TR - Emigrant (Y Meadow, Long, Wood, Deer Lakes) 8/19-23 | High Sierra Topix  

TR - Emigrant (Y Meadow, Long, Wood, Deer Lakes) 8/19-23

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TR - Emigrant (Y Meadow, Long, Wood, Deer Lakes) 8/19-23

Postby MountainMinstrel » Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:40 am

Day 1 - Crabtree to Y Meadow Lake

The great advantage to living in Sonora is getting to sleep in to my normal 7am wake-up and still get to the Summit Station about 8:15. Picked up my permit and was at the trail head by 9.

The first 3.5 miles or so was just a grind through a forested area gaining over 1800 ft. before topping out. It was a bit boring as there was only the occasional break in the trees to see the views you were otherwise missing.

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Then I came to this large glaciated area with a bunch of erratics.

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Shortly after that I got a great view down to Chewing Gum Lake and suddenly the climb up didn’t seem so bad.

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Chewing Gum was a nice place to have lunch and take a quick dip in the cool water. I came across the first people I had seen here, A young couple with about a 4 year old and a toddler (and a pair of Llamas). I’m not sure I would be up to that myself (the kids not so much the Llamas).

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Leaving Chewing Gum, I climbed about 370 ft, to get this view…

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With the clouds starting to build, I blasted on down to Y Meadow Lake.

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Under blue skies I set up camp on the first peninsula to the left just in time to take this and dive into the tent…

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After a refreshing nap of 45 minutes or so, the skies cleared.

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That night had the best view of the Milky Way I have ever seen. Unfortunately my camera did not capture it. There was only one other person at Y Meadow. And he would be the only person I would see on the following day also.

Totals for the day 7.6 miles - 2185 ft. gain – 580 ft. loss.

Day 2 - Y Meadow Lake to Long Lake

Woke on day two to the typical dead calm.
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Packed up and made my way up the trail passing Whitesides Meadow.

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Then, for some unknown reason, I took the trail to Toe Jam Lake for about a mile before I realized what an idiot I was. I did at least learn why they call it Toe Jam as it drops pretty fast at about that mile in. So I turned around and headed back to the main trail. Looking back, I wish I would have gone the rest of the way to Toe Jam as I was so close but…next time.

Back on the main trail I passed this small lake in the Salt Lick Meadow area,

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Then made the surprisingly hard climb up through Spring Meadow and the junction to Long Lake.

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After a bit of gain, I dropped 300 or so feet to Long Lake and set up camp under threatening skies.

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Heard some thunder but never got any rain and after a hour or so decided that since it was still pretty early, I would load up my day pack and head back up the trail and go check out Wire Lakes. This may have been a nicer camping spot than Long Lake, but I chose Long with the hopes of getting a bit of Alpine Glow.

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As I got back to long the winds began to die down and the skies began clearing.

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And I was rewarded with a bit of Alpine Glow to end the day.

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Totals for the day. 12.5 (3.6 with the day-pack) – 980 ft. gain – 960 ft. loss – 1 dumb error.

To be continued...
Last edited by MountainMinstrel on Tue Aug 26, 2014 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TR - Emigrant (Y Meadow, Long, Wood, Deer Lakes)

Postby balzaccom » Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:28 am

Nice report. I understand how you can get confused by those signs in the Emigrant. We stopped and studied the one at Whitesides Meadows for about three minutes, looking at the map, before we were sure that we were going to take the right trail to Leopold Lake....

Thanks for the photos.
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Re: TR - Emigrant (Y Meadow, Long, Wood, Deer Lakes)

Postby maverick » Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:59 am

Hi MM,

Thanks for rubbing in the fact of your short drive. :)
Nice TR and pretty pictures, when did you do this trip, no dates?
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Re: TR - Emcgrant (Y Meadow, Long, Wood, Deer Lakes) 8/19-23

Postby MountainMinstrel » Tue Aug 26, 2014 12:07 pm

Balzaccom - I wish that was the worst error I made this trip (I'll explain in the next installment).

Maveric - Thanks and let me remind you that I am no longer 45 minutes from SEKI like I was from the east side of Clovis. :p
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Re: TR - Emcgrant (Y Meadow, Long, Wood, Deer Lakes) 8/19-23

Postby giantbrookie » Tue Aug 26, 2014 12:29 pm

MountainMinstrel wrote:Maveric - Thanks and let me remind you that I am no longer 45 minutes from SEKI like I was from the east side of Clovis. :p

Yes, those of us posting on Topix living in the Fresno-Clovis area can still rub it in when it comes to Seki, 168 (W Flank JMW plus Kaiser plus Dinkey Lakes), and 41 (Ansel Adams and S Yosemite). But you do have a big edge on us for Emigrant as well as the W flank Yosemite.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: TR - Emigrant (Y Meadow, Long, Wood, Deer Lakes) 8/19-23

Postby MountainMinstrel » Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:46 pm

My apologies for not getting this post before. I really thought I had already done it.

Day 3
The plan for this day was to do the 1.5 miles off trail from Long to Deer lake and then to mossy on over to Upper Buck Lake (1.5 miles), set up camp and then day hike up to Emigrant Lake.

Woke up to another absolutely beautiful morning.

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Then packed up camp…

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And headed out.
The view from the outlet of Long Lake.

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I was surprised to see a dam here.
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Then I followed the stream down to Deer Lake.

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Then the short jaunt over to Buck Lake. That is when My plans for the day changed. The best way I can describe Buck Lake was a mud hole. Evidently run off had pulled a bunch of silt into the lake.

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Unfortunately I was out of water and had to filter a liter from there. That was decision I would come to regret as my filter (Katadyn hiker) completely plugged up at the last fill up, leaving me just enough water to get back to the trailhead.
I decided to head out in hopes that Wood Lake would be clear. Saw this little lady on the way.

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Wood Lake did not disappoint.

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It was still early so I took the opportunity to take a swim and rinse out my clothes.

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Then just hung out, explored a bit, and studied my map. The next day would start with an off trail excursion heading due south to Red Can Lake then head west to Karls and Leighton Lakes. This would be my first off trail excursion that was not line of site and I was a bit nervous about it.
The sun set on a perfectly clear (except for Buck Lake) day…

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and I hit the sack early. Totals for the day 5 ish miles (1.5 of them off trail)

I’ll get the rest of this in the next couple of day I promise.




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Re: TR - Emigrant (Y Meadow, Long, Wood, Deer Lakes) 8/19-23

Postby justm » Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:02 pm

Thanks for the TR and pics. I love that area ! I camped at that same spot at Long lake a couple of years ago. Looks like you lucked out with the mosquitos !
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Re: TR - Emigrant (Y Meadow, Long, Wood, Deer Lakes) 8/19-23

Postby rlown » Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:58 pm

I like this report. It's like an epic in the making. I can hardly wait to see how it turns out. :)

I love the area as well. haven't been there since '83 so this is very cool.. now we wait..
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Re: TR - Emigrant (Y Meadow, Long, Wood, Deer Lakes) 8/19-23

Postby MountainMinstrel » Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:47 am

Day 4
This is the day that could best be described as a circle jerk as in I was a jerk who kept wandering around in circles. The plan was to do some off trail to Red Can Lake then head west to Karls and Leighton Lakes then pack up camp and head up the use trail from Wood to deer lake and on over to Gem but…well let me just say that I saw both more and less than I intended, and did many more miles than I had planned.

The morning light was beautiful at Wood Lake.

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I took off towards Red Can lake passing this interesting dried up mud hole.

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Making my way down to what I thought was Red Can Lake.

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I hung out there for a while and then headed west to Karls and Leighton Lakes. After about an hour of fighting my way up a very steep brushy section I began to realize that I was not where I thought I was. The lake that I thought was Red Can had to of been Five Acre Lake and the mud hole must have been a dried up Red Can Lake. I decided to keep heading up the steep stream bed to Leighton Lake, but it was impossible to follow the creek and I ended up on the knoll south of Red Can.



I sat down for a while thinking about what had gone wrong and to be honest I wasn’t really sure. But at least I had a good idea of where I was even if I wasn’t sure how I got there. So I reset my bearings and headed toward Leighton Lake. About an hour later I found myself on the same knoll again. I am normally a guy that always know where he is and where north is so at this point I was extremely shaken by my inability to walk in a more or less straight line. I decided that the best thing to do was to head down to Cherry creek and the trail I could plainly see. The route was very steep and at one point had to make a very scary class 4 move down a ledge that was the sketchiest thing I have ever done anywhere. To be honest had that ledge cliffed out I think I might still be sitting there 10 months later. Thankfully I made it down to Cherry Creek and headed back to camp.

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Finally got back to camp, packed up and on the trail again by about 2:00. Hiked to the West end of Wood Lake (to be honest this should be called long lake as it is almost just a wide slow moving stream).

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And headed up the trail towards Deer Lake.
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Shortly after leaving Wood lake I lost the trail but I knew that all I had to do was keep the sun to my back and I would eventually hit the trail heading from buck to Deer and then Jem Lake, my goal for the day. There was only one problem with that plan. The trail from Buck to Deer was north of me not east. I ended up doing a very pretty loop around Wood Lake. I wish someone would have been there to capture the totally confused look on my face as I stood in front of this sign post about an hour and a half after heading out.

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I think it took me a good 10 minutes to figure out what I had done.
So up the trail to Buck I went and finally ended my day at Jewelry Lake deciding to make camp there as I was physically and mentally done and the wind was starting to pick up something fierce.

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I think one of the reasons it has taken me so long to get this TR together is that I am totally embarrassed at the multiple screw ups I experienced on this day. Up until this day, I had never gotten myself turned around anywhere. I would like to say that it was skill that got me through this day, but to be honest, I think that the good Lord was watching out for me.
To answer your questions, yes I had a map and a compass and I know hoe to use them but for whatever reason, reason left me this day. Still, all in all, I had a great day. I covered probably 5 miles off trail and 6 on trail as a day hike, then 1 mile off trail and 4.3 on trail with full pack. That is a total of 16.3 pretty tough miles, and though I did not get to see Karls or Leighton Lakes I think I learned a lot about off trail travel.
Also I do not think I have ever slept so good in the back county as I did this night.
That is all of my soul I wish to bear today. I will post the day out tomorrow.
Last edited by ERIC on Sat Jun 20, 2015 8:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: fixed YouTube video embed
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Re: TR - Emigrant (Y Meadow, Long, Wood, Deer Lakes) 8/19-23

Postby balzaccom » Sat Jun 20, 2015 8:23 am

We've hiked this area a lot--and really enjoyed your report. I don't think that dried up hole was Red Can Lake, though. It's too small, and there's not enough granite. There is a small dry lake half-way between Red Can and Five Acre, and I'll bet that's what you saw. You probably missed Red Can entirely. Here's what it looks like:

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And that can happen. We've spent an hour looking for a lake that we knew was within about 1/3 of a mile of where we were...and finally only found it by luck!

Nice report, nice photos!
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Re: TR - Emigrant (Y Meadow, Long, Wood, Deer Lakes) 8/19-23

Postby MountainMinstrel » Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:11 pm

Thanks balzaccom. I must have walked right by it then. That was the hardest day I have ever put in. It was more the mental effort than the physical and the physical was pretty hard.
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Re: TR - Emigrant (Y Meadow, Long, Wood, Deer Lakes) 8/19-23

Postby justm » Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:25 pm

I've done the same thing. I was heading up from 5 Acre lake to Red Can, and went to far in the wrong direction , it was a terribly hot day, and started getting the symptoms of heat fatigue as I blundered around through Manzanita bush on a hot slope .I began to panic a bit. I found a small spring bubbling down from the ridge. I wet my head, got in some shade, and relaxed.. got my senses back. Took a good long look at my map, with my compass, and figured out where I had gone wrong. It's so true what they say, sit down, relax, cool down and reevaluate your situation.
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