4/13/2013 – Big Bottom Exploration

Date of Hike: 4/13/2012
Location of Hike: Big Bottom Old Growth Grove
Weather during Hike: Take your pick - Snowy, Rainy, Windy, Sunny - it had it all!
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 11:45 AM  End Time: 1:30 PM
Hike Distance: 3 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a hike into the old growth grove of Big Bottom on the Clackamas River. This low, flat area has a lot of old growth fir and cedar. It is supposed to contain one the largest Western red cedar in Oregon – I’ve heard it is pretty big, and reminds you of the redwoods in California.

I had done this hike a few years ago – I think it was on my birthday – I remember it being a VERY hot day – something like 100 degrees in town. I remember it being cooler at Big Bottom due to the shade and humidity of the area, but it was still pretty warm. I was trying to find that cedar tree then, and I wanted to come back to try and find it again.

On to this days adventure. I was surprised when I got to the starting point. It had snowed overnight!

This hike started on old road which continued to get narrower and narrower the farther you got into Big Bottom. There were spots almost impassable due to small downed trees blocking the road – even for hikers. But, it is well worth the effort – you are soon rewarded with beautiful views of majestic old growth trees like this:

We hiked about as far down the road as we could. The major objective for the day was to try and find the cedar giant. Once it seemed we had definitely gone too far north, we turned around and continued to search for the “faint side trail” that was supposed to lead us to the giant cedar. I knew it would be a tough bushwhack, but I was determined to find it.

On the way back, we took several side trips, trying to find this faint side trail, but nothing looked like a trail at all – at least not for more that 30 feet. With the weather looking a bit threatening (I had hesitated to go hiking this day due to uncertain weather), I opted to leave the big cedar for another day after I could do some more research and fact finding to see if I could get more info on where it is located. So, a little disappointed, we headed back to the truck. A little disappointed, but how can you not love being around trees like this (and bigger, too!):

And more beautiful trees!

By the time we got back to the truck, the snow had pretty much melted away:

I will definitely be returning to Big Bottom, and I will find this big cedar. That will be an adventure for another day.

Note: After I did this hike, I conferred with someone else who has been to see this big cedar. He gave me the GPS coordinates of where the tree is supposed to be located. I put that in the gps track for this trip so I could see how close we got. Based on his description, it is about where I was thinking it was – you can see the route we took to the east, just west of where that GPS waypoint is. Although it will be difficult to get over there due to all the undergrowth, I look forward to returning.

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