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.

Talapus Later
Olallie In
Olallie Out
Olallie Shore
Pratt Outlet
Pratt Dark
Pratt Out
Tiger Lily
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2006