Pika in Ansel Adams Wilderness

Thousand Island Lake to the Rush Creek Trailhead – Backpacking Thousand Island Lake Day 3

Thousand Island Lake Topographic Map, Inyo National Forest

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Curtis had been (good-intentionally!) pressuring his brother, John, to come down to visit the Sierra and going hike on the John Muir Trail (JMT) for over a year now… and he did! Over the course of 3 days (Day 1 or Day 2 blogs here) we visited Thousand Island and Garnet Lakes hiking approximately 17 miles on and off of the JMT on our through hike from Agnew Meadows down to Silver Lake.      

Reoccurring themes in backpacking:

  1. Never assume anything will be easy.
  2. No matter how long or short the hike is by the time you get back to the car you ready for a nice session of sitting.

Today was no exception.

We left Thousand Island Lake by 10 or 11 am, heading up the PCT towards Clark Lakes. We knew it was going to be around 7 miles and a REALLY LONG DECENT DOWN. But even if you know that it will be a long hike down it doesn’t necessarily hit you until you are looking down the rocky talus switchbacks to the speck of Agnew Lake and you think to yourself: “What possessed someone to put a trail here?”

Spooky Meadows Trail down to Agnew Lake, Inyo National Forest

Answer: PIKAS .!.

I was beginning to worry, that with all my backpacking this year that I wasn’t going to see a Pika, it is late September for Ochotona princeps’ sake! But there they were in the scree along rush creek, right as you pass the wooden Ansel Adams Wilderness sign, just before crossing the creek to the side closer to their homes, thus scaring all the cute away. This makes it the 3rd year running that I managed to see these sneaky little cousins of the bunny. :D

Otherwise the trail is long and steep. I tweaked my knee on this sucker, Spooky meadows was less spooky then it’s name implied (but lets pretend there is a good murder story associated with it), and you get passed by men on cable cars who just get to ride up and down from Agnew lake while you are walking down this hill. Way to rub it in Rush Creek Trail.

We arrived at the car around late afternoon/early evening, spotting some really beautiful fall colors on the hillside down by Silver Lake. It was a wonderful fall trip, but I was glad to be done hiking out on that trail! All the better for the pikas though, so that their homes are less frequently trespassed on by backpackers… I am onto you pikas!