Rainbow Lake

90 degree days are not my favorites for hiking. Staying in the city is even worse. I thought I had an early start arriving at the Pratt Lake Trailhead at 7:40 am. By 7:45 am I was on the trail. By 7:55 am I was sweating. I should have set the alarm for 4:00 am. I set a steady though not particularly fast pace. Not many wildflowers left low on the trail. The steady forest kept the direct sunshine at bay. I took a short break at the Olallie Lake overlook. Mt. Rainier was in the clear. I was on Bandera Mountain a few weeks ago. The beargrass display was spectacular. It often is. I was not convinced that it was a special year for them. Since then I have seen reports for other hikes showing a whole lot of beargrass. the Olallie overlook often has some beargrass along the trail and up the rocky slope. This year it is ridiculous. It's not a few dozen beargrass it's many hundreds. Very impressive.

I continued on to the Pratt Lake - Defiance Trail junction. I stayed on the ridge heading for Rainbow and Island Lakes. The beargrass display just kept getting better. The trail was just a thin brown line between rows of beargrass. The trail leaves forest and traverses the southern slope. It was getting toasty. From the high point I dropped quickly towards the lakes. Near the Island - Rainbow junction there was a patch of snow. On the way out it was nearly melted. That was it for snow. I arrived at Rainbow Lake at 10:20 am. It already felt like 80+ degrees. I dropped to my usual spot along the shore to find... the remains of a fire. Within 6 feet of the water. No fire ring. One log was 6 feet long. I remove all the logs and burned wood. Folks, do not have fires at lakes above 4000' right on the shore. Wrong on multiple levels.

I put lots of sunscreen on and I sat back to enjoy the day. Soon two folks and two big dogs arrived. Time to cool off, people and dogs. I took off my boots to soak my feet. Near shore the water was cool but not too cold. Folks who dove in suggested it was still very cold farther out. Two more folks arrived with a boombox. At least they kept the music low. The first group left and was replaced with a larger group. when they left I had my spot to myself. People behaved well and a bit of a crowd did not detract from the day. I had a little shade and plenty of sun if I wanted it. I opted mostly for the shade.

I brought a book and managed to get one third of the way through it. One of the benefits of solo hikes is I had no schedule. I planned to spend most of the day at the lake. I succeeded. Finally, at 3:30 pm I packed up to leave. The climb out of the valley was hot. Once I made it around Pratt Mountain and back into the forest it was much nicer. My trip down was about the same speed as the trip up. I did make a stop at the Olallie overlook once again. Rainier was now mostly in the haze. There were a few folks coming up as I went down but I did not see many hikers. I made it back to the car at about 6:00 pm.

It was a successful day as I spent most of it at Rainbow Lake. It was warm but much more comfortable than being in the city. After the first couple of groups sat down next to me it was pretty quiet for the rest of the day at the lake. The beargrass display was much better than I have ever seen on this hike. The huckleberry crop looks like it will be a good one this year Another reason for a late summer return visit. All in all, not a bad way to spend a day much too hot for my comfort.

Pink Flower
Small Falls
Cool Breeze
Crumbling Boardwalk
Beargrass Begins
Big Beargrass
Olallie Lake Overlook
Buncha Beargrass
Lining The Trail
Beargrass Very Close Up
Darker Background
Mt. Defiance
Berry Bushes
Rainbow Lake
Fire On Lake Shore
Settling In
Bandera Behind Lake
No Fires
Big Bunch
Single Bloom
Nice Highlighting
Another Close Up
Lining The Trail
Good Lighting
Queen's Cup
Repair Work
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2014