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Trip Report    

CHS 1 Hike - Island Lake

A pleasant hike past popular Mason Lake to less visited Island Lake. Crowds at Mason Lake but few people past it. Great group and good weather with some mud and bugs.

  • Road rough but passable
  • The route as far as Mason Lake was in very good condition.  No issues.

    The short section of trail past pass Mason Lake to the T intersection with the Mt Defiance trail was occasionally muddy, with one especially muddy section where the trail crosses a creek.  The trail intersection itself is very well signed.

    The section of the Mt. Defiance trail leading to Island Lake was generally in good shape, but with a few muddy sections.  There were some short sections that were especially steep, and there were several small stream crossings that were more difficult than usual due to lack of any rocks to use as stepping stones.  All crossings were accomplished without incident, but it slowed our pace a bit as everyone figured out their own gymnastics to get across.

    The short section of trail connecting Island Lake and the Mt. Defiance trail (1009.1) was also in good shape, but somewhat more difficult to follow down near the lake.  One of our party thought to check for reverse landmarks as we exited the trail down to the lake, which proved to be a big help when it came time to head back up again.

    The bugs were moderately heavy at Island Lake, and light but somewhat an issue at Mason Lake.

Our group arrived at the Ira Spring trailhead about 7:45am to find the parking lot about half full.  We ascended to Mason Lake without incident and had a 20 minute pre-lunch break for food and to give people a chance to use the privy there.  There were many people at the lake including a group that and set up a campsite at the usual "lunch rock" area.  One group was swimming off rocks across the lake, and we saw a steady stream of hikers entering the lake area during the 20 minutes we were there.  There were many many happy dogs along the trail and at the lake itself.

On leaving Mason Lake we proceeded on to Sir Richard Pond, Rainbow Lake, and Island Lake.  Trail conditions were a bit more rugged than expected (see Route Conditions) but otherwise it was a pleasant walk.  We saw about three small parties or 2 - 3 people each between Mason Lake and Rainbow Lake, but saw nobody else once we passed Rainbow Lake and had Island Lake to ourselves for lunch.  The bugs were a bit heavy at Island Lake but people adapted and spirits remained high.

Above Rainbow Lake we met two National Forest Rangers and chatted for a minute.  In addition to full overnight packs one was carrying a large axe and the other a large shovel, an impressive bit of heavy kit to carry on a multinight journey.  On our hike out we encountered the same pair of rangers using their axe and shovel to reroute the stream around a muddy section of trail above Mason Lake.  It was Hero Work, and we thanked them profusely.

On driving away from the trail head we saw cars park along the side of the road for about a mile (estimated), sometimes barely leaving enough room for a car to pass by.  It's no secret that the Ira Spring trailhead is very crowded on nice weekends, and we were glad of our early start.

After the hike we went to North Bend Bar and Grill.  One of our party called ahead to let them know we were coming, and we arrived to find a group of tables ready and waiting for us. NBBG treated us very well.