Four Lakes Afternoon
With a beautiful summer day unfolding and a not so
beautiful weekend in store, I chose to work a half day and head to the mountains.
I was out the door at 12:30 and pulled into the Talapus Lake lot just before
1:30. The road has been freshly regraded and is in excellent shape. There
were 6 or 7 cars in the lot. I reached Talapus Lake in 36 minutes, stopping
only for a quick photo. The trailhead sign says 2.2 miles to Talapus and
only another .80 miles to Olallie. That is crazy as it took me another 25
minutes to reach Olallie. I hiked along Olallie and took the connector trail
up to the Pratt Lake Trail. At the Olallie Lake overview Mt. Rainier was partly
in the clouds.
I reached the Pratt - Defiance junction at 3:00, taking 1 1/2 hours. The
drop to Pratt seemed longer than I remembered. I did see the bottom of the
old Pratt Trail following it up a short way to be sure. When I reached an
open overview above the shore of Pratt Lake I met two other hikers. Linda
remembered meeting me at Mason Lake a year earlier. She and Vic had reached
their turn around point and were enjoying the lake and the sun. We had a
long and enjoyable conversation.
It was after 4:00 pm when I took off for Tuscohatchie Lake. It's about
a 1/2 mile between lakes and I covered the distance in 9 minutes. Tuscohatchie
was my turn around point. I walked out on some big logs and ate my dinner.
There were a few fish jumping. The bugs were noticeable but not all that
annoying. Now it was time to head back. After a quick return to Pratt Lake
I checked out the campsites. I stumbled into a patch of almost ripe blueberries.
They were blue but just a little tart. A photo of the lake from the outlet
and I was on my way again.
There is a 700' climb back up to the ridge and trail junction. As I left
the lake I noticed big black clouds moving in. It was darker but also cooler
for the climb. At the junction I met two day hikers. Just past the Olallie
overlook I met a larger group of 6-8 after work hikers. They said they work
for Kenworth I believe. I quick jaunt down the connector trail brought me
back to Olallie. I spent a few minutes poking through the brush and mud looking
for a way to the north shore. After several false starts I found the route
and had a nice view of the lake.
Back on trail it was back to an easy grade to Talapus where I had a dramatically
different view of the lake than 4 1/2 hours earlier. 32 minutes later I was
back at my car. This is an easy route which allows for a visit to four lakes
with a reasonable effort. All totaled I covered about 11 miles with 2600'
gained. Not a bad after work hike.
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.
Trips - 2006