Doggone Good Hiking Along Tumalo Creek

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With the dog days of summer pretty much over, members of the Central Oregon Nordic Club found some doggone good hiking near Bend on Sunday, Sept. 10.

And hot diggity dog — best of all … they found clean air!

The outing occurred under blue skies, with Central Oregon finally getting a “paws” from being dogged by unhealthy smoky air in recent weeks due to wildfires. But then it had to happen sometime; after all, every dog has its day.

Hiker Thom Iverson says that club members were “rolling the dice on the wind blowing the smoke away, and we pretty much won!” He describes “only a slight fall-type haze and a few wisps of smoke floating through.” Thom later adds: “It was nice to be able to breathe for a change with minimal smoke!”

Mid-morning hikers broke into two groups and headed a short ways up Skyliners Road, then followed a gravel forest road to their starting point.

“The more casual group of four hiked east into Shevlin Park, following Tumalo Creek from the west end of the park to the bridge, and then back up across the road to the ‘scramble trail’ for a little way,” says leader Linda Frost. “Lots of breaks, and talking, for about 3.5 miles.”

Tumalo3Gary Kelley led another group of eight hikers in the opposite direction, traveling slightly uphill while following the river on a rugged trail that required frequent maneuvering around and over large rocky formations. This made the outing a more tiring workout than most walks along a stream. However, hikers were serenaded by the sound of rushing whitewater most of the trip.

“For most of us, today’s hike was largely an exploration,” Gary reports. “We walked nearly four miles up the Tumalo Creek trail from the western Shevlin Park boundary, taking a higher (relative to the river) path out and a spur to a lower path back.

“The trail is a tough one — constant undulations and large rocks to scramble over.

“It is also a wonderful trail bracketed by large stone walls (replete with climbing pins) on one side and the creek on the other. After three miles, the trail drops near the river with many waterfalls and lush ferny canyons with a mature forest.

“Some of us would like to return to take the trail to wherever it intersects a road — perhaps at the beginning of the dirt road that goes to Tumalo Falls.”

If it’s anything like Sunday, this will be another fun trip that leaves hikers feeling content but dog-tired.

(Photos by Thom Iverson and Jeanni Capell)

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