Wednesday I awoke, it was cold and the heater had turned on, it whirred and clicked. It whirred again. Something was different. Where was the Robin that so irritatingly called me awake at 5am? The room was stuffy, I’d shut the window sometime before dawn. Little wet blobs clung to the glass, was that rain?
The forest fires seemed to have burned away the last of Summer, leaving only a startling Autumn. Clouds have enrobed the mountains in a slate gray veil. The promise of Pumpkin Spice lattes looms heavy in my mind. Are we here already?
The best way to know the future is to look at the mountains. All the weather comes from The Pacific, across the valley, OVER the Cascades and down to Bend and Sunriver. So, I went to the mountains, to feel the imminent autumn for myself.
In keeping with all things creepy, cold, and mysterious I headed out towards The Devil’s Playground. This is an area along The Cascade Lakes Highway that features the eerily aqua colored Devil’s Lake, Satan’s Creek, and a huge Obsidian flow named The Devil’s Chair. Red pictographs are present along this pass, also the site of a legend Native American massacre. It is told that a Warm Springs man convinced a Klamath woman to travel away, North with him. His band of warriors were ambushed and killed at this site by Klamath Indians, lead by a rival lover. The pictographs are said to be a warning to others, to stay on ‘their side of the pass’.
The wind here was unbearable, fine drizzle seemed not to fall, just hang. The chill in my bones gave me a refreshingly urgent renewal. Fall is was coming, but with that also many good things. Good things like unpopulated trails and solitude at some of the more popular lakes. That in mind, I headed to Todd Lake.
Todd Lake is just around the corner from The Devil’s Playground, and one of the more popular lakes along The Cascade Lakes Highway. It’s no wonder why, it’s lovely; even when the FIRST SNOW CLOUDS are covering the iconic view of Broken Top. Prior to 1922 this was another one of Oregon’s Lost Lakes, named because it was difficult to find. The name was changed to honor John Y. Todd, builder of the first bridge across The Deschutes. Mr. Todd was also founder of Farewell Bend Ranch, Bend’s namesake.
Todd Lake offers an easy 1.25 lakeshore loop as well as access to The Green Lakes and Broken Top Trails.
It is also the access point for THE MAGICAL Road 370, open only to high clearance 4X4 vehicles (think JEEP). This road is a doozy! It is rocky, steep, and absolutely the most amazing road in Oregon! It travels 14 miles from Todd lake, along the base of Broken Top, to The Three Creeks area of The Three Sisters Wilderness. If were lucky it’ll be passable for another month, just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Todd Lake & The Devil’s Playground Pictographs are located 25 miles outside of Bend, along the Cascade Lakes Highway.