Rainbow Lake

There will not be many hot days left this year. Heck, there weren't many hot days all summer. Kim joined me for my annual visit to Rainbow Lake. I tried back at the start of July but deep snow turned me back within a half mile of the lake. Snow was not a problem this time. Not wanting to be heading uphill in the heat of the day we opted for an early start. We were at the trailhead by 7:50 and on the trail by 8:00 am. I was not surprised to see that the parking lot was already more than half full. It was comfortably warm as we got started.

A few folks passed us in the first mile. Most early hikers are heading up to Granite Mountain. After the junction we did not see anyone for quite a while. Although we had 2900' to gain on the day it is never steep. At about 2 1/2 miles the route turns up the valley of Talapus and Olallie Lakes. Immediately the noise of the highway disappeared. A lone runner zoomed on by heading down. At 4 miles is the overlook for  Olallie Lake. The great view of past years is quickly disappearing as trees grow up to block the view. For now you can still see Mt. Rainier and most of the lake. Rainier had some clouds around it heralding the coming wet weather. For this day it was warm and warming rapidly.

On my earlier visit there as a tree right on the trail along the ridge and several more on the steep slope going around Pratt Mountain. All the trees have been cut out. Easy walking now. on the narrow tread above Talapus Lake a big group passed us by. I hoped they were headed to Island Lake. This year everything is behind schedule and fall color is no exception. I have had great color in the last mile to the lake in mid September many years. Not so this year. Almost no color at all. Hopefully that will change in the next few weeks.

We arrived at the lake in time for lunch. To my relief there was nobody else there. We both brought books and spent the next few hours enjoying the sun, the lake, and the quiet. It sure beat the heck out of a day in the city. A few clouds moved through and provided a little cooling off and on. Almost perfect conditions. A little wading proved the water was still plenty cold. Cold and refreshing. A group arrived and a few of them hopped into the water. They did not stay long. One guy did do some fishing.

We packed up after 3 hours of laying around relaxing. One more stop. We headed over to the outlet and followed the old trail down towards Blazer Lake. It is a little overgrown since I brushed it last year. I did a little bit of clean up. We went down to the overlook of Blazer. Great view down to the lake and up to Kaleetan Peak. It was almost 3:30 pm already so we did not go all the way down to the lake. We headed back up to Rainbow and then headed back.

The first step is to climb back up to the high point some 300' above. From there it's almost all downhill to the car. I was surprised to not see anyone coming in. We did have a few groups pass us on their way out. As the clouds thickened the temperature dropped a little. It was then almost perfect. We made it out with about 45 minutes of daylight left. This was a nice relaxing trip. It was still 11 miles round trip with 2900' of elevation gain but the gentle grade made it easy. The long stay at the lake was a nice change from the short stays at most peaks or lakes. It's great to occasionally spent much of the day at the destination on a day trip. Rain did come in overnight but we had a great day.

Bear Sighting
Along The Trail
Olallie Lake
Blooming Paintbrush
Mt. Defiance Summit
Mt. Defiance
Blooming Beargrass?
Rainbow Lake
Cloudy Reflection
Blazer Lake
Flowering Strawberry?
More Wildflowers
Leaves Still Green
Best Fall Color
Olallie Lake Again
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Trips - 2011