The Lost & Boulder Ditch

Discussions and Trip Reports for off-trail adventures and rediscovering lost trails
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Chip Down
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Re: The Lost & Boulder Ditch

Post by Chip Down » June 29th, 2020, 8:27 pm

Like Guy, I selected this hike to avoid the wet west side of Hood. Problem is, I was expecting it to be a decent day, so this Plan B hike was impromptu. All I had to guide me was my phone. Better than nothing, but now that I'm home I see how this day could have been better with some research. Still, it went well.

Chiyoko is right, it's best to park at Forest Creek Camp.

When I arrived at LBD, it caught me off guard. I suppose because it's not a natural creek, it doesn't lie where you would expect a creek. Suddenly, as you're walking up Road 3530, there it is, as beautiful and surreal as I could have hoped for.

My plan was to turn left/north and follow LBD to Rd 48. Like Webfoot, I hadn't been able to find it as I drove along Rd 48, and I was eager to see where it crossed. I now realize it's just barely east of Boulder Creek, as shown on map. It is visible from the road, but barely.

I was about to turn back when it dawned on me that I should see where it goes on the north side of Rd 48. I poked around a bit. Couldn't find it. Weird. Went back to Rd 48 and found the culvert. Aha! It goes underground. Looking at the map, I surmised LBD gets diverted from Boulder Creek at a dam. I followed the trickling Boulder Creek, and sure enough, it took me to the dam. I now realize it's shown at upper left on the map Guy posted above. Above the dam, Boulder Creek was substantial. Also visible from the dam was a little tributary coming from the left/west. I followed it upstream, past some charming cascades, until it leveled off at yet another ditch. I followed this through a variety of interesting sections, some underground, some through plastic pipe, some open like the LBD, some plastic lined, until I finally noticed a trickle of a creek in a rocky bed parallel to the ditch. From this I surmised I was about to reach another dam. I was right. Above this dam, the creek was natural. I turned back here. I believe this must be Cedar Creek, which Barlow Road crosses at Forest Creek Camp. So from that dam, I actually would have a short walk to my car if I took the direct route, but instead I retraced my steps on the scenic route.

To summarize: Cedar Creek is mostly diverted (north of Rd 48) to a ditch which feeds into Boulder Creek just above a dam, and then Boulder Creek is mostly diverted (north of Rd 48) to LBD. The remnants of Cedar and Boulder creeks are both crossed on roads south of Rd 48, on the way to the Rd 3530 crossing of LBD. What fun! This was an extremely inefficient hike, but I think it would have been very easy to overlook how this all fits together, so I should be grateful for how my hike went.

Above, Guy wrote "I'm guessing that since the ditch is still in use its probably walked by whoever maintains it a couple of times a year". I met him! He was at the Boulder dam, the one at upper left on Guy's map. He shared info on history, where the water goes (customers), some of his maintenance woes. If not for him, I might not have explored up the creek that feeds into Boulder Creek above the dam. I noticed it, but didn't realize it's a ditch upstream. He also told me there was another dam up higher. In some of the underground sections, I was discouraged and considered turning back, but I was hoping to reach the upper dam.
Attachments
2.jpg
Looking downstream at lower dam. LBD goes underground at left until it passes under Rd 48. To the right, a bit of seepage flows as Boulder Creek.
3.jpg
Looking up from the lower dam: Boulder Creek ahead, diverted Cedar Creek spills in at left.
4.jpg
An overflow for when water level gets too high.
5.jpg
Upper dam. Cedar Creek trickles at left; head of ditch is at right.
WeNeedToTalk.jpg

Webfoot
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Re: The Lost & Boulder Ditch

Post by Webfoot » June 30th, 2020, 7:26 am

Great! :D

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Guy
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Re: The Lost & Boulder Ditch

Post by Guy » June 30th, 2020, 7:48 am

Nice sleuthing Chip!

I have it on my list to drive to where we stopped last time, cross the ditch and continue the rest of the way to Smock Prairie.
hiking log & photos.
Ad monte summa aut mors

Webfoot
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Re: The Lost & Boulder Ditch

Post by Webfoot » February 27th, 2021, 5:14 pm

Curious about how this canal was affected by the fires in 2020 I traced its entire path from LIDAR and overlaid the fire perimeter. Sadly it is quite a high proportion, though the two miles nearest FR-48 are untouched. Nevertheless following the canal, which I assume still exists and will be maintained, might be an interesting way to explore the fire area.

Attached is my map. The part that appears to be constructed canal is colored cyan. The middle portion, marked in blue, appears follow a natural creek and may not be walkable. I traced the canals all the way to the reservoirs of Smock Prairie simply to complete the map. When I realized the canal was branching I changed the color to chartreuse and called the trace "farm canal" though half of it is over state land that is not farmed.
Attachments
trace and fire overlay.jpg

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Chip Down
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Re: The Lost & Boulder Ditch

Post by Chip Down » February 27th, 2021, 5:42 pm

I've wondered about that. Completing my exploration was pretty high on my to-do list, but then the fire came. In a sense, I'm even more eager to get back and see how it looks. In one stretch, I'll have a before-and-after comparison, while the other end will be all new. I wonder if I'll face administrative closures though. Perhaps this will turn out to be like the Eagle Creek fire (some segments permanently closed because too dangerous in our lifetime).

Webfoot
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Re: The Lost & Boulder Ditch

Post by Webfoot » February 28th, 2021, 10:46 am

Guy wrote:
June 7th, 2020, 5:42 pm
Image
Curious memorial on 4850
Guy, did you learn anything more about this?

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