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Ansel Adams Wilderness Day 2: Gem Lake to Thousand Island Lake


Morning

It was a peaceful night. No bears disturbed our sleep even though, I was sure, Roman was secretly hoping for a sighting. We climbed up a rocky hill just above the camp to greet the rising sun. Everything turned red and orange as the sun rays filtered through some remaining smoke particles to the east. The visibility was however much improved, and even the mountain miles to our west seemed as if they were within an arm's reach. Instead of a bear, we watched a couple of porcupines in a meadow near the campsite.

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Sunrise Franta and the mountains Mountain scenery My shadow Pine reflections
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Projected Surprise in the meadow Porcupines Bundle of needles
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Roman


Waugh Lake

After packing up the camp we proceeded up along Rush Creek toward Waugh Lake. The valley widens and flattens out a bit, and we had great views of the mountains to the west as the trail circumscribed the lake.

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Messing around Crack in a tree Hiking up Let us go... Rogers Peak Rush Creek
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Waugh Lake Dam Waugh Lake Lonely pine Dead wood Waugh Lake Franta and Roman
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Trailside stump Fallen


Island Pass

West of Waugh Lake the trail joins the John Muir Trail and slowly climbs toward Island Pass, 10,200 ft. We took a break by a creek to replenish our water supplies and have lunch. As we continued up, the views got better. Shortly before reaching the pass, we were passed by a stray mule. We took another break by a small lake at the top of the pass, taking in the scenery, perhaps the best of our trip up to that point.

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Roman Pacific Crest Trail sign Donahue Peak Meadow Stray mule Not so stray Franta
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Tough climb Lake near Island Pass Island Pass hiking Island Pass Lake Rest time Island Pass
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Banner Peak


Thousand Island Lake

From Island Pass, we descended off-trail, straight toward the northwest shores of Thousand Island Lake that lies at the bottom of a big, flat basin. It was easy to find a nice camping spot there. Banner Peak forms a great backdrop across the lake. The wind blew in some smoke and clouds in the late afternoon, but could not take away the appeal from the snowfield decorated mountains to our west.

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Aiming high Roman Descent to Thousand Island Lake Banner Peak reflection Clouds in a lake Camping time
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Patterns of drought Boulders Thousand Island Lake in BW Split ND filter scenery Sunset Banner Peak Sunset Thousand Island Lake
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Rocks in the lake Dusk


Last updated: February 23, 2013
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