Keekwulee Falls, Melakwa Lake, Lower Tuscohatchie Lake, Pratt Lake -- August 7, 2005

This hike is rated 5 boots out of 5 on the Hiking Boot-o-meter.

Topo map of the route

I-90 Eastbound.  Exit 31.  North Bend.  Way too early on a Sunday morning.  We met Rick at our usual North Bend Factory Outlet (NBFO) rendezvous spot after the usual stop at the Shell Station for the usual breakfast muffin and coffee,

and then, unusually enough, motored in tandem briskly up toward Snoqualmie Pass, veering northward at Exit 47 and proceeding to the Pratt Lake / Granite Mountain trailhead where we rudely cast aside Rick's big 'ol dirty Crown Vic, hoping to see it again at the end of the day as one of the key components of our car shuttle from the Denny Creek trailhead (where our dirty Mazda would spend the day), past Keekwulee and Snowshoe Falls, up to Melakwa Lake, across to Lower Tuscohatchie Lake, along Pratt Lake, around Olallie Lake, and finally back to the Pratt Lake / Granite Mountain trailhead.   

So, having dispensed with the big 'ol dirty Crown Vic, we all piled into our dirty Mazda and drove the 3 miles to the Denny Creek trailhead, almost flattening a squirrel along the way.  In any case, we were all happy to finally almost be atrail, having left the vehicular logistics in arears.

Rick scouted out the trailhead kiosk and gleefully filled out the Alpine Lakes hiking permit which he then fastened to his pack.

The happy look on his face fairly screamed out: "Alpine Lakes - my most favorite place in the whole world!!!"  Well said, Rick.

Here we are sneaking underneath the westbound lanes of I-90.

And there it was again: "Alpine Lakes - my most favorite place in the whole world!!!".  We heard it plain as day.  Was it the gentle breeze in the trees?  Was it the water flowing happily in Denny Creek?  Were we just hearing things again?  Or was it Rick?  We're pretty sure it was Rick.

We finally dragged ourselves into the Pratt Lake / Granite Mountain trailhead parking lot, and were most gratified to find Rick's big 'ol Crown Vic waiting there for us in all its dirty splendor.

Here we see Sue somewhat playfully pretending to prepare to impale Rick with one of her walking sticks to thank him for leading us on this butt-busting hike.  We decided to spare him this time, since we needed him to drive us back to the Denny Creek trailhead where our trusty Zoomer was waiting for us.  We never did figure out why this hike had kicked our butts as badly as it did.  The 10.75 miles wasn't inordinate, so maybe it was the 3,700 feet of elevation gain.  In any case, with the benefit of hindsight, it really was a good hike, and we talked about getting back to this area for an overnight backpack trip sometime.

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