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Advice: Second attempt to Garnet/1000 Island on 6/24-6/27

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Advice: Second attempt to Garnet/1000 Island on 6/24-6/27

Postby ddduong » Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:19 am

Hello all! Stumbled upon the site a few days ago and began reading posts for all the great information. Finally got around to registering and wanted to ask a few questions. Here is the basic info about myself:

What level of backpacking experience do you have?
Level 1- Minimal hiking
Level 2- Some backpacking trips, using trails
Probably somewhere closer to 1 than 2, hiked down and up the Grand Canyon. Most recent trip was Gem Lake through the Rush Creek trail last year in mid-August.

What terrain are you comfortable/uncomfortable with?
- Class 1 terrain/trail hiking
- Class 2 terrain/pass/x-country

What is your main interest?
- Photography
- Fishing

How many days/nights is your trip, not including travel to trailhead?

4 days/3nights
How many miles did you want to do a day, any layovers? 6-10
Did you prefer a loop or out and back trip? Loop
Is there a particular area in the Sierra that your most interested in(Yosemite, SEKI
western sierra start or eastern start ect.)?
Eastern
Will you be hiking with a dog? No, just 3-4 friends that look like one :)

Last year I attempted to hike to 1000 Island Lake through the Rush Creek trail on a sprained ankle I got a few days before. Needless to say it was a bad decision and we only made it to Gem Lake. I thought that place was beautiful, so I can only imagine how great it would be deeper in. Pictures aren't enough and now that I've graduated and currently unemployed, it's the perfect time to give it another shot!

From gathering info online, I've read that the snow has come later than usual this year. Will we run into problems reaching our destinations this early in the season? We are all pretty active with sports, but no one has experienced hiking in snow before. I also believe its mosquito season around then and to be honest I have no idea what to expect. Planning on bringing 30% deet, but may opt for 100%. If the snow will be too much I may consider just taking one of the trips from the recent 3day trip thread.

We have a photography major coming along, so any tips on photos such as locations/time of day would be great. May try for some night shots of the stars also.

Any and all feedback/suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

-Denmark



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Re: Advice: Second attempt to Garnet/1000 Island on 6/24-6/27

Postby hikerduane » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:22 am

Checkout some of the recent trip reports posted here. They will give you an idea, but conditions will start changing rapidly here with the longer and eventually warmer days. I use 100% DEET as that is all I have, have read where 30% is sufficient, I just need to use up the old stuff.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Advice: Second attempt to Garnet/1000 Island on 6/24-6/27

Postby maverick » Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:53 am

Hello Ddduong

Welcome to HST.
In my opinion you should do this trip later in the summer, especially since you
mentioned that neither you nor anyone else in you party had any experience in
these condition.
Spring in the Sierra is a beautiful season, but there are a lot of hidden dangerous
that make it better suited for those with a solid backpacking experience.
Snow will be an issue, and even some of the lakes may still be partially frozen.
Skeetrz will be an issue starting late June into late August, unless we get several
major heat waves.
When you do decide to go, I would recommend going to Lake Ediza via the Shadow
Creek Trail, and spend 1-2 nights, and then go to 1000 Is Lake for 1-2 nights, and
go back via the High Trail.
If you go July, or early August, you will witness a spectacular display of wild flowers
which is another reason to push back your trip by a month.

1000 Is Lake: http://maverick.zenfolio.com/img/s1/v0/p668504855-5.jpg
Lake Ediza: http://maverick.zenfolio.com/img/s4/v3/p70134455-5.jpg
Minaret Lakes: http://maverick.zenfolio.com/img/s1/v0/p837364968-5.jpg
Shadow Lake/Creek from High Trail: http://maverick.zenfolio.com/img/s2/v1/p773158293-5.jpg
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Re: Advice: Second attempt to Garnet/1000 Island on 6/24-6/27

Postby rlown » Thu Jun 10, 2010 1:00 pm

Hello Ddduong,

Is your timetable fixed and/or do you already have your permit for 6/24? The "other" way in via Agnew Meadows has a better orientation for a quicker meltoff, and since you've been to Gem, you won't miss more than the switchbacks. You also start higher at Agnew Meadows. You're still gonna see some snow and really wet trails. I don't know if the trail from Agnew has bridges over the creeks, but if they don't, be careful.

On a side note, I'm not really sure if you're gonna get great nighttime star pics, as you seem to be going during a full moon. I'm sure Maverick might chime in on that aspect, and what to do with the situation.

Just a thought.
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Re: Advice: Second attempt to Garnet/1000 Island on 6/24-6/27

Postby maverick » Thu Jun 10, 2010 1:38 pm

That is absolutely right Rlown, it is full moon, which is one of the reasons I am going
up on those dates, but it will not be conducive to your night photography Ddduong, so
there is another reason to go later in the season.
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Re: Advice: Second attempt to Garnet/1000 Island on 6/24-6/27

Postby ddduong » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:08 pm

hikerduane -
Thanks for the reply, I'll keep looking into other reports. I think we'll bring an extra 100% just in case!

maverick -
Thanks for the info! Currently trying to find a date where I can push the trip back for everyone, otherwise we'll prepare for snow and take it slower than planned. I've seen Ediza mentioned a lot, I guess depending on when and the conditions I'd really like taking that route you recommended. Hopefully we can move it back to at least mid-July to get those wild flowers and night shots! Great shots by the way, those are the types of shots that made me want to come up to the Sierras!

rlown -
Thanks for the tips, as of now the timetable seems pretty fixed. There is a small chance we can make 7/15-7/18 but wouldn't know until after 6/27, so there's a chance we'd miss out on a Sierra trip altogether. Great to hear that Agnew Meadows has a better meltoff, I'm sure the snow and wet trails will make it interesting! Right now my thought process is if we prepare and take the necessary precautions, a difficult trip will be better than no trip.

Thank you all for the replies, they've been very helpful!
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Re: Advice: Second attempt to Garnet/1000 Island on 6/24-6/27

Postby rlown » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:18 pm

you didn't say that your permit was fixed. Do you have a permit? If you stick to your timetable, you can still do the lakes from Agnew Meadows. Early season, they'd change a permit for you in a sec.

Curious, why tied in so much to the Rush creek ascent?
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Re: Advice: Second attempt to Garnet/1000 Island on 6/24-6/27

Postby ddduong » Thu Jun 10, 2010 4:26 pm

I did not get the permit yet, wanted to gather as much information as I could on the conditions up there. Last I checked those dates were still open for reservations, but we'll be there very early morning so we'll be able to get a walk-in.

We wanted to go the Rush Creek ascent mainly because we didn't complete our ascent to 1000 Island last time and a friend will be coming from the Sacramento area. With all the reading I've been doing and your suggestion, I've now decided it'd be best to go through Agnew Meadows this time. I think we'll be taking the reverse route that maverick recommended, taking the high trail to 1000 Island with the Ediza leg being optional depending on the conditions and how we feel at the time.

I'm hoping that I'll be able to make it up to the Sierras regularly after a few trips, so all the info from these forums and its members are great.
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Re: Advice: Second attempt to Garnet/1000 Island on 6/24-6/27

Postby maverick » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:33 pm

ddoung wrote:

" I think we'll be taking the reverse route that maverick recommended, taking the
high trail to 1000 Island with the Ediza leg being optional depending on the conditions
and how we feel at the time."

Using the High Trail as an entry trail is much more of a difficult first day from Agnew
than using the Shadow Creek trail to Lake Ediza.
If you use the High Trail it is a 7.6 mile day with a 1493 ft elevation gain to 1000 Is
Lake as opposed to a 5.9 mile day and 925 ft elevation day to Lake Ediza.
Going back down to Agnew from 1000 Is Lake via the High Trail is much more enjoyable
giving you time to stop and make photo's of the Minarets, and the numerous wild flower
displays.
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Re: Advice: Second attempt to Garnet/1000 Island on 6/24-6/27

Postby LMBSGV » Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:40 pm

In 2001, my wife, son, and I went from Agnew Meadows to Garnett, then 1,000 Island on June 20-23. My wife and son are trail, easy cross county hikers so they sound similar to you. We took the River Trail to Garnett, JMT to 1,000 Island, High Trail back to Agnew. We encountered snow on the spur from the River Trail to Garnett, but it was only a minor annoyance. Also some snow patches on the JMT to 1,000 Island. There will probably be a little more snow this year, but nothing that can’t be negotiated with patience and a trekking pole. The skeeters were pretty obnoxious. We camped in sites where the breeze was pretty strong and used a lot of deet repellent. We were the only party camped on Garnett and there was only one other party at 1,000 Island, who had been brought in by packers (complete with firewood).

Both Garnett and 1,000 Island are justly immortalized in many, many photos. The full moon on the Ritter Range will be spectacular.
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Re: Advice: Second attempt to Garnet/1000 Island on 6/24-6/27

Postby cahiker » Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:21 pm

Mosquitoes find me delicious, and 30% Deet is sufficient for me. In addition to the Deet I recommend bringing a headnet to wear over a hat with a brim or bill and a loose fitting long sleeve shirt and pants. Mosquitoes will bite through snug fitting stretchy synthetic shirts.

I was in that area for 5 days at the end of June last year. We started from the Rush Creek trailhead and didn't see any mosquitoes until we got to the top of the climb and started heading into the forest towards Gem Lake. From that point on they were with us constantly and in large numbers. It wasn't bad when we were hiking, but as soon as we stopped they'd swarm us so we immediately set up the tent and dove in. We'd go outside to cook, then eat in the tent. One afternoon out of boredom I tried to photograph all the mosquitoes sitting on the outside of the mesh part of the tent looking hungrily in at me. The autofocus didn't cooperate most of the time though. Finding breezy areas away from water helped a bit, but they were still bad.

This year will be different with the late winter, so maybe you'll get lucky with the bloodsuckers. The whole area is gorgeous so the trip will still be great if you're prepared. If you liked Gem Lake you'll find the rest of the scenery amazing.
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Re: Advice: Second attempt to Garnet/1000 Island on 6/24-6/27

Postby SSSdave » Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:39 pm

cahiker, you sound maybe like alot of people I've met that really haven't figured out a strong system during bug season. We are out during squeeter season each summer and though they are at times numerous, we get few bites even when laying about in camp. With 100% DEET applied they simply do not land on my face or hands which is our only flesh showing, and the rest of our clothing and headgear is totally squeeter proof so if 100 are crawling about on one pant leg, it means nothing. Still their whining and buzzing about one's head can be quite annoying. About the only times I usually get bit is after washing our face or hands before apply new DEET or after jumping in some water at the end of day to get clean for the night and getting back covered up.
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