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Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

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Re: Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby maverick » Sat Jul 05, 2014 12:41 pm

Kpeter,

No turn offs, I am just referring to that branch of the trail going up to Spooky on a hot
day is not the best option for someone who is not in shape as a first day.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org



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Re: Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby Shawn » Sat Jul 05, 2014 3:36 pm

JohnS wrote:Shawn,
Doyle’s trip is still online. But there are 2 Fern Lakes in this area. He visited the one west of Devils Postpile on the trail that crosses King Creek.
http://www.doylewdonehoo.com/sierratrai ... ret001.htm

John


Ah ha ! Thanks for the clarification and link john, very helpful indeed. My day is complete as I've learned two new things (Doyle's trip report URL and the fact there are two Fern Lakes int he area. :)

Much appreciated.
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Re: Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby rsm333 » Sun Jul 06, 2014 2:37 pm

This is the trail coming down out of Spooky Meadows
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Re: Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby rsm333 » Sun Jul 06, 2014 2:42 pm

This is the Rush Creek Trail (across Agnew Lake from the Spooky Meadow Trail..either trail is tough first day.
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Re: Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby srnovak » Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:13 am

Hey guys....Just found this thread. A group of us that join up together every couple of years had to get a trip together rather quickly this year. Due to the time of the year, we decided on the Sierra high country as the best of spots to possibly avoid mosquitos. I know they can be bad anywhere, but the Sierras seemed like a good bet.

Anyways, to our dilemma. We want to cross up an over toward Mt Ritter from the Fern Lake area. We could not get permits to any of the easier access points and are attempting to find a route over the top.

Some of the resources we found said that there were fairly easy routes from Fern Lake and Spooky Meadows to the summit of Carson Peak, so we thought that may be a good route over. Then, we found this thread and are now concerned again.

We have 5-6 nights in the backcountry and are all experienced in cross country travel, but are going to have fairly heavy packs and no climbing gear.

Any thoughts?
Thanks!
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Re: Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby SSSdave » Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:41 pm

I would like to see posters provide map links when they post threads like this. Without looking at the topo these kind of discussions are relatively useless.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.74652,-119.11136&z=15&t=T

As an old topo savvy user, I can at an instant glance see the notion of traversing with a backpack from the Fern/Yost trail across Carson Peak to the Agnew Lake area to not being anywhere close to being possible. The vertical lines are way too close together and it is likely loose metamorphic talus and scree slopes mixed with bedrock given the geology there. But one can get there from Fern Lake by climbing up the modest gradients due south from Fern Lake up its cirque and over the plateau at 3220 meters (10560 feet). Probably a fair amount of metamorphic talus to negotiate. Since the trailhead is 7290 that would be a 3.3k or so climb or strenuous. Since Clark Lakes are at 9840 feet, that is an extra 720 feet uphill and extra offtrail mileage. Probably why no one does that.
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Re: Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby rsm333 » Tue Jul 29, 2014 3:37 pm

Take the "High Trail" from Agnew Meadows...you have a short climb at the very beginning, then a mostly level hike with great views. Having done Rush Creek, River Trail and the High Trail to this area, I think you wife and son will have a more pleasant hike in on the High Trail.
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Re: Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby sbslider » Mon Aug 04, 2014 6:30 am

As the OP, here is a short trip report and a question. We ended up hiking out of Rush Creek to Gem Lake on Day 1. The trail is certainly strenuous. The group ended up being just my wife and I, and we did fine but were done enough when we got to the beginning of Gem. Not having been there previously, I did not know where good camping was located. It was immediately obvious that camping near the lake would be a challenge. I saw a side trail about 5 minutes past the dam and explored. We ended up camping here on the first peninsula on the north side of the lake near the dam. All in all it was a fine spot, reasonable water access, flat camping and cooking areas, and nice views. The El Portal fire ash picked up in the early afternoon obscuring all views in the area until after dark. After setting up camp we walked to the Crest Creek inlet to Gem Lake. There is some additional camping here near a horse camp, but we were happy with the spot we picked. This day there appeared to be no one camping nearby.
Day 2 we day hiked to 1000 Island (TI) Lake. Took the trail up from the Rush Creek inlet to Gem Lake toward Clark Lakes and over to TI Lake. When we first got over the ridge near Agnew Pass my wife saw why I wanted to take her to TI Lake. It was still before noon and the views of the Ritter Range were still stunning. We arrived at TI Lake shortly after noon hoping to meet up with my youngest son and his boy scout troop. After a leisurely lunch and refilling of water, we hooked up with them and chatted for a spell. By now Mt. Ritter was barely visible due to the smoke. Having a 6 1/2 mile hike back to camp still in front of us, we left shortly after 2 for the return trip. My original desire was to make the day hike a loop, going around Waugh Lake as well. But the added distance deterred us this day, and we headed back the way we came. On the return trip we cooled off in Rush Creek and returned to camp near 6 pm. In all the miles hiked this day, when we were more than 1/2 mile from the JMT/PCT we saw only about 20 people hiking, and two of those were in a group of 8 and a group of 5. Very nice hiking, vegetation and view. As we returned to camp there were at least 4 groups we saw camping near the Crest Creek inlet to Gem Lake, reaffirming our choice of camp spot.
The hike out on Day 3 was relatively uneventful, as we hiked under cloudy skies all morning. Saw 0 people hiking in with packs, and only 4 day hikers. There was a large group in the trailhead parking lot that appeared to be getting ready to tackle the climb out of Rush Creek. We drove home south and through rain for several hours between Bishop and Olancha.
I would agree with those who posted the warnings of the trail out of Rush Creek being tough. But we had no regrets taking this route, as it was much less traveled, was not too difficult for our ability, and it allowed me to see a different area of the Sierras.

Now the question. At night my wife and I both saw a dim light emanating from under water near the dam at Gem Lake. I have my ideas as to what this could have been, but I am curious to hear if anyone knows the source of this light. It was not the moon or other light sources external to the water, as my wife saw it under very cloudy skies the morning of Day 3.
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Re: Fern Lake trail head to Thousand Islands Lake

Postby srnovak » Wed Sep 03, 2014 4:50 am

Hey all,
Just wanted to give some info about our recent trip for anyone interested.

Day 1. Started at Fern Lake Trailhead almost at dark. Hiked up to Fern Lake for the first night. That was a good...get your blood flowing hike.
Day 2. Hiked up the Fern Creek Drainage. Was tough around Fern Lake, a lot of boulder hopping with full packs. We pushed down back toward the creek and found it flatter, but a little choked with underbrush. After that it was pretty uneventful until we got toward the top. We followed a fork of Fern Creek a bit southwest vs south toward the top. The terrain was grassy and steep, but provided nice foot placement. Right as we reached the top, there was a little Class 2-3 scrambling, but overall it was not too tough. We hiked along the EXTREMELY FLAT and DESOLATE ridge of San Joaquin mountain toward the north west corner. There we found a nice scree ski slope directly down to the Clark Lakes. We camped at Clark Lakes that night.
Day 3. We left Clark Lakes and hiked south toward the Garnet River connector trail. This trail was beautiful with some nice steep sections of flat rock and waterfalls. We continued along the northern shore of Garnet Lake all the way to the pond that sits above Garnet on it's west side. This campsite was beautiful, right under the shadow of Banner and Ritter Peaks.
Day 4. Easy day...hiked down to Garnet Lake and caught a bunch of Rainbows.
Day 5. Hiked up and over the saddle to Thousand Island Lake. We found a nice, fairly sheltered campsite midway up the eastern shore. After setting up we headed up the Sierra High Route to North Glacier Pass and over to Lake Catherine. Had thought about pushing further toward the summit of Ritter, but we were all satisfied with the views from Lake Catherine and were excited about our frisbee golf game on the trip back to camp. What a game. Such great views of Thousand Island from this direction.
Day 6. For our last day, we wanted to position ourselves with a fairly easy hike out. We planned on hiking out at the Silver Lake Campground, so Gem Lake seemed like the best bet for our last campsite. To get away from crowds we saw a nice contour that lead down to the lake from the trail along the southwest end of the lake, just west of the intersection with the Clark Lakes trails. We followed this contour down steeply to the lake and found.....NOwhere to camp, No shortcut route along the very rocky and steep eastern shore and DUHHHHH, NOway to get across the dam. Ha, we felt quite stupid at this point, ate some lunch and hiked back up to the trail. We followed the trail along the western side of Gem Lake to a small spur trail (old roadbed) that lead down to the lake at a dry section of lake bed. We decided to camp right there. It was an interesting spot, amongst all the old stumps and animal prints in the sand. The sunset and stargazing were nice and we feasted on some more tasty rainbows.
Day 7. We hiked down past Agnew Lake and down down down to Silver Lake Campground, where we drank some tasty Sierras at the general store.

Thanks for the input and responses to my earlier posts.
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