On July 4 the intrepid duo headed for Lake Serene. This was our second time on this trail and we were determined to finish the job this time. The last time we went, the truck was brand new and I left a Garmin GPS attached to the windshield and on the way up it occurred to me on the way up the trail that I could end up missing both a window and the GPS if I was away too long. So we went only to Bridal Veil falls and turned around.
This hike was relatively easy – a 7 mile round trip with a 2,000 foot elevation gain – but it promised a scenic lake at the end set between towering cliffs.
This was one of the most artificially built-up trails we have been on yet. Many of the steep parts had been made into a dirt and timbers staircase.
Even relatively flat places were framed in by timbers, but this did not make for easy going because the space between the timbers was filled by rocks of various sizes. Even coming back down it’s hard to make good time on tihs trail because you’re constantly watching your step to make sure you don’t twist an ankle on the uneven surface.
At the lake we crossed a long narrow bridge over a log jam on our way to what some hikers we met called “Lunch Rock”. And there we saw the magnificent view of – fog. (The slightly bluish tint just over the edge of the rock is beautiful Lake Serene, of which we saw only the near shore when we were standing right next to it.)
Buck didn’t mind the fog, so long as the chipmunks provided entertainment and I provided the treats I always give him as a reward at the end of the trail.
On the way back we made a side trip to the old “Honeymoon Mine” and investigated the abandoned tunnel.
Of course, there were picturesque waterfalls and creeks along the way. Unfortunately, many of my pictures did not turn out well. For the Dirty Harry hike I lugged my big and heavy Nikon D40 digital SLR, but I figured I’d cut some weight down by carrying a small point and shoot after that. So I got a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH20 and took it along for the Pratt Lake hike. It did OK on that sunny day, but on the cloudy 4th of July it was a disappointment. You would think that a digital camera these days could be made intelligent enough that if the auto-focus focuses on infinity for a scenery shot, it would know enough not to go to flash mode, or if it did go to flash mode, it would dynamically adjust the exposure when it realized that the flash had no effect whatsoever at that distance. But no, it didn’t. So many pictures turned out dark because the camera flashed and expected the flash to be effective. Once I figured out what was happening I turned the flash off, but then what I found out was that the ISO rating is not that high and the stabilization control was not that effective and many pictures turned out blurry from a too-slow shutter speed. At any rate, I did get a couple of pictures of streams and waterfalls, one on the way up, and one on the way down when the fog had rolled in.