why!
I believe it was named that because it is a a really big flat (bottom) area. There were plans for it to be dammed up in the 1920's, but those were scuttled due to the depression and the cheap hydro power from the dams in the gorge.

As far as finding the largest cedar, it is not an easy proposition, and as far as I know, there is ZERO flagging to it. It took me 3 trips in there to finally find the correct tree - there are a lot of trees in there, and the big one is hard to find. It is a difficult trip, peppered with lots of large blowdown to navigate. It is absolutely gorgeous in there, but a tough trip. Good route finding skills are essential.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: WOW-What a ride!

scole
Posts: 106
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Everett, Washington
Contact:

Re: Big Bottom - 5/5/2015

Post by scole » May 8th, 2015, 4:27 pm

Thanks. I would not be surprised if the flagging was carryover from the logging days but, then again, some of the flags looked really new since their color had not faded like most of these flags do when out in the elements. Oh well. I'll try again at some point.

FWIW, the two references I relied on were this and this.

User avatar
adamschneider
Posts: 2998
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:02 pm
Location: SE Portland
Contact:

Re: Big Bottom - 5/5/2015

Post by adamschneider » May 8th, 2015, 4:38 pm

Derwood wrote:I would have went with Spinal Tap. :D
Yeah, but the visual isn't as iconic. ;)

User avatar
mattisnotfrench
Posts: 1299
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: SE Portland
Contact:

Re: Big Bottom - 5/5/2015

Post by mattisnotfrench » May 8th, 2015, 4:43 pm

scole wrote:FWIW, the two references I relied on were this and this.
Ha, I was wondering if you cited my website. I've been into that grove several times and I've only found the big cedar twice. The firs time I went, there was a faint but unmistakable trail into the grove. The last time I went I couldn't find it. I'm going to go back later on this year and look for it again.

Nice to see a report of the area!
Last edited by mattisnotfrench on May 8th, 2015, 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Author of Off the Beaten Trail, 101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region and PDX Hiking 365. Website: www.offthebeatentrailpdx.com

scole
Posts: 106
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Everett, Washington
Contact:

Re: Big Bottom - 5/5/2015

Post by scole » May 8th, 2015, 5:17 pm

Heh. Well, based on that blog post, I did go and purchase your guidebook. :D

Truthfully, I relied more on the info from the forum thread because it mentioned the diamond tag tacked to a tree (something that was more explicit) but I still missed it anyways.

User avatar
mattisnotfrench
Posts: 1299
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: SE Portland
Contact:

Re: Big Bottom - 5/5/2015

Post by mattisnotfrench » May 8th, 2015, 8:02 pm

Not being able to find the spur trail over to the big cedars, coupled with running into a group from Bark who asked me to keep the hike out of my book, is why I didn't include it. I know more than I said in my blog post, but I haven't been back in a few years. It's entirely possible it will go into my next book.

Glad you got to see it and enjoy it!
Author of Off the Beaten Trail, 101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region and PDX Hiking 365. Website: www.offthebeatentrailpdx.com

Post Reply