July 23, 2013.
Tumble Creek Rd > Tumble Ridge Tr > Dome Rock > Tumble Lake > back
15.5 mi | 4370′ ele. gain | 8:15 hr.
Recently I’d found myself engaged in a writing project for a new guidebook. The book would include a compilation of hikes, river floats, bike rides and other casual adventures around the Mid-Willamette Valley. In addition there would be notes on human history, natural history and artistic elements like drawings and poetry. There was a list of suggested hikes for contributors like me to choose from. But I decided to add one of my favorites, Dome Rock, to the list. This was a research hike. And to make it more user friendly I decided to scout the short hike to Tumble Lake while I was out here.
That meant I had a lot of ground to cover and I had to be back in time for an evening appointment.
I got to hiking at 7 am. The gravel road up Tumble Creek is gentle, but not for long. Soon the Tumble Ridge Trail takes off from the right hand side and launches you straight up hill.
Huffing and puffing up the hill, I stopped for air at every switchback with a view of Detroit Lake. The lake was so blue! At 8:30 I reached the meadow that almost thwarted me last year. Today the meadow was lush and green, filled with berries and flowers too. I poked around looking fof wild ginger flowers. Those sneaky little buggers. So pretty and so well hidden beneath the leaves.
At the Tumble Ridge trail sign beyond the meadow I found a lonely boot sitting on the trail. I’m not sure how one can lose a boot, but someone’s missing that thing right now. Gaining the upper ridge I was delighted by Easter flowers. Well, that’s what they look like. Some sort of lily that seems out of place in the forest.
At the Dome Rock trail junction, surprise! A brand-new Forest Service sign. Snazzy! I was surprised that anyone else cared about this trail. I slogged up the last bit through a super cool rock garden filled with happy-looking succulents.
At the summit I sucked down a tasty Del’s frozen lemonade and basked in the summer sunshine. For several minutes I watched butterflies flit around from flower to flower. I could have stayed here longer, but I had an agenda.
Back at the junction I kept going on Tumble Ridge and kept my eyes peeled for a descent trail to the lake. The path was steep and pretty brushy. Anywhere the sun could shine down, the walkway was overgrown with ferns, thimbleberry and other leafy plants. Once I reached the lake I explored around a bit. There were some big flat spots that would make great campsites. The lake was pretty and blue. I wanted to walk around the lake but a giant cliffy waterfall was in the way. I had also hoped to scout a bushwhack down the creek to avoid the haul back up to the trail. But, the cliffs were steep and brushy and the visibility was poor. I didn’t want to climb my way down into a predicament. I was determined to look at a map once I got home to get a better view of the terrain before my next visit.
Again, I could have spent more time here but I just didn’t have any. By 1 pm I decided to return to the main trail and hike out to my car.
I was only somewhat distracted by the flowers blooming on the way downhill. I was more distracted by the bee that erupted out of the earth to sting me just before I hit Tumble Creek Road. Do bees do that? It hurt like hell the entire drive home. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out…