4/27/2013 – Big Bottom Exploration – Round 2

Date of Hike: 4/27/2013
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 11:30 AM
End Time: 2:30 PM
Hike Distance: 1.6 miles
Pictures: Link
Hike Map


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Description of Hike:
This hike was round two of trying to find the largest cedar (Western Red Cedar?) tree in Oregon. The last time I went (two weeks ago), I was unable to find it. So I went back to Big Bottom today looking for the giant.
On the way down, I did some clearing of the old road to make it easier to pass. There were some downed trees and hanging branches that were annoying. I recently purchased a replacement pair of loppers after breaking my old pair, and also purchased a small pruning saw to deal with limbs larger than my loppers can handle. They worked well in clearing out some of this debris and it should be easier passage down the road now.

This is actually my third trip down into Big Bottom. I went down there several years ago on a very hot day to try and find the record holder. I realized after I made that trek that I had gone down the wrong spur road. It was an interesting trip, but was not fruitful obviously. After my prior trip two weeks ago I reviewed GPS coordinates someone had sent me and compared it to my track from last time. I was convinced I was on the right track last time, I just didn’t go far enough. That made me want to try again!
There is supposed to be a “faint trail” that heads off from the old road, however I was not able to find it last time. This time, I think I did find the beginning of it. There was a flag (kind of hidden) right on the corner where you start heading north on the old road. It is right where the turn starts, however it was kind of hidden due to all the new, young trees growing up – I was amazed at how many young trees were in this area. I started up that way, and found another flag, and another, and another. I cut out a trail between the flags that should be easy to follow. The bad news is that the flags (and any semblance of a trail) stopped as quickly as it started. Since I could not find any other flags, and I wasn’t sure where it should go, I stopped cutting. There were so many places I thought might be a faint trail, but I’m pretty sure they were just game trails. There was a LOT of sign of elk and deer in those woods…..

Here is the log we ended up taking across the “creek” (bog really) to get into the grove:

Anyway, I came to two trees at the coordinates I was given, but I don’t think either one was “the” big one.

A picture looking up the trunk of one of the giants:

I looked around a bit, saw another one nearby, but I don’t think it was any bigger than these two.

It had a very interesting “bump” on the side of it:

I was just about to leave when I saw another giant kind of “over in the corner” of the grove. I went over to look at it and took a photo. I still wasn’t convinced I found it until I looked at another photo of the giant and compared it to mine. I think I found it! There were some telltale signs – two gashes on its bark. This was a monster of a tree! My Guess was 12+ foot in diameter (more if you measured it at ground level due to the huge root ball). But there were LOTS of HUGE trees in that basin. Just AMAZING.

After taking some photos of the tree it was time for lunch. We had lunch atop a downed cedar that was probably 5’+ in diameter. That was a really neat place to eat lunch. The only way I got on top was because it was next to another tree and it helped me get up on top.

This place feels so remote, but is actually very close to road 46 – I could hear traffic in the distance periodically. It didn’t detract from the serenity of being with these ancient giants, though. Here is a photo of part of this grove – it is impossible to grasp the scale of these trees in these photos:

After having lunch, it was time to head back. You really have to pay attention to where you are going because it all looks very similar – having to navigate around all those HUGE downed trees makes travel difficult. It was a short day of hiking, but a great day.

Driving on the spur road on the way out I got my last little perk of the day. A deer ran across the road in front of me. She didn’t seen too scared of me, after getting a little ways away – she just stood there and looked at me. This isn’t a great photo, but it was a cool way to end the day:

Another wonderful day in the woods, and a great accomplishment to see the largest cedar tree in Oregon!

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