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Lost Hiker/Camper - Rock Lakes area - info
Don Walton
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08/02/2010 - 9:04 am
Member Since: 09/20/2009
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I typically take 2-3 trips into this area a summer.  Last time was to Shellrock on the weekend before this hiker went missing (monday the 12th?).  Anyhow - I was planning a return trip this weekend coming up with my daughter whom doesn't do long hikes well.  From what I have heard Campers are supposed to stay clear of the area while the search is ongoing.  

 

My first question would be - is this something I should avoid?  and then my second question would be - what is a good alternative weekend outing with a reasonably similar hike and lake in the area?  My first option seems to be Memaloose lake - seems viable but was wondering about options I am not noticing.  

 

-thanks in advance for your opinions - 

 

Don

Rob Williams
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08/02/2010 - 9:17 am
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From the USFS current conditions website, it should be open as of today (unless things have changed) – best bet is to call the ranger station to verify – (503) 630-6861

Due to search efforts for the missing hiker in the Roaring River

Wilderness area, Shellrock Trail #700 as well as Rd. 4610 from the Road

58 junction (headed northwest) will be closed from 7/30-8/1/10. 4610 and

Trail 700 will reopen on 8/2/10.

Hideaway Campground will remain open. Lookout Springs Dispersed Camping Area will remain closed until 8/2/10.

I'm not sure what trails/lake you were thinking of, but an alternative would be Shining Lake, although if 4610 on that end is still closed it wouldn't be an alternative.  The "trail" is an old road and is pretty easy going, once you get past the tank traps at the beginning.  The only tougher stretch is the drop down to the lake, which isn't too hard.  The Shining Lake trail is essentially at the trailhead of the Rock Lakes trail, down the rough 4610-240 spur as noted in the trail sheet.  I did this backpack with my daugter a few years ago.

There is also the Red Lake trail which has a bunch of Lakes on it.  Coming from the West side there is a fair amount of elevation gain but the distance is short.  If you come from the East side it isn't too much elevation, but you have to hike farther.  There are several lakes to choose from.

Hope that helps a bit.

Rob

Robert Koscik
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08/04/2010 - 8:44 am
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So what the hell happened to this guy?

I can't imagine he went too far from his camp.  And there were a lot of people combing hillsides, helicopters etc.

Vanished without a trace?  Is that even possible in the Clackamas?

Either a critter got him (but then not leaving evidence?)

or it's a scam of some sort

or he fell down a hole or got buried somehow

or maybe foul play?

I spend a lot of time in the backcountry, but have never heard of something like this in the modern era so close to Portland.  Does this change anything for hikers now?  Or have we just all been extremely lucky?

This must have been pretty common 120 years ago.

Don Walton
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08/04/2010 - 7:48 pm
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Thanks for the tips Rob - I think we will try the Memaloose lake trail - simply because I have somehow never been there hehehe.  But that Red Lake trail will be on my short list for either late this season or early next year.  

As far as the lost camper goes - Hiking / camping solo can be dangerous... especially if you simply get a little turned around off the trail - or trip and break an ankle or something.

I have been to the area quite a bit over the years - and more than 5 times last year.  Several of the trails have some tight areas - one trip - stumble and someone is off the trail and in a shallow gully and someone would have to be looking almost directly at the spot to find them.  And last year there were several sightings of cougar.  I spoke with a man last summer whom personally had a run-in / close call with one on his way down from Shell Rock lake to the trail head (only one mile down a short ridge)... anything is possible.  

Hard to say what happened - but it wouldn't take much to get seriously lost in that area.  I suspect gravity (fall or trip of some sort)... but cougar have been sighted in the area as well. 

I try to pay attention to everything when I go out backpacking - I always consider myself lucky for being able to be patient and thoughtful when I do things in the wilderness.  Stuff can happen - I try to be prepared with what I have in my pack.  - I just don't take anything for granted.

- What is the best option when thinking about predators?... I mean cougar or bear?  I have some bear spray / repellant (?)... but never had to use it.  I have never owned a gun - should I consider one?  - I do have 2 trekking poles... I know how to yell and scream and scare big animals off (lived in Zig Zag for a few years - and had bear in the yard and back porch from time to time).  - Should I consider something else>? 

At all times when we go out - I let a family and a friend know exactly where we plan to go - including trails - time to leave and time to expect us back.  Actually my friend requires a Text within hours of expected return to cell range LOL.  

-d

Don Walton
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08/09/2010 - 12:52 pm
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Well visited Memaloose lake - trail was nicely clear - and ran into quite a few day-hikers.  Spent both friday and saturday nights - light drizzle saturday and saturday night - was very light and lasted only for a few minutes at a time.  Nothing really got wet.

 

Loved the lake - and we took the side trail up to the ridge - which was also pretty steep but really nice.  We were annoyed to see an SUV parked at the top LOL... I hadn't realized we were going to end up at a road LOL.  Was fun either way.

 

My only concern/question is... about the gravel pits on the way up - which were all loaded with folks shooting guns - and the place seemed overloaded with trash and shot up stuff.  It was a real eye-sore.  I am not sure as to the rules up there... but whats the responsibility as to clean up?  I realize there is probably no real way to enforce many rules there... so just wondering.

 

-d

Robert Koscik
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08/10/2010 - 6:51 am
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Actually the FS has really cleaned the Memaloose Road area up.  They shut down a bunch of messed up shooting gallery/quarries and put new restrictions on shooting in the area, I think 6 miles up past 224 is banned for shooting.  Ya shoulda seen it before.

I spent a lot of time clearing the trail to S. Frk. over the past couple years,  It was really brushed in before.  Yeah it's kind of a drag hiking up and finding trucks at the top but at least it provides truck access (sort of...it's a hell of a road) for trail work.

Don Walton
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08/11/2010 - 6:09 am
Member Since: 09/20/2009
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hmmm I think my trip meter had the trail head at about 12 miles from 224... and there were shooters in each of the gravel pits - I am sure one or two were past a 6 mile mark.  Good to know - and thanks for all the hard work on that S. Frk trail... its very nice.... and the flagging helps when the trial gets hard to see in those couple spots.

 

-d

kirk
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11/14/2010 - 11:27 pm
Member Since: 10/13/2010
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Does anyone know what happened to Robert Perry Bissell? The guy who went missing while camping at Middle Rock Lake in July. I tried to locate more information tonight online. The last information was that they had called off the search on August 2nd.

Robert Koscik
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01/06/2011 - 11:54 am
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That is a good question.  How does someone vanish in this day and age?  Helicopter searches no less...

The woods are mysterious though.  No telling.

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