Todd Lake / Tumalo Mountain Backpacking

On July 3-4 I took off on a short, fast backpacking trip, aiming to see some views and explore a few new (to me) trails.

Day 1

Starting from my neighborhood, I hiked to Tumalo Falls and up to the Metolius-Windigo Trail, which I took toward Todd Lake. I had several miles of constant mosquitos which would bombard me if I ever took a rest.

Todd Lake was open, sunny, and breezy enough that I was able to sit next to the lake without being bothered by the mosquitos. Wildflower season is gearing up and the meadows near the lake are beautiful.

I then followed the Water Tower Trail from Todd Lake to the base of Tumalo Mountain, at Dutchman Flat. This is not a summer-maintained trail, and there are logs down all over, but it’s marked with blue blazes for skiing. The mosquitos finally relented as I made my way into drier forest areas.

Tumalo Mountain has a fairly accessible summit with truly great views. I dropped my pack at the bottom and did a quick out-and-back to the top.

I chose to push quite a bit further this day. I had picked up 4 liters of water after leaving Todd Lake, but was in the middle of a 15-mile dry stretch – and I decided to dry camp only a few miles from the next water source so I could hit it first thing in the morning, but I was definitely stretching my water a bit in the July heat.

Day 2

I woke up and packed early with that next water stop on my mind. I hiked down to the Swampy Lakes trails and through a nice flat stretch toward the South Fork trail. Once there, I grabbed water from South Fork Tumalo Creek about 3 miles into my walk, then took my time the rest of the way down, avoiding insane downhill cyclists and the occasional mosquito.

Overall this was a fun short trip, but I pushed the first day a bit too hard and too long and cut my water supply pretty close on the long carry. Food and water intake are difficult for me to get right, and more discipline to stop, eat, and drink (even in the middle of mosquito sections) would have been helpful. Todd Lake and Tumalo Mountain were the big hits for this trip. Even as a Bend resident for 7 years, I haven’t been to either until now! They are both well worth the trip.

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