Monday, August 11, 2008

Talapus and Olallie Lakes

Oh the battery issues! I can't even begin to explain how frustrating this trail was. It wasn't me, my friend was feeling it as well. He began the trail by saying that he needed to remember how important it is to be outdoors and learn to appreciate it. I wanted to mention to him that it was true that his photography had been different lately, but to remind him that not only had he just purchased a new lens and was learning how to use it (along with an update to the camera software) but each place he visits is a new challenge. Not knowing what to expect, it can be hard to compose a shot, and with new equipment to contend with...forget about it! Not to dwell too long on the amazing talents of my good friend, I'm glad he's had a moment to appreciate how important photography is to him and how much his talents impact the people around him. What he's taken recently is beyond words.

But I digress...

All weekend I was having battery troubles. I had brought rechargeables with me but my camera was eating up the power as fast as I could compose a shot. It was driving me crazy. At one point I'm sure I scared the bears in the area with the loud "Fuuuuuck" that I yelled.

The trail starts off at a very high elevation so it makes the trek to the lakes an easy one. At the trail head we ran to a fisherman with a kid strapped to his back. I'm assuming he didn't catch her, but you never can tell. He was an interesting fellow who it seems did not bring his daughters bottle and had to turn around before making it up to the lake. A pity, as he seemed to really want to fish and we saw a ton of fish jumping in both lakes. They were little guys, but still it would have been fun to catch and release.

On the way up we paralleled a creek and as my friend took the opportunity to shoot one of the waterfalls at a particular point, I spotted a dark little area with a small fall onto a rock that would afford me a nice opportunity to try my hand at fogging. I was so freakin excited that I actually did it, that I don't think I spent enough time working with the shot. I could have left the shutter open a lot longer. Now I know, plus the addition of a polarizer to my filter collection will help in capturing future waterfalls. Usually my camera lets in so much light it's hard to really leave my shutter open. I'm excited to see another waterfall and test it out.

The fall colors are just starting to show and this little branch against a big granite boulder really showcased the changing season. From the trail we saw a clearing through the trees. Just a small walk in and the valley opened up below us. I climbed a little on some of the large pieces of granite, but I started to fear an avalanche as some of them were moving so I jumped down quickly.

Getting to Talapus, the first of the two lakes, was very easy. Unfortunately it's so easy that there were already a few people there. One passive aggressive couple that took up the pathway to the logs that overlook the lake, one family who was constantly in each shot my friend tried to set up (giant lens...I'm sure he was able to get the entire cascade region with that wide angle) and then a foreign family that was...well...interesting.

Deciding he wasn't going to get in any good shots then, we headed up to the next lake. Olallie is actually off a side trail from the main trail to Pratt Lake. Keep an eye out for the sign about 3/4 of a mile past Talapus. A small hike up the hill and you come to a clearing with a nice view of the whole lake. A lady had set up a tent there and was sitting inside reading. My friend wanted to get a better view of the lake so we went bushwacking through the trails to some campsites and I let him head off into the muck while I tried to capture a flower.

Damn you flower...damn you. My camera had run out of batteries just as I spied this little guy basking in the sun. I love these flowers and I usually only start to see them at a certain elevation so they are kind of a marker as to how high I've climbed. However, every time I would press the shutter down after composing my shot the camera would shut down because of the low batteries. Finally I was able to squeeze out the above shot before my camera died for good.

To tell you how frustrated we both were at the lake, we sat down to enjoy our sandwiches and all the sudden I saw a bald eagle fly from the top of a tree and dive into the lake to grab a fish and watched it soar over the lake and drop the meal off into a nest located just across the lake. I had never seen a bald eagle before and I was in awe, but as we waited for him to do it again to take a picture of it I found myself actually getting mad at the bald eagle for sitting up in the tree and not diving down again. I seriously yelled at a bald eagle, that's how bad it was.

We wanted to head all the way up to Pratt Lake, but we had a bit of late start (what else is new) and the trail was pretty hard to keep track of during the day. I can only imagine what a pain it would be in the dark, and neither one of us was feeling like getting lost and camping over night, so we decided to head back down. We stopped again at Talapus Lake and luckily found it empty. We were visited by a cute little chipmunk that came so close to me I probably could have fed it, and an interesting little muskrat who kept popping his head up to check us out.

I want to do this hike again. I'm really interested to see Pratt Lake but in all this was a good trail. Two lakes, at least, and an easy hike through beautiful forest. What more could you ask for? Ok...don't answer that mr. bald eagle...I'm sorry for yelling at you.

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