Tag Archives: 501

1/23/2016 – Eagle Creek Trail – 501- Clackamas

Date of Hike: 1/23/2016
Location of Hike: Eagle Creek Trail
Trail Number: 501
Weather during Hike: overcast and rainy at times
Hiking Buddies: Zack
Start Time: 10:00 AM  End Time: 3:50 PM
Hike Distance: 10.8 miles  
Pictures: Link
Hike description
This was kind of an unplanned hike. I had planned to stay home today and do some things around the house. Zack texted me about 7:30 and asked if I was going anywhere today. After a few back and forth texts, we decided to meet at 9 and head out. When he got here, we decided to head up to Eagle Creek on the Clackamas – I hadn’t been there since they had done some logging at the trailhead, and on a previous trip he had found (and marked) what he thought was a trail junction down the trail a ways. Sounded like a good place to go on a rainy day after a long, stressful week.

I didn’t get many pictures of the trail, since I’ve been there before. I did get this one from my favorite veiewpoint of Eagle Creek – about 4 miles down the trail or so:

This trail is beautiful once you get down to the creek – some pristine old growth forest. The trail follows the creek, and this day it was running pretty high, fast and loud. We made great time down the trail – before I knew it we had done 3.5 miles! We were getting close to the spot where Zack had marked the junction, so we slowed down a bit to be able to look at all the potential junctions. We soon found this junction (which was more apparent in person):

And here is a close up of one of the trees at this junction, which used to have a sign:

From here on is where this hike got really interesting. We wandered up what looked like old tread, finding a cut log and a blaze. Shortly, we found these very old, but obviously milled boards (covered in very thick moss):

These were obviously man made, not natural, so we wandered around trying to see if we could find more, or maybe what they were part of. We thought maybe they were part of a bridge across the nearby unnamed creek, but could not find a clear crossing point. We continued poking around and then I came across this old sign laying on the ground!

This area was kind of strange looking, like had been a lot of disturbances in the area. Like a camp, maybe. Lots of open, flat ground. We continued searching the area, and then found the first of a set of posts:

We were postulating that these might have been “hitching posts” to tie horses to – they obviously had some sort of cross brace on them at one point in time. We ended up finding 5 sets of them in the area.

We wandered over to a very open area, and I spotted this unusual item – an old watering trough:

The next find was really weird – Zack was commenting that “you’d think we would see some sort of fire pit around here” – I looked down and saw a heavily moss covered fire pit! We removed the moss and found a concrete fire pit underneath:

Looking around the area of the firepit, I found several more milled pieces of wood, a few of which were notched:

These looked to be remnants of a picnic table – the notches were at an angle that would match what you’d see on a picnic table and there were some longer boards like you would have for the top.

We continued searching the area for a while, looking for more artifacts, but other than some more cut logs, didn’t really find anything else – but what we found was quite enough! We headed back down to the trail to find a spot for lunch. We stopped at a spot next to the creek and ate our (late) lunch. We then headed back down the trail to the truck. We made really good time on the way back, just as we had on the way in. The weather alternated between almost sunny, drizzly and rainy as it had all day long. I was a bit worried we would not make it back out by dark, but we got back to the truck before 4.

We headed back to Estacada for a celebratory strong scotch ale at Fearless and then headed home. For an unexpected hike, this was an AWESOME day! Thanks, Zack for pulling me out of the house!

10/8/2012 – Eagle Creek Cutoff and east end of Eagle Creek – 504, 501

Date of Hike: 10/8/2012
Location of Hike: Eagle Creek Cutoff and east end of Eagle Creek
Trail Number: 504, 501
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:45 AM  End Time: 2:15 PM
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
I wanted to take advantage of what may have been my last chance to experience the extended summer this year. We have had an unseasonably long stretch of nice, warm, dry weather – in fact, it is supposed to be the longest stretch of dry weather on record (from July-September). The weather reports were calling for rain the following weekend, and it looked like that might be the start of the rainy season. So, with my Monday holiday (Columbus Day), I decided to complete the Eagle Creek to Old Baldy trail connection – the Eagle Creek Connector trail (504).

I have hiked the Eagle Creek trail several times, and even backpacked there with the scouts a couple of times, but never got up the trail all the way to where it crosses the creek. This is the point where the Eagle Creek connector trail starts, and then heads uphill to the Old Baldy trail. I had ventured a short distance down that trail when I had hiked the Old Baldy trail earlier, but since it is a 2.2 mile trip down to the river, I didn’t go very far. Originally, I had thought I could do this trail when I completed the east end of Old Baldy, but when I started looking at details, the length of the trail made it obvious that it would need to be a separate trip. Since I hadn’t hiked all the way to the end of the Eagle Creek trail, I decided to include that in the hike as well. Turns out it was a bit farther than I thought to the end of the trail!

The day started out rather cool, but we quickly got on the trail and proceeded down, then up and went down and up for a bit – I had anticipated essentially going downhill, but the start of the trail is a bit up and down. The trails in this area seem to be “older” and as a result, do more “direct” routes (read: straight up and straight down). Shortly, we came to a nice viewpoint, overlooking the Eagle Creek drainage.

After stopping for a bit to emjoy the views, we continued on – at this point, we started downhill. The beginning of the downhill was not too bad, but the farther down the hill we got, the steeper it got. With my knees still recovering from our Eagle Cap trip, the trip downhill was a little challenging (for my knees). We made it downhill (finally), and got to the creek crossing. My hope had been that the creek would be low at this time of year to make it easy to cross. The creek was pretty low, which made for an easy crossing, just an easy rock hop.

After the creek crossing, we were now on the Eagle Creek trail. This was a portion of the trail I had not been on before. At this point, the trail was right next to the creek. Very quickly, we came to a “narrows” area, where there was some rock ledge and where the creek got very narrow and deep. It was very similar to a section on the Clackamas river that you can see from highway 224, although it was much smaller (obviously).

We proceeded down the trail, heading downstream. At one of the side creek crossings, I had an experience I’ve never had before – I lost my footing completely and ended up falling in the water. It had to have been a very comical sight. The good news was that I didn’t hurt anything, except a few scrapes and scratches. It will teach me to be more careful, even at small water crossings. After my big fall, we continue down the trail until we got to the place where we had to turn back in April (with the scouts). On the way back, I noticed a really pretty section of maple that was really “popping” with the fall colors – green, yellow, orange and red. The photo didn’t do it justice:

A little farther down the the trail, we found a nice place along the creek to stop, sit and have lunch. While we were sitting there, I saw the most unusual bird. It would sit on rocks and constantly bob up and down. It would then “swim” through the water to the next rock. It was a grayish black color. It would repeat these behaviors over and over down the creek. I tried to get a video of it, but was unable to get something that was clear. When I got home I looked up the bird, and it is called an “American Dipper”. I guess the dipper name comes from its behavior. It was a very interesting way to spend my lunchtime.

After lunch, we continued back down the trail to re-cross the creek and head back up the hill. One thing I was amazed at – how moist and green this area still was, even with our extended dry period. Side creeks were still flowing and everything was still very green.

After crossing the creek it was time to head back up the hill. Wow, was that hard – the “switchbacks” were not very wide, they were more like “S”s, so it wasn’t much better than walking straight uphill. And it was STEEP. It took me a while, but I finally made it back up the hill. Tired, but happy that we were able to experience this new piece of trail on a beautiful fall day. The Eagle Creek canyon is an absolutely beautiful place with lots of old growth trees. It is also a very quiet forest – different than many. It was a good day.

5/30/2010 – Eagle Creek Trail (off the Clackamas)

Date of Hike: 5/30/2010
Location of Hike: Eagle Creek Trail (off the Clackamas)
Trail Number: 501
Weather during Hike: Cloudy and cool
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 11:00 AM  End Time: 2:00 PM
Hike Distance: 7 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
I have wanted to get out hiking again for quite some time, but with everything going on, and having a wet spring, it has been difficult. I thought I could get out on the Memorial Day weekend, but the weather wasn’t cooperating. My wife finally encouraged me to go out on Sunday, since the weather was supposed to be OK. I’m very glad she did, for this trip was good for my soul. The weather was OK, with a few small sunbreaks, but mostly overcast. It wasn’t too cold or too hot, just about perfect for hiking.

This is the second time I’ve done this hike, and once you get past the initial clearcuts, it is a beautiful hike. I went a little farther this time, going past the big creek crossing, but I ended up turning around a little ways up the trail since it started to mist and I didn’t really want to hike in the rain. It worked out OK, and I had a great time. This area has LOTS of REALLY big trees and the creek is a constant companion, either by seeing it, or by hearing it. This day, the creek was roaring due to all the rain we have had.

A beautiful day in the woods!

4/5/2009 – The “other” Eagle Creek Trail – 501

Date of Hike: 4/5/2009
Location of Hike: The "other" Eagle Creek Trail
Trail Number: 501
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:00 AM  End Time: 1:00 PM
Hike Distance: 8 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
Today was probably the best day of the year so far – The forecast was for temps in the 70’s and sunny. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take advantage of the nice weather. since it is still pretty early in the year, and we have had a wet, cool spring, the problem was finding a trail that was low enough to get to. In one of my hiking books, I found a reference to this trail – The “other” Eagle Creek trail – Not the one in the gorge. The book accurately detailed how to get to the unmarked trailhead, and also what to expect on the hike. The first mile or so of the hike is nothing to get excited about, since it goes down an old spur road, through a bunch of recently cut forest, and there are really no views or anything to look at. As you get farther down the trail, the better the view gets. At a little over a mile, you start hearing Eagle Creek, but can’t see it. Then the forest starts getting more mature. Finally, you get into some beautiful old growth cedar and hemlock (with a little doug fir), with LOTS of moss and lichen dripping from the trees. As I hiked along, lyrics from the old Beatles tune “Getting Better” kept coming into my head “Its getting better all the time”. The further down the trail I went, the more beautiful it was.

The trail moves closer and farther from the creek, but you can always hear it. We crossed several small runoff “creeks” along the way that fed down into the creek. There were a couple of nice camping areas as well. We finally got to an un-named creek crossing, and decided to turn around since the water there was deeper and faster than the other crossings. My feet were also feeling the effects of not being out too much this year yet.

This was a glorious day in the woods, on a beautiful, seldom traveled trail. It definitely deserves further exploration…..The trail keeps going another 4 miles or so up the creek. It would make for a good in and out backpack trip, as it connects with several other trails. It reminds me a lot of the Fish Creek area.