Adventures in Oregon: Tumalo Falls

‘Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering its a feather bed.’-Terence McKenna

While not having any big trips coming up (sans my trip to Philadelphia in September…hopefully), I have fully embraced exploring the region I currently live in, thus a lot of Oregon posts! I usually get two days off a week and have used one of those days to explore a new spot. I had heard of Tumalo Falls and decided to check it out. This is where my Brittney Manwell trail book really came in handy as it provided excellent directions and my gps did not. Being said, there is a road and you are supposed to be able to take it up to near the falls but the road is closed. I do not know why as the park is open (I would not have gone if it were closed due to Covid) but it added an extra 5 miles to my hike. I was planning on taking a long hike anyway but I wasn’t planning on it mostly being in and out. The day I went turned into quite the adventure!

It rained the entire morning I had planned on going but it appeared to clear up and the weather app said it wasn’t going to rain again, just a bit overcast. Since it doesn’t get dark until 9 here, I decided to still go and arrived about 2:30. It was overcast but the temperature felt great. It started to sprinkle a bit as I was walking in but I didn’t think anything of it. About two miles in, it began to pour! Thankfully it was warm so the rain felt really great. My biggest concern was my camera (a Lumix G7) which isn’t weather proofed (something I plan on with my next camera so if you have any recommendations on a camera you love, drop a comment). My day pack is from Patagonia and I LOVE it but had never used it in such heavy rain. I put my camera in the zipped compartment (usually it’s around my neck or in the outer pouch) and prayed. And it was fine! Everything stayed really dry. I am very impressed. As you know, I am usually a The North Face gal (and the raincoat and long sleeve shirt I was wearing were from The North Face) but this Patagonia pack was on sale and one of my favorite colors (the deep blue in the link). It has worked out really well. Eventually I will be getting a bigger pack for longer hikes and will have to decide between the brands! I also have to shout out my Danner trail shoes (I have the Atlantic Blue). As I got closer to the falls and hiked up to the viewpoint, the trail was flooded and flowing downhill. Needless to say, my feet got soaked! I was worried what would happen on my 2.5 miles back to my car and I needn’t have. I only wear WRIGHTSOCK hiking and both my shoes and socks were dry very quickly.

Coming up an incline, you see Tumalo Falls and it’s quite breathtaking. Because it rained so much (and eventually some large chunk of hail-a bit painful) the water was raging. I met some really cool people up at the top all joking about how we got stuck in the pouring rain. The falls are about a 90 foot drop and there are several viewpoints to check it out, including one spot where the Tumalo Creek falls. One of the viewpoints was covered in plywood, which did not help with the fear of heights, but I went to the rail anyway…small victories!

By this point, it was getting later and a bit chilly (the breeze and my wet clothes didn’t help). Fortunately, when I was still in Philadelphia, my dad mailed me a light-weight Eddie Bauer zip fleece. I keep it in my daypack because you never know if you’ll need it. It was perfect just for this…so thank you, Dad!

The perk of the rain was some great photos and that the trees were quite green. I’m really happy that I went…I saw one of the most scenic viewpoints in Central Oregon, a great 7-mile hike, and learned that all my gear is hardcore and can take a lot (well, except my camera but my iPhone is water resistant, ha!). I will say, the entire time I had the ‘Pina Colada Song’ stuck in my head but it’s okay, I do like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain!

2 Replies to “Adventures in Oregon: Tumalo Falls”

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