Clackamas county, OR
Nearest town: Estacada
Nearest road: Hillockburn/FS45
Conditions: Dry Partly Cloudy
Time: early afternoon
Location: Take Hillockburn road off of highway 211 just south of Estacada. Continue until you have the option to either go 90 degrees left and eventually emerge on highway 242, or go right as I did on obscure forest road 4550 (this number is from recollection, but I think it's correct). Follow this road till it Ts at what I recall being 4540 and go left. It was about 5 miles down this road that I had the sighting.
Description of event: I should start by saying that I couldn't be sure this wasn't a bear, but it was much bigger than the other bears I've seen.
I was exploring the dirt roads off of Hillockburn Rd. (FS road 45) trying to find a route to Mollala that was still open. I was riding a motorcycle (KLR650), and came upon a long straight and saw what I assumed to be a very large bear in the road.
I'm an accomplished backpacker, adventure motorcyclist, and general outdoors person. I know that large bears are unusual this close to civilization, and that certainly any bears you might encounter are Black Bears. I'd encountered Black Bears several times in OR. while backpacking, and know what they look like.
My first reaction was to slam on the brakes, the "thing" was probably 300 yards away, but very large. As soon as I stopped the "thing" stood up on two legs and walked away directly sideways off the road and into the brush. I know bears don't walk for on two legs, especially when making an escape, so that seemed out of place.
I rode up to the where the "thing" had been and saw it had been feeding or checking out a dead deer in the road that I hadn't noticed. The odd thing is that this is in the middle of nowhere (relatively speaking, I've not seen another car up here once you leave the main road), and the odds of a car or truck being up here and hitting a deer is practically zero, but the deer had been dead for some time, and was black and rotting.
I realized that I'm sitting next to carrion and had just seen either a bear or something more threatening eating it, and rode away quickly to continue my exploring. The only other thing to point out is that the deer wasn't there when I rode back out.
This is an area that saw a lot of logging in the 70s and 80s, but is relatively unused now. Most roads are gated (but that doesn't stop a motorcyclist), and generally the forest is young with small sections of old growth. Where I made this siting there was bigger trees by the side of road concealing an old logging project about 25 feet off the road.
Haven't told many people about this, as I didn't want to seem crazy. I've since heard that there have been a number of sitings near Colton, which was the next closest town besides Estacada.
record updated:0000-00-00 00:00:00