Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Hiking

The Bullshizz Bushwhack

Sometimes hikes just aren’t that great. These are usually the ones JK picked.

Back in August, Dani and I were somehow suckered into accompanying JK on what he assured us was one of his favorite hikes from last year, a partly off-trail loop connecting some lakes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

While the talus field was still fun

The talus field up to Island Lake doesn’t look that long, but it seemed to go on for miles and miles and miles and miles. The heat, the bugs, and the exhausting effort of raising and lowering my corpulent self up and over several million* boulders compounded to make an even grumpier Ingunn than usual.

Ready for the fun part? Talapus Lake, our route in the background

I don’t mind bushwhacking or talus-hopping – to a certain degree, mind you – since it usually gets you to beautiful places that aren’t often visited. But this? This brought us to Island and Rainbow Lakes, two wooded bodies of water easily reached by the smooth, well-maintained trail we hiked on the way back. Who on earth wants to bushwhack through devil’s club and stumble over boulders for miles on end for no apparent reason? More importantly, who on earth is stupid enough to go along when their husband suggests doing just that??

Oh well, at least the swimming was good.

– Stupid, Unnecessary Loop | 10 miles | 2200 feet elevation gain –

Island Lake Loop

See that steep part on the map below Island Lake? That’s where we crawled straight up, using veggie belays (which we soon learned were not to be trusted) and digging our fingers into the loose dirt for traction, some of us (ok, just me) hyperventilating with sheer panic, only to reach an unspectacular lake inhabited by several relaxed hikers who had moseyed in on the actual trail.

JK doesn’t get to pick hikes anymore.


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  • Reply Mark Griffith September 24, 2011 at 2:08 am

    This is a great hike. BUT JK should know that its not a great hike for you. :) I’ve done this loop several times and I love the talus, the solitude and the different routes. BUT if your not into a “tiny” bit of DC, boulder hopping, and some vegetable scrambling its probably one you should leave be. ;)

  • Reply Ewa September 24, 2011 at 5:04 am

    Husbands can be stubborn, right?
    Still, you can look at it as a great adventure, feel like an explorer, taking on a challenge…
    Oh, forget it; smooth trail is better! :-)

  • Reply Lisa September 24, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    That’s too funny. Well you guys obviously took the long way around…. :)

    I’ve had a few hiking mistakes like that where we took the hard or EXTRA long route. Ooops.

  • Reply Ingunn September 25, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Lisa, the problem here was that it was intentional, not a mistake. Boys are stupid, doing this for fun… ;o)

  • Reply iris September 26, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Oh man. Rocks. I hate endless rocks. I had this problem on a portion of the Pennsylvania AT, I thought the balls of my feet were going to fall off. There’s no solution. Except to avoid them, of course. Stupid rocks.

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