|Ansel Adams Wilderness, CA|
|Ansel Adams Wilderness, CA|| |
Ansel Adams Wilderness, CA
|Backpack||26.66 Miles||3 Days |
|4,673 ft AEG|
|DAY 1--HURRAY! ~Commence long anticipated backpacking trip in the Eastern Sierra!
After our departure from car camping in Mammoth, 9L and I grabbed breakfast and headed over to the lift area to figure out the shuttle system. Tickets were $7.00 and this included the return. We filed in a long line and watched as a bus was filling to capacity. Luckily, the next shuttle appeared almost instantly. It seems that it follows the 15 minute schedule very loosely? Considering it was Thursday of a holiday weekend the parking at the lift area was pretty full as was the shuttle. Luckily our trailhead was at the first shuttle stop. We had to make sure the driver knew that we were getting off there because it turned out we were the only two hikers for this stop. Most
other people were going to see the popular hike known as Devils Postpile.
We were dropped off on a wide dirt road, wooded on both sides. Further along we came along to a few parking areas for the trail head and it’s still uncertain why these people have access to park there but we were informed to take the shuttle .
We soon left the road to for the true trail which overlooked the beautiful views of Agnew Meadows. There were wooded areas too and 9L pointed out there were a lot of fallen trees lining the trail that must have been a lot of work for whoever was responsible for maintaining the trail. Eventually the trail gradually picks up in elevation so I was able to still go at a decent pace, but it was really humid. We really enjoyed the views of the river and checking out idyllic campsites along the water. The trail continues to gradually pick up elevation and we saw only a few people the whole time. I was grateful to get to our high point for the day which also marked being close to our destination-Thousand Island Lake and eventually our camp. The elevation is about right at the tree line and we kept our eyes out for tundra critters- MARMOTS. The views never stop along this trail and as we drop down toward the lake and I'm beyond happy to know that we will be staying there for two nights and have time to explore the area. We found an absolutely PERFECT campsite- situated just off the trail. Boulders and some dense trees encompass the site and provide such awesome shelter --we had so much privacy. The privacy was appreciated considering that this is such a popular location and we continued to see other backpackers trickle in throughout the day and evening. Camp was set up and camp chores were done. Dinner and beer were enjoyed on a large boulder that bordered our campsite on the east. From our high boulder perch we could see so much of the shoreline beyond our camp and picturesque views of Mt. Banner directly to our south across the lake. In the distance we spotted two cascades running down from Mt. Banner. After dinner I felt like an exploratory walk around our neighborhood was in order (otherwise I would be passing out too early^^) It was awesome to check out the beauty of the lakeshore and we saw an abundance of great camping options (though none as perfect as ours ) Back at camp we settled in pretty early. I slept so wonderfully, though I briefly awakened to the storm that passed by which only enhanced my sleep. The sound of rain from the inside of a tent is Heavan~
DAY 2- Lakes, Waterfalls and Sunburns^^^
We woke up and enjoyed a leisurely morning. Breakfast and coffee was enhanced by all of the amazing views in EVERY DIRECTION in spite of the loud and excited college kids with bad Matthew McConaughey impressions. We prepared camp for our day trip to prevent 9L's marmot friends from taking advantage of us while we were out. It was sooo nice to strap on daypacks and head for an easy day. We walked along the lake and made our way towards Banner and towards a waterfall/ cascade that we had spotted from our camp the night before. At the cascade 9L took advantage of drinking the fresh water and I tried to catch some cute frogs that were hanging out there.
After leaving the waterfall we made up way to the pass we needed to cross in order to check out Garnet Lake. This was an easy 400 feet of gain to a ridgeline. The views opened up in all directions. The ridgeline rose higher to the north so we decided to follow it and profit from all the scenic views and photo ops. After getting our fill of the views we dropped down into Garnet Lake which eventually put us in view of another cascade that drained into Garnet Lake. There is so much to see and explore we would need days and days^^. We found a comfortable rock along the water for some lunch and water filtration. The temps felt great and there was no one visible for miles ( unlike our camp at Thousand Island Lake). I noticed that I was getting a sunburn around this time. Strong sunshine up in these parts. The shoreline of Garnet Lake is more rugged than 1,000 Island Lake which is rocky but flat overall. After break we followed the rocky trail along Garnet Lake and ultimately connected to another trail looping us back to camp while passing several other glacial lakes along the way.
At camp I ate devoured food because I'm ALWAYS hungry while backpacking (unlike 9L), while he greeted arriving backpackers and guided them to great campsites, far away lol. I settled down on my awesome boulder overlooking the lake to watch some other campers swimming in the lake to an island, and another group was fishing. Before too long I got restless and we made dinner. Afterwards, I promptly passed out on accident due to food coma ( in the tent) and woke up two hours later in the evening. It was a bummer to have missed out on the evening of our last night. 9L was kind enough to share his last beer with me while we looked over the lake and that was pretty much it for our last night.
Day 3- Addios! The wilderness was good to us!...
Another leisure morning taking our time again with breakfast and drinking in the views for the last day. I walked down to the lake and waded in the water while 9L hung out with his marmot friends again . It’s difficult to leave such a beautiful place, but I started to get my stuff together reluctantly. We both took our time and still managed to leave mid-morning. The overcast temps were wonderful and I got to feel like a "cool JMT hiker" getting in 6 miles of beautiful John Muir trail. This stretch is beautiful and I'd love to see more of the JMT. Who wouldn't want to spend more time in the Sierra??? I could really appreciate the wildflowers blooming in abundance and bursting color all over. After a lovely and colorful portion of downhill trail and we ended up taking a break near a bridge that 9L had remembered from his previous trip. We stopped again to rest at Shadow Lake- a popular destination for day hikers and the place where he had to leave the JMT
We made really awesome time going back so this is pretty much a blur for me of fast walking. We completed the lasso loop and all too soon we are back at the trailhead awaiting the shuttle.
This trip marks second time in the Sierra and it's always a memorable trip! In addition this would be the highest in elevation that I've ever camped. I've done a lot of high elevation hiking but I've not camped in Tundra until this- its close enough to the treeline and is very windy, rocky and mossy and ultimately pristine wilderness