Big Bottom Wilderness 6/21

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BrianEdwards
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Big Bottom Wilderness 6/21

Post by BrianEdwards » June 21st, 2011, 11:31 pm

Today I headed out with MattisnotFrench to the Big Bottom Wilderness. Big Bottom is one of the recent wildernesses added to the Upper Cackamas River area. The area contains lots of huge old-growth trees. It's also home to Oregon's largest Western Red Cedar. I was excited for the challenge of finding the huge cedar, supposedly ~2 miles from the unofficial trailhead and off of any trail.

Take 224 up the Clackamas River to Ripplebrook, and stay on FR46 til you see a huge B painted on the road, and FR4670 taking off on the right. Follow FR4670 about 1/2 mile til you cross the Clackamas River, then immediately take a right on FR4651. The third spur road on the right is the unofficial trail. It's got a large blue and yellow ribbon hanging from a tree on the right. The road angles slightly downhill at about a 45 degree where it leaves the main road. Park at the junction and take off on foot.

(After you're done, if you take FR4670 up the hill and keep an eye in your mirror, there's an impressive view of Mt Jefferson awaiting)

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We got to the FR4651-120 junction around 1:30pm and headed out. The first 1/2 mile of the old road-turned trail is through a younger forest that was obviously logged in the last 20 years. But soon, the old road enters a huge flat area nearer the river, where old growth trees are plentiful. The temperature also dropped noticeably upon entering the ancient forest. The first part of the road walk had me skeptical about the whole deal, but once we got to the big trees, all skepticism changed to admirition. It was the closest place I've seen to a fairy-tale ancient forest.

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I spent all my time gawking at the huge trees rather than taking pictures, so my photos of the trail are a bit limited in number

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Further down the road I grabbed another shot. Next time I'm in there, I need to get more shots of the huge firs like the one on the far left.

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We hiked on another 1/2 mile or more to where we got our first view of one of the many branches of the Clackamas River. If you look on the map, the Clackamas River here spreads out into a whole bunch of fingers in the deep woods, before joining up again in a main channel. Kinda neat how it doesn't really have much of a main course through there.

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From here, Matt had already been further down the road on a prior trip, and knew the best trees were back towards the truck a little bit, and off the trail a ways. So we turned back and headed towards them. Along the way we had passed a prominant user trail that headed off to the right, and that happens to be where the cedars are. After finding the trail, marked with a small metallic diamond on a small tree, we headed down it. Very quickly though the trail petered out into a bunch of different trails. Matt remembered that the cedars were towards the right a little ways, so we kept going on what amounted to trail, then no trail at times. Upon reaching one of the fingers of the river, we crossed over on a big log, then stayed right. That's where we added a bunch of time to our day. The big cedar was straight ahead, and not right. So we ended up making a long bushwack around til we spotted the tops of a couple huge cedars off to our left, these two behemoths

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Pictures don't really do 'em justice. The one on the right that has a tree growing out the side of it, um that's a full size tree. The sun was out in force and made picture taking difficult

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After admiring these two beasts, and a couple more big ones nearby, Matt knew we were close to the big one, but where was it!?! We thrashed around, climbing over more huge 6+ ft logs, and finally Matt spotted it. Wow was all I could say. The base is a good 12-14' across, with a huge clearing underneath it.

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I have to think this is the record holder, IDK but it's certainly worthy of it. The sun was still out, but we shot a whole bunch of photos of it anyway. Seeing this tree and the other few giants just 100 ft away elevated the day from good to great. After admiring the huge specimen, we headed back towards the road.

Lots of these abound

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Here's one thing that the Big Bottom area is capable of, getting you turned around! The whole area is flat, with all the huge trees and massive logs laying about. Theres also many long-abandoned roads throughout that seem to make a maze of trails. While heading back toward the road, we ended up on another roadbed that took us south a bit, away from the main trail. We soon realized our error, and made a heading back through the woods towards the other road, and found it. After this, it was a 1/2 mile stroll up the old road back to the truck.

After we were back, there were two other things on the list today; Head up FR4670 to find a view of Jefferson, and investigate one of Splintercat's many curiousities... Poop Creek :) We headed up FR4670 all the way to the top, but found no views. We headed down a side road that looked promising, but came to a large birm with an extrememly deep trench. While turning my 22 ft long truck around, we got stuck in that trench for a bit, but luckily was able to get back out. Phew! Anyway, on the way back down towards the main road, a view of Mt Hood appeared through the trees off the left side of the road.

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Further down, the view of Jefferson I referenced above came into view. Here's another shot of it. Man it looks gnarly up there.

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Closer, the summit pinnacle looks mighty impressive:

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After shooting Jefferson, we headed back to FR46, took a left, and very quickly came to FR42 and hung a right. In not too long tho, something between the road and the map was not jiving... We kept going, hoping to find a road sign to identify where we were. Several miles, and several spurs later, we found a road that was on the map.. Still, we had somewhow missed the all important main road, but the spur road we had found looped back to it. We tooking the spur road a ways, and found the reason something was awray. FR4610, between FR42 and FR370 had been decommisioned, and the pavement ripped up, including the bridge over Poop Creek... Hmm, didn't see that one coming, but atleast we were at our final destination. We headed down to the creek, and followed it up 600ft to where I thought I had seen a waterfall on Google Earth. No such waterfall existed, so we headed back down.

Not before I got a 'scenic' shot of Poop Creek :)

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Yep, just a baby among many larger ones in the area, but quite a name. Once we got back down to decommisioned-FR4610, we crossed the creek and made our way up the roadbed to the truck. Once back, we headed home.

Definitely was a nice change of pace from waterfall hunting. I look forward to returning to Big Bottom Wilderness with more time to wander around and take in the sights and smells. Thanks for looking
Last edited by BrianEdwards on June 24th, 2011, 2:52 pm, edited 14 times in total.
Clackamas River Waterfall Project - 95 Documented, 18 to go.

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mattisnotfrench
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Re: Big Bottom Wilderness 6/21 (+ poop creek)

Post by mattisnotfrench » June 22nd, 2011, 12:05 am

It was definitely a fun day! I'll have to post pictures here when I get a chance. I didn't get too many good ones I don't think but I won't know for sure until they are on my computer sometime tomorrow morning.

Big Bottom is definitely a place that should be visited.
Author of Off the Beaten Trail, 101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region and PDX Hiking 365. Website: www.offthebeatentrailpdx.com

RobFromRedland
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Re: Big Bottom Wilderness 6/21 (+ poop creek)

Post by RobFromRedland » June 22nd, 2011, 5:42 am

Brian:
Thanks for posting this report - I went down there a couple of years ago, on a hundred degree day, and it was MUCH cooler in those trees. Still hot, but a LOT cooler than the surrounding area. I must have missed the "big" trees, because I wandered around a bit, and found some good sized trees, but nothing like what you posted. I think I may have taken another spur road down. I'll have to try it again....that big one looks pretty cool....
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!

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Re: Big Bottom Wilderness 6/21 (+ poop creek)

Post by Splintercat » June 22nd, 2011, 7:17 am

Woohoo! Poop Creek! That's a reasonably photogenic stream, Brian... I think we could come up with a postcard shot of that one..! :)

"Poop Creek, near the Big Bottom in Clackamas County". Something like that. ;)

Nice work!

-Tom :)

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mattisnotfrench
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Re: Big Bottom Wilderness 6/21 (+ poop creek)

Post by mattisnotfrench » June 22nd, 2011, 8:10 am

Splintercat wrote:Woohoo! Poop Creek! That's a reasonably photogenic stream, Brian... I think we could come up with a postcard shot of that one..! :)

"Poop Creek, near the Big Bottom in Clackamas County". Something like that. ;)

Nice work!

-Tom :)
The stream itself was relatively pretty but the area had been logged over pretty heavily. Not all that photogenic except for the spot Brian photographed.

Rob - if you know how to get into Big Bottom from the old 120 road, finding the big cedars is pretty easy. Just head east towards the main stem of the Clackamas as soon as you hit the big timber. There are a number of user trails down there but not all of them go where you want. A compass and/or GPS is recommended.
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OneSpeed
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Re: Big Bottom Wilderness 6/21 (+ poop creek)

Post by OneSpeed » June 22nd, 2011, 8:45 am

BrianEdwards wrote:Yep, just a baby among many larger ones in the area, but quite a name.
I looked up Poop Creek in Oregon Geographic Names, but it's not in there. Ought to be a good story there; anybody know it?

RobFromRedland
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Re: Big Bottom Wilderness 6/21 (+ poop creek)

Post by RobFromRedland » June 22nd, 2011, 11:23 am

mattisnotfrench wrote:Rob - if you know how to get into Big Bottom from the old 120 road, finding the big cedars is pretty easy. Just head east towards the main stem of the Clackamas as soon as you hit the big timber. There are a number of user trails down there but not all of them go where you want. A compass and/or GPS is recommended.
When I went down before I had a GPS coordinate that was given to me by someone (don't remember who), but I'm not sure how accurate it was. I hit the coordinate, and there were some large trees, but not HUGE trees (like what you saw). I'm sure I didn't see the big one.

If you've got a good coordinate, you can PM me with it.
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!

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BrianEdwards
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Re: Big Bottom Wilderness 6/21 (+ poop creek)

Post by BrianEdwards » June 22nd, 2011, 6:13 pm

OneSpeed wrote:I looked up Poop Creek in Oregon Geographic Names, but it's not in there. Ought to be a good story there; anybody know it?
I'm guessing it used to have a much more 'french' name before the Forest Service went through and cleaned up some of those types of names...
Clackamas River Waterfall Project - 95 Documented, 18 to go.

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Re: Big Bottom Wilderness 6/21

Post by mattisnotfrench » June 24th, 2011, 11:25 am

I finally got around to going through my pictures from this trip. Lots of subpar to awful photos resulting from a bit too much sun down in the forest. Next time I go here it's on a rainy day, for sure.

It was a fantastic day, though!

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Author of Off the Beaten Trail, 101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region and PDX Hiking 365. Website: www.offthebeatentrailpdx.com

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