August 18, 1999

As Promised, a New BF Tidbit

I'm not a BF historian type. Have only gone on one incident research trip. It was fun, but not really my sort of thing. Ray Crowe will verify that I don't go on organized BF outings to Ape Caves, etc. so I haven't been guided to any of the famous sites.

The Oregon Cascade Mountains to the SE of Portland is where I spend most of my time, with some in the Coastal Range. About 70 air miles SE of Portland are Granite Peaks.  Burnt Granite on the NE side of the group is where Green reported the Thomas sighting of three BF digging through a rock scree (place where just jumbled rocks, no vegetation, generally relatively high up or on steep slopes) for rodents. I have not been to the site with someone who has been there before.

Anyway, about a month ago, Trapper Steve and I decided to go look at the site. Cliff Olson had reported the road was finally open.  This is at about 5,000'. We had had I-R operated cameras down low in the area, so we picked up the cameras and after a twisty drive up the mountain, easily found the Burnt Granite Ridge road. We went down it and parked and walked NE.  After about a 1/4 mile +, came to a rock scree. In the rock scree, we found a big hole, but there was just one. We had heard the Thomas site had several. Also on the scree, we found a series of  stacked rock piles along its length. Some of the rocks had recently been overturned from the appearance of  fungus and dirt on them. Rain would have probably cleaned them, since  we have had a wet summer. We got some good pictures.

Last week, I went up to watch meteors and stayed overnight in a rock quarry that clearly looks up at the scree that Trapper Steve and I explored.

Yesterday, I was talking to Cliff Olson about a last overnighter up there for next week.  Hunting season is almost here and the fun stops then. I told him about the scree and the single hole.

He carefully questioned me over the telephone. It looks like we may have found another site similar to the Thomas site which is apparently about 1/4 mile SSE of where we parked, not NE! He confirmed that some rocks have fallen in the holes, but that there are multiple holes in the Thomas site. In addition, Cliff says that he knows the rock pit that I stayed in and he thinks only a very little, if any of it can be seen from the Thomas site. Finally, Cliff told me the trail that I described to him is not the trail that he has used to get to the Thomas site.

In addition, Trapper Steve and I found very old diggings at another rock scree location within 10 air miles of the Thomas site.

Do we have a pattern here? Did Native Americans or New Agers do the new rock work this spring? There was no litter in the area from humans. Did something else move those big rocks in the jumble (quite dangerous footing)? Can we find other screes with similar rock patterns?  These are some of the questions we are going to explore during a possible day trip this week and a probable overnighter next week.

I know this is not much information, but it is as exciting as things get in our BF world. Rare Opportunity Mainly Clouded Over August 13, 1999 Went up to watch the Perseid meteor shower last night. Went high up, ~5,000', just under Mt. Lowe. Rock quarry. Good until clouds started coming in about two hours before the main event (3AM roughly). Saw some through holes in the clouds. Looked like a very good shower. Next ridgeline to the NW has the Thomas site. Took some sun set pictures. Mt.s Hood to the north and Jefferson to the south were tremendous in the setting sun. Saw no lights on the horizon. No campers, no cars, nothing. The glow of a central Oregon town was faint on the clouds. Kept a fire going all night. Had picked up wood from the road as I went up. One type I hadn't used before and it made a splendid fire, like what cedar should do when it burns. Had needles sort of like Noble fir. Will go library that guy. Something moved around the perimeter of the quarry during the night making domestic cat like calls. Probably a coyote. Would shine the lamp its way and it would send a surprised out and then would be silent for a while. Heavy dew and mist that turned to light rain in the morning. When I boiled the coffee, the rain settled the grounds. Drive back down the mountain trecherous because the dust on the roads had turned slick with the rain. No good to have an accident up there when the weather is bad, might be days before someone comes along.


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