Big Adventure in a Small Wilderness
Bridge Creek Wilderness
Over the Memorial Day Weekend of 2003 we headed out to a tiny wilderness area in the Ochocos called Bridge Creek Wilderness. It's not very big, but without trails we managed to get ourselves lost a couple of times - even using GPS navigation! We returned for a second visit with a larger party over the weekend of the Fourth of July in 2003, and got lost again, with two GPS units!
Update: a forest fire burned most
of the forest in the Bridge Creek Wilderness in 2008, so things have really
Some of our party returned in the summer of 2013, and the wilderness is beginning to recover.
Scott, Susan and Joe look back as we head off down the road
that is the wilderness boundary. The wilderness area is to the left.
Once off the road, our way took us through this high meadow.
Steerhead Lilies abounded here.
Susan, Joe and Scott approach the edge of the world.
Much of the wilderness area is a gently sloping basalt plate.
Here at "the edge of the world" the plate abruptly breaks off.
Here is what we could see from the edge of the world.
Click on the photo to see a very large version in a new window,
then just close the window to return to this page.
White Butte on the left, a cairn (with Scott approaching) on the right.
We set up camp at North Point, along the rim.
A tiny bit of sunset can be seen through the clouds from the door of our tent.
The next morning we set out on a day hike and quickly encountered
lots and lots of blowdown.
Did I mention there was lots of blowdown? (click on the image for a larger version)
Susan poses amid the mountain mahogany.
Joe and Scott on some nice rocks.
We thought this was witch's butter (Tremella mesenterica), but in 2013
someone "romping on the internet" noticed this picture and let us know it is actually
something much less common: "Golden Jelly Cone," or Guepiniopsis alpina.
(Amazing! We felt like we NEVER see the less common thing!)
Ellen uses a log as an elevated highway over fallen trees.
Larch just leafing out.
Heading down in search of Bridge Spring.
We didn't find the spring (until July), but we found a sluice. Thinking it might have been a trail at one time, we followed it back to the source...
...which turned out to be miles away at Bridge Creek. If you look closely you can see the diversion on the left side of the creek.
Despite the GPS, we were a bit mistaken about where we were.
We crossed the creek and climbed up this rockfall before
realizing we should have stayed on the other side.
When we finally crossed the creek again, we had to climb a rockfall
on the other side, too. Rough going!
We reached a real trail, and along it was a seep, which fostered
this incredible emerald green moss. (Not so green when we
returned in July, however.)
These are nice rocks. The trail circles around and
approaches them on the other side.
Corn lilies - we saw lots of them. By July a few would actually be blooming.
In yet another high meadow, heading back toward camp, we encountered fog.
Back at camp, we took this panorama of the view with clouds. Click on the photo for a larger view.
Close up of White Butte poking through the clouds.
The next morning the sun came out, and we finally saw the whole view. Click for a larger look.
White Butte in the sunshine.
At first we thought this might be some kind of giant ant, but after I posted this as a query here, I received e-mails from folks who idenitified it as a Blister Beetle of the Meloe genus. Many thanks to those who took the time to let me know!. Here's a good Wikipedia article (and here's a plug to support Wikipedia while you're at it!). If you have plenty of bandwidth, download a short movie of this huge insect crawling over Susan's gloved hand. The movie is about 3 MB. Susan was lucky to be gloved, as it turns out. The Blister Beetle is so called because it exudes an oil that can cause blistering of the skin and painful swelling!
All of us by the cairn. (Who's got the camera?!)
Looking back to North Point from the highest point.
Trekking across the highest point on the rim.
A close-up of "desert pavement" under our feet.
Later, on the forest road below the rim, looking up
800 feet to where we camped.
Watch for falling rocks! This one needed to be moved before we could proceed.
This page was finally updated to reflect information about the Blister Beetle on 9/9/13, and further updated with info about Golden Jelly Cones on 11/17/13.