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Advice for 1000 Island hike

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Advice for 1000 Island hike

Postby Jedi5150 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:43 am

Hello all,
Thanks to the advice of several forum members in another thread I posted, I plan on doing a late summer/ early fall hike of 1000 Island Lake. I'll start off with the required info about me:

What level of backpacking experience do you have?
Level 1- Minimal hiking

What terrain are you comfortable/uncomfortable with?
- Class 2 terrain/pass/x-country

What is your main interest?
- Lakes
- Photography

To clarify the experience question I need to explain a little further. I think of "backpacking" in terms of staying overnight while hiking. There was no choice between backpacking (Level 2) and minimal hiking (level 1). I actually have lots of hiking experience, just without staying overnight. I'm comfortable with cross-country and am experienced in land navigation (completed the Army's Advanced Land Nav course), 11 years on a wilderness SAR team, high angle rescue, etc.

The trip I'm planning would likely be during September (open to suggestions). I will be hiking with a dog (she is a fit and athletic Belgian Malinois). (Mandatory dog pic):
Image

Total days would be 3-4.

I'm interested in any advice you think could help a first time backpacker going to this area at this time of year. Specifically, I'm planning on using the High Trail Trailhead. Will this trailhead still be crowded even in the beginning of September? Should I already start trying to get a pass reservation? For parking my vehicle should I keep it at the hotel (I'll be staying in Mammoth Lakes the night before), or is there someplace closer or better I can keep it? Can anyone recommend a dog friendly hotel in Mammoth Lakes?

For bears, are bear cannisters required for camping at or near 1000 Island Lake? Are there any bear boxes near the lake? Am I likely to run into lots of other campers at the lake (or any)? Ideally, I'm hoping to go at a time when there are few bugs, few humans :D , and the weather is still not too cold. I know, it's asking a lot. On the plus side, it doesn't have to be on a weekend. I can easily do the hike on a Tues-Fri for example.

I'm planning for one day to hike out to the lake, at least one or two days exploring the surrounding area, using the same campsite as a base of operations, and then the final day hiking back down. So with this information in mind, please give suggestions on things I may not have considered. The logistical part of it I'm particularly interrested in. I'd also like a list of "must see" places that would be within a 1 day radius of the lake campsite.

Since this will be my first "big" backpacking trip, I plan on going at least once or twice on local backpacking trips with the pooch during the summer to troubleshoot problems with gear, etc.

Thanks in advance.



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Re: Advice for 1000 Island hike

Postby Mike M. » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:15 am

Early September is a terrific time to visit the area so long as you are there after Labor Day weekend (when the area will be teeming with people). (Labor Day is September 6th this year.) I like hiking in September, which is well after the mosquito season and usually brings dependably dry weather and chilly nights.

I don't know for sure, but assume bear canisters are required in the area. For your peace of mind, you should carry one anyhow.

Rather than wait to secure your wilderness permit when you enter, you should get a reservation ahead of time. You will still need to pick your permit up in person, but you will have the comfort of knowing one has been allotted to you. Here's a link to the Inyo National Forest website, showing reservation dates that are currently unavailable:

http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/recreation ... vail.shtml

This same website also has a form you can use to request your reservation (you print the form, fill it out, and fax it to the ranger station).

Thousand Island Lake and Garnett Lake are worthy destinations, yet well within the limits of a beginning backpacker. I would recommend spending several days exploring those lake basins. Photographic opportunities abound!

Mike
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Re: Advice for 1000 Island hike

Postby Jedi5150 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:35 am

Thanks for the great information Mike, it is exactly what I was hoping for! :thumbsup:

I'm really hoping that this will be the beginning of a long and adventurous backpacking career. Hehe. That is the reason I love motorcycling (particularly dual-sporting), to explore places I haven't seen before. I figure backpacking, while more physically demanding, will provide an even more peacefull way to do that. I think I'm actually going to be able to get my wife interested in it as well. I showed her pictures of gear and even fishing lures (I spent some time browsing that section of the forum as well :unibrow: ) and she showed enthusiasm. Neither of us fish even though we live in an outstanding ocean fishing area. I don't have the first clue about chopping and slicing up fish, let alone catching them, but I'm willing to learn. :nod:

As for the photography part, I'm about as "amature" as an amature photographer can get. I don't actually even own a camera, my work issues me a cheapy point and shoot but for good pictures I borrow my wife's Sony SX110IS point and shoot. But inspite of my crappy equipment and skill level I still get great enjoyment out of taking pictures. Here is a link to a ride report I did about a recent trip around the Eastern Sierras if anyone is interested:

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=582294

So thanks again Mike, and please keep the suggestions coming.
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Re: Advice for 1000 Island hike

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:28 pm

Hi Jedi

Crowds will be down in Sept, but I would still plan on going something during the week
because some folks will delay there summer trips because of the snow, and skeeterz.
You could get a permit, but since your spending the night in Mammoth, getting a
walk up permit in the morning is not an issue, just be at the visitors/ranger center
before they open(30 min's).
Park your car in the parking lot, purchase your shuttle ticket, and take the shuttle
to Agnew Meadows from the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.
I would spend 1 night at Lake Ediza via Shadow Creek Trail, and 2 nights at
1000 Is Lake, and go back via the High Trail.
1000 Is Lake is gorgeous, and great at sunrise, and if the clouds are right than at sunset.
There are some small lakes, and ponds up at Island Pass that will give you some great
reflections of Banner Peak at sunrise.
You can jump the ridge between 1000 Is Lake, and Garnet Lake on the western end
and it will put you near the small lake at the western end of Garnet Lake where there
are also be some pretty meadows that are rarely visited.
Lake Ediza will be like a post card from the eastern edge of the lake especially where
there are some rocks that come out of the water in the shallower part.
You will have to go around the lake to camp because of restriction, but after cross
the first creek you will come to a major creek(though it will not be major in Sept)
follow this up and you will find some camping spots.
This area is well known for its extreme bear problems, just follow protocol and
you will be fine(not bear boxes/ bear canisters required).
Last edited by maverick on Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Advice for 1000 Island hike

Postby hwy395lvrz » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:49 pm

As you probably know already,from Agnew Meadows you have your choice of three routes to get to Thousand Island Lake.All are in the 9-10 mile range.With your level of experience,I would suggest the River Trail for day one.Definitely the easiest and straightest way to get there.The High Trail from Agnew is straight up switchbacks to 10,000 ft.,not your best choice in getting acclimated to the altitude or for your dog.The High Trail is beautiful and the views astounding but I would use it as the return route to Agnew if possible.Just my two cents...
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Re: Advice for 1000 Island hike

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:33 pm

I agree, using the High Trail to get back to Agnew would be easier (misread his
experience level).
I would then recommend using the Shadow Creek Trail to Lake Ediza (1 day), and then up
the JMT to 1000 Is Lake (2 days) the next day.
From Agnew Meadow (8340 ft) to Lake Ediza (9265 ft) is 6.9 miles and 925 ft elevation gain.
Then from Lake Ediza (9265 ft) to 1000 Is Lake (9833 ft) is 7.4 miles and 568 ft elevation
gain, and back to Agnew from 1000 Is Lake is 9.6 miles.
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Re: Advice for 1000 Island hike

Postby rlown » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:21 pm

You mentioned taking a dog, so i found this site about dog-friendly motels in the area: http://mammothdogs.com/#lodging

Is she carrying her own food (ie, a pack)?
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Re: Advice for 1000 Island hike

Postby Jedi5150 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:15 pm

Maverick and hwy395lvrs, thanks for the excellent feedback on the best route to take. Going to Lake Ediza on day 1 does make a lot of sence from the perspective of energy used. I was initially planning on doing the River Trail up on day one and coming back the High Trail but this way would give me a chance to see more (I would have missed Lake Ediza). Someone (Wandering Daisy if I remember correctly) mentioned that I should check out Iceberg Lake. Unless my math is off it seems to be roughly a 1 mile trail from Lake Ediza with a 500' elevation gain (one way). That should be doable for a quick side trip I'd think.

Rlown, thanks for the link to the dog friendly hotels. I was hoping that someone who has stayed at one or more of them could give advice on which are nice places (without my ever having seen them), but if worst comes to worse I can pick one off the list or call around. And yes, she'll be carrying her own dry kibble. I'm careful not to weigh her down, particularly since this will likely be her first high altitude hike (unless we can get one in between now and then). Fortunately for her weight (she's 60 pounds) she doesn't eat a lot. She has a closely rationed diet which definitely makes it easy for packing. I'll be carrying the water for both of us but I'll have a water purifier to use. I'm hoping to go after the bug season but incase they are bad in areas I'd like to hear a little about using DEET with dogs.
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Re: Advice for 1000 Island hike

Postby rlown » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:18 pm

there was another topic on doggy prep at viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4026

pads and granite don't get along well if not conditioned. I think most DEET containers say not to use on dogs, but i know with Samantha out in the duck blinds, and the constant barrage of skeeters, I cover her head and spray her body. It's unfortunate that the skeeters still go for the head. Not like you're gonna get her to wear a head mask.. :p
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Re: Advice for 1000 Island hike

Postby Jedi5150 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:59 pm

Thanks for the link Rlown! I read the thread just now. Great info. I'm going to get a set of booties for her to get used too just in case. She is alsready used to hiking off-lead. We do it around here all the time. Unfortunately she does critter with a passion and her recall is non-existent when she's in hot pursuit. She is also quick, she used to play with a wild coyote in our neighborhood that was of similar age. Vixen never had any trouble catching the coyote. Luckily she always comes back and has an impressive sence of direction and awareness. Still, I'll probably keep her leashed while breaking her in to mountain hiking.
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Re: Advice for 1000 Island hike

Postby rlown » Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:05 pm

so, just curious. What pack does she have?
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Re: Advice for 1000 Island hike

Postby hikerduane » Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:15 pm

If your dog isn't responsive to calls, a good idea to keep her on leash. Not all wilderness areas require a dog to be leashed. You will enjoy the scenery from the High Trail, you'll be looking all the time. Garnet Lake is gorgeous. I wait until Oct . for trips, you'll average a person a day for a week long trip, most may be all in one day. Have fun. Don't trust the bears at Thousand Island. An alternative to staying in a motel, camp out along the Mammoth Scenic highway, beyond the no camping signs, but by Sept. it will be getting cool again with shorter days, so a motel is a good way to stay warm and get an early start. Check to see which restaurants open early for breakfast.
Piece of cake.
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