Rushing to Thousand Island Lake

12 June 2020
Rush Creek Trailhead to Thousand Island Lake and back
(15 miles, +5,000/-5,000 feet).

Today was an extremely dramatic day!  That storm that kept us from backpacking at Rae Lakes came through and at times it nearly blew us off the mountain.  When we started our hike near Silver Lake, it was only about 40 degrees.  The temperature climbed through the day, but so did we, so it stayed chilly the whole time.

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Half Cookie admires some Mule’s Ears
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Carson Peak dominated our morning view
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Tramway!
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Awwwww!
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Looking back on Silver Lake

It was nice to be in the Sierra, but the Rush Creek drainage is basically a series of man-made lakes.  We decided to turn away from the drainage to try to get away from the endless horse apples on the trail to Gem Lake and to seek some unspoilt views.

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Agnew Lake
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The Gem Lake dam above
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Climbing through rocks and snow on our way to Spooky Meadow
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Climbing up!
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An ancient giant loses her feet
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Half Cookie crosses Spooky Meadow Creek

Spooky Meadow was quite lovely, but we still had another 1000 feet to climb so we did not linger.

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Spooky Meadow from above

Then the views started to get really pretty all around as we passed through Clark Lakes, over Agnew Pass, and by Summit Lake.

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A beautiful cliff perched above upper Spooky Meadow
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First view of Ritter and Garnet
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A Clark Lake
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Made it!
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Summit Lake

We then headed down to the Pacific Crest Trail to finish up our trip to Thousand Island Lake.

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Down to the PCT
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Ritter and Garnet from the PCT
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Thousand Island Lake!

We knew there was snow (!?!) coming in around 5pm, but we didn’t want to rush away, so we took a nice long break at Thousand Island Lake before heading back.

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Tarn below Thousand Island Lake
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One last peek at the peak
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Thousand Island Lake outlet

On the way back we stopped one more time at an overlook where we could see up and down the San Joaquin River valley.

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Looking west
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Looking south
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Looking southeast towards Mammoth Mountain

The first few miles back we went the other way around Clark Lakes through some pretty meadows and this time there was more snow on trail.

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Pretty meadow!
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Half Cookie navigates the snow
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More Clark Lakes
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And another!
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Pretty flowers!
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And more snow….

Soon we were back on our original path and descending to the trailhead.

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Cliffs above upper Spooky Meadow
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Carson Peak
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Heading down to Spooky Meadow
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Back across the creek
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More pretty flowers
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Starting our descent to Agnew Lake
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Switchbacks above Agnew Lake
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A glimpse of Silver Lake — almost done!

The last few miles seemed really long, especially since I was a little worried about the weather.  But we made it down and enjoyed a nice meal at the Mexican place in June Lake.  Sweet!

 

 

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