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Shellrock Creek to Cottonwood Meadows trail
Doug Firman
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09/04/2014 - 4:38 pm
Member Since: 09/20/2009
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A trail from Shellrock Creek to Cottonwood Meadows is shown on the 1938 map.

Shellrock-to-Cottonwood-route-1938-983x823-1.jpg

 

I located about a mile of this trail at the Shellrock Creek end. 

Shellrock-to-Cottowood-trail-3Sep14-837x896.jpghiking-3Sep14-photo1.jpg

The first sign of this trail is near the edge of a clearcut.  The tread then enters the clearcut and proceeds directly uphill for about 500 feet before heading southwest and following a more even grade.  If this trail predated the clearcut, as seems likely, perhaps it originally followed a more gentle grade out into the area of the cut before turning southwest.  I didn't see any evidence of this though.  The tread that I saw along the edge of the cut appears to have been well-used and there are a number of cut logs defining the trail along the way.  The cut logs appear to be considerably older than the logs remaining from the most recent logging activity.

IMG_7506-1024x736.jpg

Having left the clearcut, the tread varies from well-defined to barely visible.  At times I wondered if I was following game trails, but then I would come across another clearly-visible segment of trail bench or a cut log confirming that I was on the correct route.  I was unable to find any blazes at all.

IMG_7509-768x1024.jpg

After about 1/2 mile the trail crosses two rock fields, the first one about 100 yards across.  The trail is still in evidence across most of the first one. 

IMG_7453-1024x755.jpg

After about a mile, I lost sight of the tread and was unable to pick it up again.  I searched as far as the spur road above Cottonwood Meadows, but without success.   I also searched for the Shellrock Creek trail, which ran north from the Oak Grove Fork following the route of the creek, but found little evidence of it.  According to Rondthaler's notes, the Shellrock Creek trail was built before 1920 but was probably abandoned after the road to High Rock was built along the east side of the creek in 1929.  The trail does not show up on the 1938 or later maps.

kirk
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09/04/2014 - 7:20 pm
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Thanks for the trip report Doug.  It looks like you had a much sunnier day for your trail finding than we did last Saturday.

Donald Presley
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09/04/2014 - 7:45 pm
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Great find Doug! I had looked for both ends a few years back to no avail. I think I wasn't far enough north before heading uphill on the Shellrock end. I hadn't seen anything at the Cot Meadows end except for the trail heading north towards Cache Meadows Cutoff trail that is all located except thru the clearcut to the north.

Donovan
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09/04/2014 - 9:08 pm
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Excellent work Doug.

One thing I do recall is that just after the Hideaway road branches off Shellrock there is an access to what I figured was the old road which ran lower. It looked like a way in to you creek side starting point.

I looked around on top some also. It may have swung wider than I thought to save elevation.

You guys can check but I believe this trail is in the earliest land office maps.

D 2

Doug Firman
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09/05/2014 - 5:42 pm
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Donovan, I suspect that the road you're talking about is the same one I took to get down to the creek.  It takes off about 1/4 mile from the 58/5830 junction.  I walked it a lot farther than I needed to because I wanted to see if I could find any sign of the Shellrock Creek trail.  I headed downstream looking for the point where the trail supposedly crossed the creek.  It's quite a mess in there, with down trees all over the place and several logjams in the creek.  I didn't find anything much, although I did find a path that seemed like a possibility and then saw someone else's flagging on it.  Maybe that was Don's.  But I wasn't able to take it very far.

The photo below shows that road and another road which takes off from it down near the creek.  This route would be the best access to the trail to Cottonwood.  The tread that I found continued to the SE corner of the cut and then headed north.  I followed it a short distance but then turned and crossed the creek.  Looking at the old maps, I can see that if I had stayed with that tread it would probably have taken me to where the trail crossed the creek not too far away (red line in photo).  Something to check out next time.

hiking-3Sep14-photo3-1024x721.jpg

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Bryon Boyce
Clackamas River
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09/14/2014 - 1:05 pm
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I believe this trail is in the earliest land office maps.

Here 'tis.

The trail in question on this 1922 survey map deadends at what is shown as two small lakes, and does not continue south towards the then-future Lake Harriet. There is no Rimrock Trail either.

Their is a nice complex of trails shown to the north which this trail connects with, including Indian Ridge. No trails shown in the Rock Creek Basin - they were built several years later.

Shell-Rock-area.png

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kirk
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09/14/2014 - 5:29 pm
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Bryon Boyce said

Here 'tis.
The trail in question on this 1922 survey map deadends at what is shown as two small lakes

It looks like the "two small lakes" is Cottonwood Meadows.  I guess the meadows hadn't been named yet.

Rob Williams
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09/14/2014 - 7:10 pm
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Bryon Boyce said
 No trails shown in the Rock Creek Basin - they were built several years later.

Which leads me to a question that came up a few days ago - is anyone aware of any kind of reference that lists when a given trail was constructed? And further, what was the purpose of the trail? I have yet to encounter anything like that but it would be hugely interesting.

The only way I know of to "know" when a trail was built is to look at old maps and see when it appears on the maps.  But this isn't a very good way either - since trails like the 511 were built in the early 30's (according the Alton Everest book), but it does not show up on the '38 map.

Donovan
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09/14/2014 - 10:02 pm
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I figured the trail had some trapping/root digging legacy. Perhaps running sheep. There's not much food in the woods so these series of openings would have had value.

 

Generally I find trail dating mostly has to do with work. In the burned out areas, tree planting and protecting the plantings. That was the driver for the Roaring drainage trails apart from travelling the divides. Prior to that the early Reserve efforts to establish control. The perimeter and tower trails.

Interesting to me it seems Hideaway lake was already claimed or applied for perhaps by the Sportsman's Club?

Don 2

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