PCT Day 61 Thousand Island Lakes 

thousand island lakes

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

Download the Ultralight Hiking Gear List

Add your name and email to download the Ultralight Hiking Gear List

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Sharing is caring!

16th June 2015

Mileage 16.9

Rosalie Lake (915) Lyell fork camp (931.9)

Twice I woke in the middle of the night. The stars were extraordinarily bright. No moon or civilisation were able to contaminate the shine. I had all the best intention of grabbing my camera to photograph them. My eyes had other ideas, I was unable to keep them open.

I climbed up and over a saddle and descended to Shadow Lake. A crystal clear emerald blue lake that appeared to have thousands of trout rising to feed on the early morning feast of insects. Fishing must be good at this lake.

Again the trail climbed and descended to another lake, called Garnet Lake. Surrounded my mountains with snow still lingering. The still clear lake was inviting. I was unable to drag myself any further. It was 10am when I sat on the banks of the lake.

On a distant shore was the figure of someone fishing. They moved along the shore with their red dog as company. I lingered long enough for KC and Hummingbird to join me. They succeeded in temporarily relieving me of the sole burden of feeding the voracious mosquitoes. Each day seems to be more mosquito infested than the last. Deet is my salvation.

Just when I thought the lakes couldn’t get any better I reached Thousand Island Lake. A large alpine lake surrounded by jagged mountains still covered in snow. I only counted about 20 islands before I gave up. I suspect there is less than 100 in reality.

The lake might claim to have a thousand islands but it had billions of mosquitos or mozzies as we call them in Australia. These mozzies were so thick I occasionally breathed them in. Mr & Mrs Smith along with Teflon put up their tents as protection. KC and I used repellent and suffered.

We lunched then everybody except me went for a swim. I figure that I could see snow, it melts and forms the lake. I’m not swimming in ice cold water. After the others had their swim some reported that I was the smart one!

Another climb to Island Pass which afforded grand views of Thousand Island Lake then another descent and yet another climb to Donohue Pass. There wasn’t much flat hiking today. Donohue Pass at 11031 feet might be the last 11000 plus pass for the rest of the hike. It also marks the start of Yosemite National Park.

The climb didn’t agree with me, or more accurately the salami I had for lunch didn’t agree with me. I struggled and felt like curling up and sleeping at the summit. I did in fact close my eyes and I slept, but it was only a power nap. It was around 5.30 pm when I started to descend from Donohue Pass to camp several miles away at Lyell fork camp.

I was unable to eat dinner and had to run to find an urgent hole in the ground. I hope I’m feeling better in the morning. I’m amazed that I’ve hiked from Mexico to Yosemite National Park.

rosalie lake
shadow lake
garnet lake

Next : Day 62 Tuolumne Meadows

The Best information about the Pacific Crest Trail:
Complete Guide to the Pacific Crest Trail
Resupply Guide for the PCT
PCT Gear List

PCT Gear Review

Sharing is caring!

Photo of author
About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Chile.

Download the Ultralight Hiking Gear List

Add your name and email to download the Ultralight Hiking Gear List

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

12 thoughts on “PCT Day 61 Thousand Island Lakes ”

  1. Ohhh, I think I like Garnet lake the best! Nooooo, I like Rosalie Lake the best, but waaaaait, I really like Thousand Island Lake. Your Pictures make it really hard to choose. Thanks for the vacation!!

  2. I didn’t want to spoil it, but I told you about 1000 Island Lake – what a wonderful place, yeah? Sounds like you were captivated….if it weren’t for the mozzies.

    You may already be in Tuolumne Meadows – another great place. My wife and I go up there as often as we can, which isn’t often enough. Get a hamburger at the little restaurant/cafe there. Not sure if you’re taking any off days, but if you do, go down the hill into Lee Vining and eat at the Whoa Nellie Deli – it’s in a gas station and has the best food in the area.

    I’m still living vicariously through you – loving the blog, and lovin’ the pics. Keep it up, mate!

    Mike M, Riverside, CA

    • Yes Mike it was a great place. I’m currently replying to your message from the top of clouds rest. Last year I cycled through Yosemite and climbed tioga pass to Lee vining. I ate at whoa nellies. World class food. Not sure I’ll make it there this time.

  3. You just hiked a section I’ve hiked many times, many years ago – when my dad was teaching backpacking. We may not comment often but many of us are reading along with your adventure everyday. Keep up the great reports.


Leave a Comment