I knew that once we reached the summit and the lake that we would have a great view of Banner Peak. Coming around the last turn, the view was breathtaking in the morning light, reflecting on the lake. The grandeur of the landscape is always humbling, making me grateful to be able to spend bits of my life in such beautiful places.
Reaching Thousand Island Lake, we are now hovering around 10,000 feet in elevation. While walking on the level is not a problem, any uphill exertion comes with heavy breathing. We adjust our pace accordingly.
There are areas on the eastern end of the lake closed to camping. Once we get past the closure, we see a number of camps, including a sizable group, packed in and dropped off for the week by a pack team. We stop to chat with three young women at the camp. They excitedly tell us about the bear who waited patiently for them to go to sleep, resting his chin on his forepaws, and unconcerned by the commotion and flashlights. During the night, he had raided one of their food containers. Apparently, bears like lettuce, but not tomatoes.
We had heard about bears from other campers in the area, and it confirmed our wisdom to stay away from the crowds, where the bears know that the pickings are plentiful.