Rainbow Meadow & Blazer Lake

I needed to be home by early afternoon. I had not been able to get out on a good berry or fall color hike this year. It was time to get both and get home early. I headed up I-90 to the Pratt Lake trailhead. It was sunny but chilly at 8:25 when I headed up the trail. The warm mornings of summer are finished. I made good time and the elevation gain warmed me up. At the Olallie Lake overlook I could see Mt. Rainier and low clouds over the SF Snoqualmie Valley. It was warming up nicely. The colors on the trail above Talapus Lake was a little disappointing. Some reds and yellows but also a lot of green and shriveled.

The trail dropped down Rainbow Meadow between Pratt and Bandera Mountains. The colors here were much better. The berries were outstanding. Lots of them and much bigger than usual. Last year was awful for mountain berries but this year has been excellent. I've seen lots of green berries in July and August but this was my first opportunity to enjoy them fully ripe. No need to leave the trail as the bushes on both sides were loaded. It didn't look like many folks had been taking advantage of the crop around here.

Progress dropped to a crawl as the berries were perfectly ripe and very sweet. On my visit to Rainbow Lake in August I took time to brush out the old abandoned trail down to Blazer Lake. The bugs were bad at that time and I stayed at the lake for only a few minutes. Years ago I did fight through the brush and went to the far end of the lake. Now that the bugs were gone I wanted to make the trip again.

With the trail brushed it was easy to get down to Blazer Lake. The area near the inlet is usually muddy but with a dry summer it is now mostly dry. I found a fire ring there and a few footprints in the dirt. Looks like a few folks have been down to the lake. I bushwhacked a short way and noticed old tread. It looks like the trail to the lake continued down the far side. It is very overgrown and I lost it several times but it did continue to the outlet creek.

There are big boulders near the outlet along the lake shore. It makes a very nice place to look back down the lake and enjoy the sunshine. On the way back along the lake I stayed mostly on the old trail and found it dropped back to the end of the lake. That was easier than fighting through the thick brush along the shore. Someone brushed out the very start of the trail. Climbing back to Rainbow Lake took only about 10 minutes including some berry eating time.

Back at Rainbow Lake I met a couple who had hiked up Mt. Defiance via the Pratt Lake Trail. That's about the longest way to do it.  As I hiked out the crowds began. Split between day hikers and backpackers the groups continued coming in. I counted 15 people before I made it back to the junction heading down to Pratt Lake. That is more people heading into Island and Rainbow than I have ever seen and it's nearly October. The rest of the hike out was quick and easy. I was back at the car just before 2:00 pm.

The day was almost perfect. Some color and a whole lot of big sweet berries. A visit to Blazer Lake and finding more of the old abandoned trail. All that and I was back in town by late afternoon.

New Pratt Sign Board
Olallie Overlook
Mt. Rainier
Cloudy Talapus Lake
Mt. Defiance
Thumb Sized Berry
Rainbow Colors
Lounging Rocks
Big Mushroom
Blazer Lake
Kaleetan Peak
Mushroom Munching
Pratt Mt. Over Blazer
Fire Ring
Blazer Reflection
Big Trees
Rising Clouds
Bright Reds
Colorful Berry Bushes
Blazing Huckleberries
More Color
One More Mushroom
Red, Green, & Yellow
Rock & Color
Leaving Valley
Leaves & Sky
Multi Colored
Final Color
Talapus & Clouds
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2009