Saturday, June 23, 2012

Day 63: Red's Meadow to Rush Creek

Waking up to a hot breakfast is a wonderful feeling. We packed up and wandered over to the Red's Meadow cafe, arriving just after it opened. Less than an hour later we hiked out, feeling full at last.

Following the trail from Red's Meadows (7,700 ft) felt like entering a war zone. Corpses of dead trees were strewn about and piled throughout the valley. Crews of young workers from the SCA (Student Conservation Alliance) hefted large axes and spread throughout the valley to work on the wreckage.

We reached the forested Agnew Meadows by lunch, stopping to eat on a log. A curious blue jay hopped from log to log, watching while we ate.

After lunch we started to climb, then traversed along the hillside. Looking back we could see Mammoth Mountain, too far away to see the people we imagined would be mountain biking there. We also looked west across the canyon to see Shadow Lake, Mount Ritter, Banner Peak, and the Minarets.

Arriving at Thousand Island Lake, the wind gusted across the exposed granite landscape. The wind whipped across the water, creating whitecaps. Waves crashed against the rocky shore.

We continued to climb up to Island Pass (10,200). We found a nice sandy campsite by one of the lakelets, but the wind howled overhead, swaying the gnarled foxtail pines that surrounded the camp. We decided to move on, eventually finding more sheltered camping near Rush Creek, on the other side of the pass.

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