Saturday, August 28, 2010

A cold hike to a peaceful lake

" I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore... I hear it in the deep heart's core." -- William Butler Yeats

The eight-mile trip for a glimpse of Talapus Lake, one of several in the Pratt Lake basin near North Bend, wasn't as picturesque as other hikes have been but there was something more special about sitting beside the still water.

It wasn't chilly as I hiked up the first three miles of the path, stopping from time to time to
admire the many mini waterfalls that run across the trail or inspect massive leaves and tiny red berries. My favorite were the spooky-looking trees with clumps of stringy moss hanging from the branches.

The fog was thick and obscured views of
Snoqualmie Valley. But the forest was undisturbed and there was no one else walking in the area so it was a decent trade-off. Just after two miles or so, the trail curved east away from a rock waterfall set back a few feet. The water splashed down and streamed away in a creek that dropped down a gully.

From there you enter the Alpine Wilderness and have a choice to take a side path to Talapus and Ollalie lakes or keep straight and hike to Pratt Lake, which is another two miles. Since the views are not supposed to be any different at Pratt, I embarked on the downward slope until Talapus Lake revealed itself set deep in a basin. It was splendid to see.

The water was perfectly calm and the mountains surrounding it reflected like a mirror on the surface of the lake. There's always a blissful moment when coming upon something as naturally beautiful as a hidden lake but the temperature dropped swiftly and I found myself shivering in no time. When my fingers turned white and went numb, I reluctantly headed back toward the parking lot with the thought of finding another hike in area where the mercury would be over 50!

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