Deschutes County

Boulder blocking Smith Rock trail takes big tumble

Massive rock rolled to big splash in Crooked River

Smith Rock problem boulder sent tumbling

TERREBONNE, Ore. - The boulder blocking part of the Misery Ridge trail at Smith Rock State Park has been moved, and it was quite a sight

"It started with a report of the boulder and then an assessment of the danger, the potential danger to the public," Smith Rock Park Manager Scott Brown said Friday.

Just after 8:30 Friday morning, a crew from Aspen Creek Enterprises made the hike up the steep trail to the boulder.

Once crews reached the massive rock -- which was 11 feet tall, 11 feet long and 7 feet thick -- they began using jacks and blocks similar to what you use for your car.

After a few hours, a horn blast signaled that the boulder was about to tumble down the nearly 200-yard embankment toward the Crooked River.

"The more we went, the lighter it was getting -- the jacks just fell, and away it went," Aspen Creek Enterprises Co-Owner Les Cardwell said afterward.

"Once we saw some of that rock coming out from underneath it, we knew it was time to go," Brown said. "That was a time to just step back and watch."

Cardwell added, "As a kid, you always rolled boulders off the top of a cliff -- but nothing like that. It was fun."

It took just 19 seconds for the rock to make it's way from its perch to its landing spot, breaking apart on the way down.

The park has named the boulder after a former park employee, Jay Walters. The piece now resting in the river is known as Big Jay.

The trails were reopened Friday evening, shortly after 6 p.m..

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