Rainbow Lake

With a day near 80 degrees forecast, I headed to a mountain lake. After long drives the last few weeks I opted for a short one. Rainbow Lake fit the bill. I arrived at the Pratt Lake Trailhead at 7:45 am. The lot was already 3/4th full. It was short sleeve warm as I set out at 7:50 am. I passed two groups by the half mile point and then I had solitude most of the way to the lake. There are some trillium in bloom. A few yellow violets too. I stopped at the Olallie Lake overview. Mt. Rainier was clearly visible. I met two women there. They were heading for Pratt Lake. At the junction I stayed on the ridge heading for Rainbow Lake.

After last year's great beargrass show I was curious if it was near blooming on the ridge. Not even close. The snow has been gone for a few weeks or more. The Beargrass grass is green but I did not see any stalks at all. Maybe by the end of May. As the trail contours around Olallie Lake and then Talapus there is a good late spring wildflower show. Not yet. Some phlox was blooming but no paintbrush, lupine, or any other flowers. No snow either. There were only a few snow patches in the area of the trail junction with the route over to Island Lake. Hardly any at all. It will be gone within a week or so. The berry bushes near the lake are just now beginning to leaf out. I did see a few berries forming but not many yet.

I reached the lake at 10:20 am. There was nobody else there yet. At least nobody that I could see or hear. That changed soon enough. It is a fairly long hike in but a lot of folks made the trek this day. I found my lounging rock and settled in. In total I spent 4 hours at the lake. It was warm and sunny but there was an occasional cool breeze that helped. Folks came and went all day. Some were loud enough to hear their conversations around the lake and some were very quiet. It was not "getting away" but it was a whole lot better than a hot day in the city. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. At about 2:15 pm I packed up and headed over to the abandoned trail to Blazer Lake.

Across the outlet and a right turn took my to the wide spot in the side creek that is a pain to cross. The almost submerged log held my weight. It is now easier to cross higher up the creek. The trail is in good shape. The meadow is snow free but the sea of marsh marigolds are not yet flowering. I did see marsh marigolds on the Pratt Lake Trail below the crossing of the Olallie Lake inlet creek. The pond next to the meadow has skunk cabbage that have not grown above the water level.

I did a little pruning along the Blazer Lake spur trail but there is very little new growth blocking the route. I took a few photos from the Blazer overlook and went down to near the washout detour. After brushing I headed back up to Rainbow. At 3:00 pm it was time to head back. One good climb out of the valley then it was almost all downhill. I saw several groups while heading out but it was pretty quiet on the trail. It was shady in the forest and just about the perfect temperature for hiking. I was not in a big hurry to get out. In fact, it took just about the same 2 1/2 hours to hike out as it had to hike in going uphill in the morning.

It was a very good way to spend a day in the mountains. 5.5 miles of hiking to get in. A long stay at the lake. Some trail work and then a leisurely hike out. No great mountain views but that was not the point. For the day I hiked about 11 miles with 3000' of elevation gain.

Pratt Lake Trail
Olallie Lake
Vibrant Moss
Mt. Rainier
Boulder Field
Mt. Defiance
Rainbow Lake Reflection
Rainbow & Bandera Mt.
Lounging Rocks
Leaves Opening
Blazer Lake
Kaleetan Peak
Pond Reflection
Old Beargrass
Yellow Violet
Marsh Marigold
Cut Log
Final Falls
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2015