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Old camp off the Eagle Creek trail
Rob Williams
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01/24/2016 - 7:20 am
Member Since: 09/20/2009
Forum Posts: 1367
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I know this is technically out of district, but it is really close, and was very interesting.  I thought I would post it here to see if anyone knew the background of it.

Zack dragged me out of the house yesterday to go hiking in the rain.  We ended up choosing the Eagle Creek trail off the Clackamas.  He had previously marked what he thought was an old trail junction that he wanted to investigate.

We got to this junction, which is hard to see in the photo, but the trail in question kind of heads straight, while the Eagle Creek trail heads to the right (you can see it clearly) - the other trail is to the left of the two trees in the center:

20160123_135409-L.jpg

That had a sign at one point:

20160123_135359-M.jpg

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, about 3 inches thick (covered in very thick moss):
20160123_123013-L.jpg
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!
20160123_124522-L.jpg
This area was kind of strange looking - there 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:
20160123_130757_001-L.jpg
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 made from a log:
20160123_125056-L.jpg
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:
20160123_125833-L.jpg
Looking around the area of the firepit, we found several more milled pieces of wood, a few of which were notched:
20160123_130647-L.jpg
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.  I wonder if those first board we found were the tops to these picnic tables?

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. 

I haven't seen anything on maps that talks about an old camp in this location.  Does anyone know what this camp was?  It was obviously very substantial.  It is just north of the trail, maybe a couple hundred yards.  The junction is down the trail about 4 miles or so.

kirk
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01/24/2016 - 6:43 pm
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Very interesting!  Looks like a horse camp to me.  It seems like it would show up on one of the old maps.  Thanks for posting it!

Rob Williams
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01/24/2016 - 7:02 pm
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It certainly looked like the remains of a horse camp, but I've not seen any evidence of it on any of the old maps I've looked at thus far.

I'm hoping someone here has heard something about it.  It certainly looked to be a substantial camp at one time.

BrianEdwards
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01/25/2016 - 6:45 pm
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great discovery guys! I love finding remnants of history like that. Was there a spur trail to the top of the hill that took off from the camp? One of the old maps shows a way trail in the area

Rob Williams
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01/25/2016 - 8:54 pm
Member Since: 09/20/2009
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BrianEdwards said

great discovery guys! I love finding remnants of history like that. Was there a spur trail to the top of the hill that took off from the camp? One of the old maps shows a way trail in the area

We didn't venture farther than the camp area.  The only way trail I've seen on any old map was quite a bit downstream from where this was.  I've not seen any maps with any trails in this area.  But maybe I just haven't looked at the right map.  This is the '38 map with the way trail shown a mile or so west of where we were.  This is the only map I've seen this way trail on.

EagleCreek1.jpg

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Rob Williams
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02/01/2016 - 8:13 pm
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I was hoping someone would have known something about this camp.  I will continue to search to see if I can find anything.  It seems like there should be something documented somewhere.

Rob Williams
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03/25/2016 - 6:51 pm
Member Since: 09/20/2009
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Just to close the loop a bit - I found out a couple of snippets of information about this camp.  It appears to be referenced in the 1969 book "100 Oregon Hiking Trails" by Don and Roberta Lowe:

EagleCreek1.jpg

 

I also got info from the Oregon Equestrian Trails group about a note in another book:

"Trail Riding Oregon" by Ruth Vanderhoof & Lyle Wilson, published 1988.

Eagle Creek Trail #501. Four miles in there is a horse camp; you will see the sign pointing up the hill. It has several picnic tables, one double corral and several tie racks. There are all looking rather tattered and worn. The setting is wonderful. Just past the trail to the horse camp, the main trail (#501) crosses a creek.

I think the point at which it crosses the creek is the Eagle Creek cutoff trail which goes up to the Old Baldy trail. If I find out any more info, I'll post it here.

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