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Where have you camped at 1000I Lake?

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Where have you camped at 1000I Lake?

Postby SSSdave » Tue May 30, 2006 8:13 pm

This isn't a request for information as I've backpacked into Ritter Range 18 times in the last couple dozen years including the below lake.

But rather am interested in hearing where others here have camped in the vicinity of one of our largest and most famous Sierra Lakes that everyone on the John Muir and PCT trails passes and why you chose to camp where you did? I know quite a few of us have been there so it gives many of us something to respond too.

Note there has long been a no camping zone for 1/4 mile around the outlet area. And Inyo NF wilderness rangers regularly roust those who tent within that zone. For reference:

http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=37. ... -119.18111

I've camped a number of times beyond the 1/4 distance below the outlet. Especially in areas south of the river but also well into the forest on the north side. One reason is that stretch of river in mornings is some of the most scenic in the Sierra as well as the east shores. The other is very few groups stop to camp there so one can camp with more privacy. Most arrive after coming from the south either via the River Trail or John Muir. They of course only look for a campsite after reaching the lake and not before. The trick is to be able to get across the river. Wading is usually pretty easy by mid season. However there is a place we jump across with our packs on below the big pond 1/4 mile downstream. Not many backpackers would try making the jump with their packs on. One has to jump down from a rock ledge a couple feet and several feet across to another rock ledge where it would be easy to slip into the current. Falling would be a disaster as the river flows steeply down a long cascade.

We've camped in the back of Emerald Lake a few times too. A pain going around that lake so not too many folks invade your privacy despite the JMT passing right by the west shore. Always very good rainbow fishing and the fish tend to be good sized. The last time there a bear visited our cozy spot beneath mountain hemlock that I was barely able to scare off.

Another area I've camped at is atop the bluff north of the outlet. One must be aware of where the 1/4 distance is. There are some reasonable flat spots with trees for shade. And the view up above the lake is nice. Also hardly anyone ever ventures into that area despite the fact the trail where lots of others camp is just a short ways west. The reason is because it requires climbing up a rocky hill.

Have also camped about 7/10 of a mile west of the outlet above the south shore. There is a pond stream and meadow above that area on the map. A well used horse trail goes through the saddle in the ridge above as there is a heavily used horse packer campsite on the big peninsula on the north side of Garnet Lake. I will never camp there again as there were too many mosquitoes and reaching more interesting parts of the lake were tedious.

We camped at the southwest corner of the lake too and I like that area. A lot more fish and quite a lot of outstanding scenery especially when the grassy meadows are covered by indian paintbrush. Despite the fact there may be a dozen campsites on the north side of the lake, hardly any people make it over there. Next time we go there I'll likely base camp a couple days near the north end of the large northern unnamed pond.

The one place I have never camped is where most others have camped though I've walked all through that area along the trail checking out all the little spots under the trees. Those I've backpacked with have been kicking around the idea of spending maybe four days some summer just rotating campsites around the two mile long lake. Certainly would be a pleasant and easy trip. ...David

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Postby copeg » Tue May 30, 2006 8:28 pm

I've only had the oportunity to camp there twice. Both times in and around the same area: the north end in the forested area. Mostly camped there because of it's vicinity to the outlet view in the morning. I have heard that the area around meadow on the west end of the lake is an awesome place to camp. As well, I have heard of folks wading out to one of the islands - I think both of these latter ideas were kicked around on the old board before the hack (maybe Markskor's experiences?)...
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Postby Buck Forester » Wed May 31, 2006 11:22 am

Thousand Island Lake, as spectacular as it is aesthetically, isn't ideal for camping. I've camped there many times but never have found a sweet site. When I first started backpacking and wasn't aware of the rules, I think I camped too close to the shore a few yards out on one of the peninsulas. Other times I've spent the night higher up on the bluffs beyond the outlet heading north. It's tough to find a good flat spot, and it's tough to find good access to water without having to hike steeply down to the lakeshore. But I haven't spent more than one night at a time there, I've always been passing through. If I were to spend a few days there I would probably go down the outlet stream a bit as you suggested, or check out areas on the northwest side of the lake. The lake is one of the prettiest places in the Sierra, and easy to reach, hence the popularity (and the bear problems... had a bear go through my camp there once in the middle of the night, knocking my tarp strings a couple feet from me). For photography, the sunrises and sunsets there can be incredible, oh yaaaa! I would love to spend a few days there just for photography, as well as Garnet Lake and some of those beautiful ponds and wildflower-filled meadows on the other side of Island Pass. And of course further south at Lake Ediza (be still my heart) and Minaret Lake, oh man, God spent a little extra time creating this area for sure! The combo of the Minarets and Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak is one of the greatest combos on Earth!
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Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed May 31, 2006 1:01 pm

Buck Forester wrote: For photography, the sunrises and sunsets there can be incredible, oh yaaaa! I would love to spend a few days there just for photography, as well as ... some of those beautiful ponds and wildflower-filled meadows on the other side of Island Pass.

Some of my best and most favorite pictures came from this area. I only camped at Emerals or Ruby Lake on a nice greensward, but if I ever went back, I would camp at the southwest end of TIL: within a dayhike striking distance of most everything of interest in that area.
I gotta dig up a pard to go over the Cicile Lake Pass with me and perhaps a nice x-c route from Fern Lake to Thousand Island lake.
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Postby hikerduane » Wed May 31, 2006 5:07 pm

What's with the green stuff? Pooch and I have only been thru the area in mid October a couple three times. I've seen maybe 6 people on each of the first two trips in a weeks time. Not many people out in mid October. The last time thru, we were hiking from Iron Creek to the TH at Silver Lake because of a snow storm. We made it by 6:00 that night. We've camped just beyond the 1/4 mile limit on the Northeast corner, where a use trail heads up to a spot in the rocks sort of. We were eating breakfast one morning, and the only other camper there I guess was hiking by below us and I said hi. The guy must not have known anyone else was around, because he did a quick take. We compared temps, he had 24, I had 23. The first time thru, we were supposed to camp over the pass on the west side at the lake there, I can't remember its name now, Elizabeth?, but she had refroze already and there wasn't any place to camp around the lake, so we hoofed it down to Thousand Island. And there is more to the story from that trip but that can wait.
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Postby giantbrookie » Wed May 31, 2006 7:13 pm

It's been awhile, but I recall it was 1973 when I camped at Thousand Is. Lake while doing a Banner-Ritter trip, and it was very far southwest on the northern shore (probably 2/3 of the way to the western limit of the lake). I was with my folks and younger brother. As we approached the lake, I was leading and dad was being the good trip leader and bringing up the rear with my mom. Because she was really dragging, he got rather upset at me because I kept going a long way after reaching the lake. Part of the reason I dragged us further along the shore was to beat the crowds (didn't have that 1/4 mi limit in those days; big walk in campground like crowds near the outlet), whereas another reason was to simply cut the distance to Banner and Ritter. This turned out to be a good thing because my dad and I took forever to do Ritter via the roundabout W. slope and Glacier Pass, mainly because of a route selection blunder wherein we turned a class 2 route into class 4 (doing this route, ironically because it was the only class 2 route listed for Ritter; it still is). We ended up being gone 13 hours from camp. In the meantime, my mom and younger brother were debating how they were going to go get help because they were convinced we had been in some accident (on account of being late). It's a good thing my dad and I got back when we did, given that I would have hated to see either my brother or my mom go for help since neither of them could find their way out of a paper bag. We would have needed to rescue them!
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