Have you visited the amazing, spectacular, outstanding Tam-a-Lau trail yet?
She’s a doozy, but she’s worth it! In the first mile, you’ll gain 600 feet of elevation, so be prepared with plenty of water, good hiking shoes, and an early start. (Early morning is one of the best times to take photos as well!)
Winding up the cliff side on this path will take you through a spectacular boulder field. “Tam-a-Lau” means “place of big rocks in the ground” in the Sahaptian language of the Plateau tribes, and references this area. It’s tempting to climb on these enormous rocks, but it better protects them (and you, from rattlesnakes, black widows, and scorpions!) if you don’t.
Once atop the canyon rim, you’ll get an unbelievable view of the surrounding area. You’ll see the southern end of The Island, a protected area of the Cove Palisades a special gem of Oregon, and on a good viewing day you’ll get breathtaking views of Jefferson and Hood!
If you’re lucky, or you time it right, you’ll also get a beautiful wildflower show. This lovely yellow bush is rabbitbrush in bloom. (That’s Mt. Jefferson in the background.)
There may also be some close encounters with lizards, eagles, or wild Turkey Vultures, one of the coolest birds on planet Earth! They love sitting on the electric poles or soaring lazily on the columns of warm air rising up from the cliffs.
If you make it to the top, why not do the whole loop? You’ll be rewarded with unbelievable views of the Island, lake, and canyon. If you really flex your powers of observation, you may even spot mysterious leftovers from homesteaders, like huge rock piles and weirdly-pruned junipers!