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I took this picture of Rafa at Christmas 2015, just after I got my iPhone. It is the first picture I took with it.

Picture of Rafa

Map from 2016 Sierra Hike to SeaGull Island

The shape of the island in the middle of the lake reminds me of a seagull. I first noticed this curiosity more than two decades ago. I thought I might one day want to visit it. So I did.

Click Here to View Full Page Map with Track

CalTopo (caltopo.com) draws the map and displays the KML file of the track and campsites. Zoom in on the far left of the track on the map to see the island. If you have difficulty with the web page (slow or unresponsive) you can download the KML file directly with the link below (works with Firefox, Chrome). The KML file can be viewed with Google Earth. Display with CalTopo is convenient because it can show the high resolution topo maps. Google Earth needs some extra help in order to do that (e.g. NGS_TOPO_US_2D.kmz).

Gmap4 by Joseph Elfelt (mappingsupport.com) will also render the topo maps with track and campsites. I actually prefer it over CalTopo because it has been using the older scanned map images which have a lot of extra information. But then you are tied to Google. See the link below for the Gmap4 version.

Click Here for Gmap4 version

Download KML
Sea Gull Island

The table below lists the distance (miles), climb (Up Feet), and descent (Down Feet) for each section of the trip. There are a total eleven segments, ten days in a sleeping bag.

Hike to Sea Gull Island and back
Seg miles Up Feet Down Feet Description*
1 3.8 3439 23 Half way up Taboose Creek
2 6.2 2869 1150 Taboose Pass then Bench Lake
3 8.2 2546 1729 JMT then Upper Basin Crossing
4 2.5 883 1329 Amphitheater Lake, Cataract Creek Pass
5 3.1 1293 1664 Observation Pass then Lake 10565
6 1.6 428 1652 9400 ft camp below Sea Gull Island
7 1.9 1511 1668 Sea Gull Island then back near pass
8 3.0 1596 2082 Adventurer Pass to JMT
9 5.1 2637 426 Palisade Lakes on JMT
10 9.7 2409 2327 Mather Pass on JMT
11 7.5 506 6084 Taboose Pass, Car, then Home

sum: 52.5 20117 20134 Trip Totals

*See High Sierra Topix website for map with pass names

Here is a view of Sea Gull island with the west wing in the foreground. During the late summer--early fall, the water level is at its lowest. That makes getting to the island fairly easy. I changed to shorts and sandals and waded across with my hiking pole for support. The water came up to my crotch but no more. I spent an hour exploring the island.

Just after I turned around, while still on the east wing, I was surprised to find the remains of a blue helium party balloon. The island marked the furthest point of my trip deep into the back country. It seemed odd that I would find an accidental piece of human activity so far from everything else.

Sea Gull Island

©2016, 2017 Tom Judd.
Carlsbad, CA