29 forum posts
Wife and daughter picked a place closer to home this time and a little more elevation gain for our 2nd overnight. The trailhead was about an hour away from Tacoma. We arrived at the trail head around 9. Not so many cars in the parking lot so things looked good for the start of our trip. We started up the trail of lazy switch backs towards Talapus Lake which would be our first stop. The trail was well maintained and in the shade so the going was fairly easy. About an hour in we got to Talapus Lake and had our first break. The day hiker crowds started to show up so we moved on up the trail. the higher we went the less people we saw till we came up to the Pratt Lake Junction. From there we could see south all the way to Mt. Rainier. Things got a little steeper as we crossed a number of small talus fields and sharp switch backs. Finally the trail started to go back down and we could see Island Lake off in the distance. About 45 minutes later we got to our site next to the lake. The lake is situated in a small granite bowl surrounded by pine trees and has about four small islands. The bugs were out in force in our camp area so we gladly retreated to the lake where the wind kept the mosquitos at bay. My daughter played in the lake, we cooked dinner and enjoyed the warm weather until it was time to go to bed. We slept in late the next day and hiked back out. We saw only one other family the whole time we were at the lake. All in all it was much more of a wilderness experience then we had during our last trip. It was ironic since this trail is closer to Seattle and is under greater pressure than our last destination. We were very happy with the modifications we made to our packs from our first trip. Ditching the "must haves" like binoculors and wild flower field guides which we did not use on our first trip reduced our pack weights and made for happier parents. We cant wait to do some more trips locally here in the fall.