Monday, September 28, 2015

Hiking the Alpine Lakes Wilderness

We recently decided to check-off another box on our hiking "to do" list by taking a hike in the southern portion of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.  Our plan was to hike around 8-10 miles and see three or four lakes starting at the Talapus Lake trail head.

Map and driving directions to the Talapus Lake trail head:

Take exit 45 from I-90  to Forest Road 9030.  In 1 mile bear right at the junction. Continue straight to the trail head at the end of the road.  Warning - If you are not familiar with forest service roads in the Pacific Northwest - this is a rough road in places - gravel with many large potholes and several places with a washboard surface.

Talapus Lake Trail Head
After journeying along about an additional 2 miles of bone-jarring logging road, we arrived at the trail head parking lot.   Parking in this area requires a US Forest Service pass be displayed on your vehicle.

Alpine Lakes Wilderness - Permit Required Sign

Since this is a wilderness area, it does require a wilderness use permit be completed for each group.  The permit is free, and after filling it out, half is left at the trail head and the other half kept in the possession of someone in the hiking group.

Map For this Hike

Map of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness at the Talapus Lake Trailhead
Although we brought a trail map with us, we took a moment to orient ourselves with the area by looking at the map of the Alpine Lakes wilderness posted at the trail head.

Talapus Lake Trail
After completing the permit paperwork, we set off on the trail.  It starts off with a wide path through a thick forest of tall trees.

Hank My Border Collie on the Talapus Lake Trail
Much to Hank's dismay, because of the heavy use of this trail, dogs must be kept on leash.  Hank looks at me as if to say "Can't you move any faster?"

Talapus Lake Trail

Soon the trail narrows into a picturesque path through moss-covered boulders and numerous switchbacks.

Hank takes a drink from a stream
Further along the trail intersects and then follows along a stream where there is easy access for Hank to get a drink.

Old Puncheons on the Talapus Lake Trail

We also crossed over some old puncheons before arriving at Talapus Lake.

Talapus Lake - Washington

The glassy surface of Talapus Lake was inviting, but after watching another group jump in and hearing their shrieks after shooting back up to the surface of the icy cold waters, we opted to merely enjoy the view.  It was still morning and it wasn't hot enough to need a major cool down.

Olallie Lake/ Pratt Lake Sign in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness
We continued on the trail toward our second destination - Olallie Lake.  

Ollalie Lake - Alpine Lakes Wilderness - Washington

Ollalie Lake had a lovely camping/picnic site near the lake, but it was already being used by a family with small children.  Since Hank sometimes becomes uneasy around the unpredictable actions of children, we only made a brief stop before resuming our hike.

Mount Rainier in the distance in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness
Along the way to Island Lake, the trail began a long steady climb along some narrow ledges.  I had to watch my steps carefully and it would have been easy to get distracted by the stunning views, including some of Mount Rainier in the distance.  

A Frog Attacks Hank the Border Collie
We descended down into a valley with numerous ponds and wetlands.  Because I thought Hank could use a swim to cool off and since there was no one around for him to bother, I let him off leash to take a dip.  He immediately spotted a frog and went out into the water to investigate.  Much to Hank's shock, the frog started swimming toward him.  Hank jumped back to avoid being attacked by that scary frog!
Island Lake - Alpine Lakes Wilderness - Washington State
After surviving the frog attack we hiked about a mile further and arrived at the much less popular Island Lake.  We were ready for a break and fortunately we had traveled enough miles from the trail head to enjoy our lunch in peace and solitude.  The paths down to the lake were rather faint, so we did a little bit of bushwhacking to get to a spot on the water. Seeing the numerous little rock islands in the lake provided a clue to the origins of its name.  After finishing lunch and consulting with our map, we decided to take what appeared to be about a 1.5 mile side trip to see a 4th lake.

Rainbow Lake - Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington
A short side trail led to beautiful little Rainbow Lake.  After a few minutes enjoying the views and taking some photos, we began our long trip back to the trail head.  Apparently our numerous little side trips added up.  When we arrived back at the parking lot the pedometer indicated we had gone 14 miles - a few more than the 8-10 we had estimated at the start of our hike.  No wonder we were tired!
If you are interested in even longer hikes, I recommend checking out Top 50 Long Distance Hiking Trails in the USA

Monday, September 7, 2015

Tim is a Border Collie who Rolls

On one of our walks this weekend I saw Tim suddenly throw himself down on the ground and then his feet flew up into the air.  I knew right then that we were in trouble.

Border Collie Rolling in the Grass

Tim isn't a dog who likes to just roll in the fresh grass.  He only rolls when he finds something he likes to roll in and he only likes to roll in things that are smelly and nasty.

A Border Collie After Taking a Roll
When Tim is done rolling, he jumps up covered in something disgusting and looks happy and very pleased with himself.

Deer Poop
An inspection of the site where Tim rolled reveals the roll-worthy stuff - deer poop!

Dog After Rolling in Deer Poop

Why do dogs roll in smelly stuff?

No one really knows for sure why some dogs like to roll in smelly things.  There are numerous theories.  It is possible that the nasty stuff smells so good to Tim that he wants to smell just like that - in other words, it is doggie cologne.  Since Tim has a strong prey drive and is quite a rodent hunter I tend to believe another possible theory that he going back to the ancient instincts and is trying to hide his "wolf scent" from prey.

Dog Shame Photo - I Rolled in Something Smelly and Disgusting
Of course, I couldn't pass up the chance to do a dog shame photo.  As you can see from Tim's smiling face, it doesn't bother him one tiny bit to be shamed.

Bath Time for Tim the Border Collie
As you can see from his expression, Tim is not as pleased with what comes later - a bath!  However, as smart as he is, Tim either doesn't make the connection between rolling and the subsequent bath or perhaps the joy of rolling is just too great to resist even if he means he will have to suffer through a bath later.  Since this is a fairly frequent occurrence with Tim, he gets bathed often.  He has rather sensitive skin, so we have tried several dog shampoos and Earthbath All Natural Dog Shampoo, Oatmeal & Aloe is our favorite.

Sometimes if he rolls in something when we are hiking, at the beach or camping and must take him back home in the car before we can bathe him, I also keep some Earthbath All Natural Hypo-Allergenic and Fragrance-Free Grooming Wipes in my car and trailer to do a quick clean-up.

Do you have a dog who rolls?