Thursday, March 30, 2017

Emigrant Wilderness, July 2016

I had a long weekend in July, so I decided to head out for some backpacking. I did not spend much time planning, so I didn't have a permit for the wilderness areas in the southern Sierra Nevada, so I headed back to the Emigrant Wilderness. This year I made a different loop and saw some new areas, while revisiting some of the nicer areas from last year.


I left from the Crabtree trailhead again, but this time headed for Camp Lake. At the lake I took the spur trail to Bear Lake. My goal for the day was the Y Meadow Reservoir. There is no trail between the lake and the reservoir, so I bushwhacked, following the stream up the hill. This was difficult to follow at times, and some sections were very steep. At some point during this leg the rope and stakes got snagged out of my pack and were lost. Very sad :(. This also meant I had no easy way to set up my tarp. I was planning to cowboy camp, and the weather was good, so this turned out not to be an issue. I got to the reservoir and found a flat area on one side to set up for the evening. A group of people came by a while later and camped nearby. It was a very clear night, and the moon didn't rise until later, so I spent some time in my bag watching the stars.
Off trail, looking back at Bear Lake.

Y Meado Dam.

Y Meadow Lake. My campsite was on the flat part on the left side.


I left, following the reservoir to the north end where there was supposed to be a trail, but it was extremely hard to find. Eventually I picked it up and was on my way. I was planning to camp at one of the Wire Lakes. On the way I made a detour through the Upper Relief Valley. This was a very pretty meadow, but there were a lot of mosquitoes, so I enjoyed it without stopping walking. I reached the first of the Wire Lakes around noon, found a nice spot, and spent the afternoon reading and relaxing. My campsite was obscure enough I didn't see all the other people at the lake until the next morning on my way out.
One of the meadows.

Upper Relief Valley, looking North.

Spent the afternoon lounging around here.

The Wire Lakes were very pretty


Today I hiked to Grouse Lake, taking a very roundabout route, see the map at the bottom. I took the trail down to Deer Lake, the East to Buck Lake. I then came around to Wood Lake, and hiked down the canyon to the West. I then hiked up to Gem Lake, where I stopped and had lunch. I continued on to Piute Lake, where I sat and read and enjoyed the area. There was a Boy Scout troop heading this way that kept catching up to me as I took long breaks. I headed down the hill from Piute Lake, the crossed back to the lower trail. This descended through a canyon with very steep walls and a nicely graded set of stone steps. It was mid-afternoon at this point, and it was very hot in this area. At the bottom it leveled out near Grouse Lake. I spent some time looking around for a nice campsite, then setup and got some water. A few different trains of pack animals went by.
I hiked past a lot of lakes, don't remember which one this is.

It was nice in the shade.

Piute Lake, I think.

This canyon was hot but really beautiful.

Campsite for the night.


This was a short hike back to the car. I woke up shortly after sunrise, ate, packed up, and headed out. The only hard section was a short but steep switchback section up to the main trail to the Crabtree parking lot. Again, I passed a few people riding horses and mules. I returned to my car, and headed back to the Bay Area. There was no traffic until I-580, where I caught the end of the Monday commute headed into the area.
On the way out.

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