Saturday, January 22, 2005

SF Clackamas River 2005

I got a call from Ryan. Ryan began telling me about a wright up he had read, about a group of kayakers running the first decent of of the South Fork of the Clackamas River. The talk of waterfalls that few have seen and the thought of adventure had me ready to go.

We got an early start that morning. We knew this would be a long strenuous through hike. After dropping Ryan's pickup off along the Clackamas River near the confluence of the SF the three of us piled in to my little pickup for the 40 minute shuttle to the trail head that drops down to the SF of the Clackamas River from Hillockburn Rd.

After about 1.5 mile of trail we reached the SF of the Clackamas River. At this point the trail ended and we were on our own to navigate the rest of the canyon. As one side of the river would gorge up or just become so chocked by the under brush we found our selfs fording the river back and forth in search of the easiest path.

Ryan pointing out a less congested route.

Todd fording his way across the river.

looking back at the first 30' water fall

The second 30' falls we were unable to get a good look at, because of how far we had to pull away from the river in order to get around the falls.

The third falls was by far the most impressive, in many ways. First it was 120ft falls, second was the route we had to use to reach our destination below the falls, and finally the history of the this waterfall. If it weren't for the history of this falls getting to the bottom of the falls would be almost imposable form the top. The top of this water fall was the intake for the city of West Linn and Oregon City's drinking water. This source of water was used by the two cities up until 1985.

The route to the bottom is through the old tunnel that had been cut at an angle up through the rock cliff of the canyon to accommodate the placement of the 24" pipe for the Oregon City/West Linn Drinking water.

Myself, after dropping down through the entrance of the tunnel.

Todd and I cautiously making our way down the steep tunnel.

Looking back at the Tunnel after safely reaching the bottom.

Looking across to the 120ft waterfall from the tunnel exit.

Running shorter than expected on daylight we decided that it would be best to cut the adventure short and find our way out of the canyon. This meant that we would have to come back in search of the 50ft falls farther down stream. We followed what was left of the over grown road bed from the construction of the drinking water project.

Todd and myself scrambling up out of the canyon.

We finally reached Ryan's pickup just before dark. This trek seemed to be a bit more demanding that we had anticipated, but it was worth the effort. Ryan and I will be back to explore this area some more at a later date.

Ryan's Blog

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