Tumalo Creek Falls
Elevation 4,950 Feet
Tumalo Creek Falls lies 12 miles west of Bend, Oregon in the Deschutes National Forest. The dirt road that drives to the entrance to the trails winds through the aftermath of the 1979 Bridge Creek Fire. It's early history was keeled towards irrigation.
Here is a snippet from the Bend Bulletin,
Watering the High Desert
Published: April 20, 2003
"A similar story is told about the Tumalo irrigation project, one of the region's first irrigation ventures. The project was possibly the most vexed Carey Act irrigation development in the nation, according to researchers.
The Tumalo project in 1904 promised to irrigate some 27,000 acres of land near Tumalo Creek, a tributary to the Deschutes. After the developers suffered nearly 10 years of financial, managerial and engineering disasters on the project, forcing some farmers to go bust, the state took over the irrigation system in 1913. The state's solution to the Tumalo project, which lacked enough water to irrigate all of the promised land, was to build a storage reservoir. Tumalo Reservoir was completed in 1915, but failed to hold water when giant sinkholes opened on its floor. Today, the reservoir holds about five percent of its capacity, and about a third of the Tumalo lands are actually irrigated."
You don't get to see much of what those projects yielded that far up the creek. There was no fresh snow on my birthday as Tanis, Linda, my father, Dennis and our dogs took about a 3 mile jaunt up and back on the trail. We were turned back shortly after getting started due to the massively icy trail.
The falls we did see were amazing, with downed logs covered in snow laying on top of the falls.
It was a balmy 20 degrees with no wind and a weak sun filtering through a semi-overcast sky. Hiking that day was my birthday wish fulfilled from my family.
We stopped at a pool of water so clear as to take on that teal blue of solid, slow-forming ice. Tanis and the dogs ripped it up in the snow while we basked in the chilled, muffled snowy silence of the woods in winter.
We were turned back after not being able to proceed any further. I did make a silent vow to return and see the rest of this hike some other day.
And I will have to take Tanis again.