Tumble Lake–June 2018


I, Becky, just returned from an overnight backpacking trip to Tumble Lake, Oregon.  I had not been backpacking for many, many years, and was excited to get a chance to go with the church youth group.  My daughter, Patsy, and niece, Alissa, were going.  It was Patsy’s first backpacking trip, and Alissa’s second.  I really wanted to introduce Patsy to this sport, and am delighted that Alissa liked it well enough to go again after her first trip last summer.



At our house, we packed, unpacked, repacked, and packed again.  Of course, this picture was not showing the final result–I added a sleeping mat and a tiny tent.  I was very concerned that our packs would not be too heavy, but we would have the supplies we needed. Mine came in around 30 lbs, and Patsy’s was lighter.  Alissa borrowed a small pack from someone, and it was lighter than 30 as well.  She will need a different pack if she continues to go backpacking.  That one had no extra straps on it to tie things onto, and was not adequate for the occasion.


There were 14 teens and leaders on this trip.  We drove up into the mountains above Detroit Lake, to a trail that started from the side of the road.  The van and car were parked along the side of the road in a wide spot and we all shouldered our packs and were off.  It quickly became apparent that this was a rigorous hike.  In fact, it turned out to much harder for us than the U-Tube video I watched led me to believe. First, you climbed up a steep trail for about 1/4 mile, then took the spur trail to Tumble Lake.  By the time we reached the spur trail, it became apparent that it was much harder than Patsy had anticipated.  She and I let the quick, strong athletic football players go ahead, and we dropped back to come at our own pace.



We admired the mist over the trees and the wild flowers.  We actually found a place where there was reception and I let her talk to her dad, who was very encouraging to her.  It was very, very steep and we crept our way down into the canyon as slowly as she wanted to creep.  The rest of the group reached the desired campsite and sent one of the men back to make sure we were ok, and to lead us to the camping spot.



I set up my tiny tent. My niece put up her hammock.  Patsy chose to go into a tent 2 other girls had brought.  Then the kids fished, hiked around the lake, sat by the fire, and swam for the remainder of the day.  We also played charades for hours around the campfire.  The teens were so much fun to be with, and I got to know several I had not really know before.



Fires were allowed, so the kids roasted marshmallows.


Alissa swam across the lake and back.


Patsy and another girl played with salamander for hours.


There were hundreds.


There were also hundreds, probably thousands, of little fish jumping in the lake.  The guys who were fishing caught fish, after fish, after fish.  They were small, so they put them all back, except one that was eaten.


The moon was breathtaking as it rose above the rock formation on the other side of the lake.

The next day, I knew it would take us much longer to hike out than the others, after our experience on Friday, so we started off earlier than the rest.


We went slowly, and admired the flowers and butterflies.


It was so steep, but we scrambled up.  We would go a little, then rest, then go some more. There were a couple of times I was scrambling up on my hands and knees–but we made it!


We had started out early enough that we had about an hour to wait for the others.  We waited at the place where the spur trail joins the main one, and had a snack.  We visited with several hikers who came along, and enjoyed hearing about their plans for the day.  After a while, our group came along, and we hiked the rest of the way out, and came home.  I am so happy we went.  It was hard, but there is a sense of satisfaction that comes with completing something that is hard.  I am hoping my daughter found that sense of satisfaction, but I’m not sure.  If she goes again, she needs better shoes.  We both need to train harder.  A trail that is not rated “difficult” would be a better choice for us.  I had so much fun, and I will definitely go again if I am offered the opportunity.

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