In mid September we ventured over Sonora Pass to the Eastern Sierras for an epic 2 night backpacking trip with the intentions to hit as many alpine lakes as we could find. The ultimate goal was to get to Thousand Island lake, a 2.5 mile long lake at 9840 feet elevation dotted with many islands, in Ansel Adams Wilderness.
We started the mostly uphill trek from Rush Creek Trailhead near Silver and June lakes. Switchbacks led us up all the way to Agnew lake then Gem lake, with views of Silver and Mono lakes behind us the whole way. Waugh lake didn’t hold any water this time of year so we set up camp night 1 tucked in by a creek between Gem and Waugh lakes.
Day 2 we packed up and hiked past Waugh, side tripped to see Davis lake, then up part of John Muir trail to Thousand Island lake. The whipping winds made it a short stop but didn’t take anything away from the panoramic view of this gorgeous area and Mount Davis commanding the horizon.
We carried on past the blue green waters of Emerald lake then to Ruby lake where grand walls grew vertically up around its borders. Just some short switchbacks up from there we found Garnet lake and an astonishing backdrop of Banner Peak and Mount Ritter. We watched a beautiful sunset from our campsite as the harvest moon began rising from the other side of the sky, so bright but still allowing us incredible views of the milky way. We traded the terrific views from our campsite for an incredibly windy sleepless night.
Day 3 we continued on a loop back out to the trailhead and hit Badger lake, Summit lake, and Clark lakes before winding down Spooky Meadow for our quick descent from 10,000 feet back down to the trailhead.
This trail was a very physical challenge but jam packed with the incredible alpine wilderness that the Eastern Sierras have to offer.