Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Thousand Island Lake

Map Track

18 miles

Sunrise over the Sierra crest
There is never a bad time for a hike to Thousand Island Lake, but timing it for fall colors or snow on the high peaks can improve the already amazing scenery. With this in mind, Susan and I took off on the High Trail (PCT) from Agnew Meadow for a loop that would hit about as many of the great views as you could expect from a single day hike. We got an early start and watched the sun rise on the Sierra Crest across the San Joaquin River canyon. We were greeted almost immediately by a nice flock of noisy Evening Grosbeaks in the mixed firs and pines. After a short but steep climb the trail levels out for the long traverse to the head of the canyon near Agnew Pass. Along the way the view across canyon is spectacular, particularly the view down into Shadow Lake with the Minarets, Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak behind.

Shadow Lake in the canyon notch slightly left of middle. The Minarets, Ritter and Banner beyond.
Traversing the canyon wall, hundreds of feet above the river, we passed numerous stands of spectacular peak color Aspens.

The trail wraps around the head of the canyon finally arriving at Thousand Island Lake - always a favorite of mine. It was over 30 years ago that my uncle took me on my first backpacking trip here, so besides the spectacular view across the lake to Banner Peak, it holds special memories for me. After an early lunch break we headed south on the John Muir Trail to continue the loop.

Thousand Island Lake and Banner Peak
The JMT crosses a couple of low ridges, passing two small lakes, before arriving at another Sierra gem - Garnet Lake.

Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake

Garnet Lake with Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak

Garnet Lake with Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak
We dropped down the steep but short trail segment from the outlet of Garnet Lake to the river trail, and walked the pleasant remaining miles back to Agnew Meadow.

Aspens along the trail
Olaine Lake
Bird Lists:

Agnew Meadow (High Trail)

Badger Lakes
Thousand Island Lake
Emerald Lake
Ruby Lake
Garnet Lake
Middle Fork San Joaquin River
Agnew Meadow (River Trail)

No comments:

Post a Comment