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Ideas for 4 nights out of Rush Creek TH

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Ideas for 4 nights out of Rush Creek TH

Postby valeofoakland » Fri May 20, 2016 4:53 pm

Hello all -

I have a permit for Rush Creek TH to head up to the Thousand Island Lakes 6/30 for 4 nights and would love HST ideas for a route, including great camping spots. We're aiming to arrive on 6/30 in the early afternoon after the drive from Oakland. We'd also love to spend 2 nights at the same spot to do some pack-free exploring.

What do you all recommend? We're 3 experienced backpackers with some cross-country chops.


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Re: Ideas for 4 nights out of Rush Creek TH

Postby maverick » Fri May 20, 2016 7:08 pm

Set up basecamp at 1000 Is Lake (sometimes fields of Indian Paintbrush on the southern side, but it will probably be 2-3 weeks to early for them), go visit Catherine Lake, Davis (sometime has fields if Indian Paintbrush) and Marie Lakes, check out the sunrise views of Banner from Island Pass, above 1000 Is Lake, go over Garnet Pass, between 1000 Is Lake and Garnet Lake (class 1) and visit the western end of Garnet Lake.
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Re: Ideas for 4 nights out of Rush Creek TH

Postby balzaccom » Fri May 20, 2016 8:39 pm

All good ideas. We also liked hiking down and then up to Altha Lake, off the use trail below Garnet. A beautiful and quiet spot...

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Re: Ideas for 4 nights out of Rush Creek TH

Postby Asolthane » Sat May 21, 2016 3:39 pm

Island Pass is an amazing place, terraced meadows that look like fairways and tiny lakes. The view of Banner and Ritter is amazing up there.

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Re: Ideas for 4 nights out of Rush Creek TH

Postby SSSdave » Sun May 22, 2016 9:59 pm

End of June the only wildflowers blooming at 10k+ will likely be the 3 heathers, phyllodoce breweri, cassiope mertensiana, and kalmia latifolia. Camping at Thousand Island Lake is problematic. North facing and shady forest areas will still have some snow and some flat places will be soggy with runoff. Squeeters will be at peak so there may be wisdom in camping in a windy spot.

One cannot of course camp within 100 feet of the lake plus a circle within a 1/4 mile radius of the outlet trail bridge. That is because decades ago that zone was pummeled by campers as it is has the best views across the waters towards the big peaks. Be sure to understand on the 7.5k minute topo map where that is. Rangers frequently patrol that very popular zone and they often roust people from within that circle despite the fact there are signs at the bridge and rangers pound that into those who pick up permits (who then don't communicate anything to others in their group). The flat peninsula a bit west of the outlet along the south shore is also illegal because there is no where on that area over 100 feet from water.

Otherwise large numbers of visitors camp along the trail on the northeast end of the lake for a few hundred yards east or west in every imaginal spot one can put a tent down. I strongly dislike that area because people tend to be all over so there is little privacy because it is so open and visually exposed and everything looks beat up from over use. Additionally that is likely to be ground zero for night time bear fun. Views are nice southwest down across the lake towards the peaks.

There are relatively private places one can camp but one will not have good views. For instance well up away from the lake edge on the south shore or down stream north of the trail in the forest. No others will be there.

Not likely many people about the west end of the long lake but then one will be so close to Banner that it loses it famous look. That end of the lake is much better by the end of July when the lawns have wildflowers.

Better is to wander up north from the 3100 meter elevation on the topo towards the Weber Lake saddle where there is a pond one can use for water. The reason no one will camp up there is people want to be close to the trail and the lake edge and most importantly extremely few people ever looks for camp spots more than about 100 feet above trails.

The reason it is a famous lake is because of the world class scenic view and if that is a reason one is visiting the lake then one must put up with one negative or another, take your pick. Just be sure to spend time in early morning at the east end of the lake near the outlet to understand why that is. In any case it is usually late July thru early August when that area is most green flowery and beautiful.

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