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TR: Sounthern Emigrant 7/6-7/8/2016

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TR: Sounthern Emigrant 7/6-7/8/2016

Postby MountainMinstrel » Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:37 pm

Thanks everyone for the beta on this trip. I know it's been done before but I think one of the great things about going off trail is that no two trips are the same.

Day 1

Picked up my permit at Summit Station then made my way over to Crabtree TH (the road seems a little smoother than it has been).

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This was my proposed route for the 3 days I would be out.

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Many wildflowers along the way.

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Made my way up the too familiar trail to the junction taking you down to Pine Valley. About a half a mile from the trail head, as you work your way through an old burn area, I encountered some of the worst Mosquitoes of the trip. Shortly after you head down toward Pine Valley you hit a newer burn zone. That makes this a trail to avoid in the afternoon but in the morning that lack of trees gives you a great view of the Valley.

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The burn zone also gives the flowers plenty of sunshine.

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.
Once on the Pine Valley trail, I headed East past Grouse Lake. This year the Lilly pads seem to cover much less of the lake than normal. Don’t know if that is due to the higher snowfall or just that I’m usually here later in the season.


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Moving up the valley into Groundhog Meadow there were lots of wildflowers.

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Hitting West Fork Cherry Creek, headed south on the use trail till just before the little ponds. Crossed the creek there in mid calf slow moving water just below this little cascade.

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Continued...
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Re: TR: Sounthern Emigrant 7/6-7/8/2016

Postby MountainMinstrel » Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:48 pm

I never found the use trail going up to Rosasco Lake but I just traversed my way up to the obvious saddle and soon found myself at the lake.

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Set up camp on a nice spot in the rocks above the lake about 5:30.

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Having plenty of energy left I took a walk around the lake.

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If you look closely at the center of this shot, you can see my camp.

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After diner, I wandered back to look down into Louse Canyon where I had come up from.

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As the sun set, the little bloodsuckers started to show up, so I hit the sack early.

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Day two coming soon...
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Re: TR: Sounthern Emigrant 7/6-7/8/2016

Postby kpeter » Mon Jul 11, 2016 2:34 pm

Your day one was virtually step for step with my day one. Looking at the photo of your campsite--I think I pitched my tent in exactly the same spot.
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My camp, your camp?


I am sorry you didn't find the use trail--it was particularly clear as it went over and down the notch into Rosaco. But coming up the canyon it was easy to miss it from below. I probably got a quarter of the way up before stumbling on it using my gps, which for some reason accurately had the old trail on its maps.
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The use trail after gaining the Louse Canyoun switchbacks and just before the Rosaco notch


And you and I seem to have climbed up to the top of Louse Canyon at the same time of day and with the same views. But I know exactly how much fun you had as you rested on your first evening at Rosaco! Congrats on what I know was a great start to your trip.
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Re: TR: Sounthern Emigrant 7/6-7/8/2016

Postby MountainMinstrel » Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:35 pm

Yep exactly the same camp spot.

I think I went up onto the granite way to early, but it kept me out of the mosquitos and was still an easy walk. I don't use GPS.
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Re: TR: Sounthern Emigrant 7/6-7/8/2016

Postby justm » Mon Jul 11, 2016 6:55 pm

Thanks for TR, I love that area. I hope your planning on posting the rest of your trip.
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Re: TR: Sounthern Emigrant 7/6-7/8/2016

Postby MountainMinstrel » Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:17 am

Day 2

Woke up on day two with no wind at all. Was concerned that the mosquitoes would be out in force, but the Damsel and Dragon Flies seemed to have done their job.
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As I was eating breakfast, I discovered this interesting looking creature watching over my camp.

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By 7:00 I was on the trail, not sure what this day would hold. The plan was to take the use trail to Big Lake and then back around and over to Pingree. Then head from there to Kole-Leighton-Karls Lakes. Looks to be about a 9 mile day all off trail.

Said goodby to Rosasco…

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Then took the use trail towards Pingree following the use trail till I hit the cutoff to Big Lake. Saw this little critter (owl/Dog?) along the way.

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I never found more than 50 feet of the use trail and finally decided that it was taking me more time looking for it than it would to just navigate on my own. So I just made my was down the little creek till I saw the obvious saddle that would take me up onto the granite towards Big lake.

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I took a 360* video of the big section of granite, but it was corrupted (I hate it when that happens :retard: ). 

I was so mesmerized by all that granite that I failed to check my map and headed to far down the outlet stream. Ended up having to scramble up a tough section west of the lake but seeing the occasional boot prints at least let me know that I wasn’t the first person to do that.

Finally worked my way around to get my first view of Big Lake.

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All in all a very pretty lake but if it wasn’t for the awesome granite surrounding it, I’m not sure it would be a place I would recommend. However, I highly recommend visiting this lake.

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It was only 10:30 so I figured that since I couldn’t find the use trail coming in I would not even try to work my way back around to the trail from Rosasco to Pingree. Instead I decided to work my way up the drainage due north of the east end of the lake towards the two small ponds east of Pingree. Here is the view looking back down to the lake.

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Discovered a beautiful patch of wildflowers as I worked my up to the two ponds.

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I decided that without knowing what lied between here and Kole Lake, and knowing that I have completely screwed up a route before…
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…I decided to bypass the 1 mile round trip over to Pingree (a decision I would later regret) and head on up following the now dry outlet stream to Kole Lake. It took me much less time than I had anticipated and my route took me straight to Kole.

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To be continued...
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Re: TR: Sounthern Emigrant 7/6-7/8/2016

Postby MountainMinstrel » Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:40 am

I ate my lunch (honey and peanut butter on a flour tortilla…yummmm) and soaked my feet for a bit. Then I headed on towards Leighton and Karls lakes. In just a few minutes I found myself looking down on Leighton.

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I worked my way around the East side of the Lake planning to make camp at Karls.

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However, Karls looked very wooded, which is where I had the most mosquitoes up to this point, so I went back to a spot just the other side of the “isthmus?”

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The problem was that it was only 2:00 and I hadn’t brought my guitar so I had a bunch of time on my hands. Now I was wishing that I had gone over to Pingree and spent more time just fooling around earlier in the day. Oh well…better safe than sorry I suppose.

The day had taken a toll on my left knee though and it was barking at me so I found I was really bored as the lake was way to big to walk around with my knee hurting. I have discovered that this now 60 year old has a bit of a knee issue when side hilling with the uphill on my left. Hopefully next time I will remember that and put the knee brace that I always carry on before the knee starts up one me.

So I spent the afternoon lounging around camp taking a few pictures of Leighton and one of my feet?

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And finally figured out how to get a decent macro of flowers on my newish camera.

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Then I ate dinner…twice. These new single serving Mountain House meals are an absolute joke. The rice and chicken was good but 270ish calories is a joke as a backpacking meal. Thankfully I had a larger single serving Lasagna that I also had and that was like 550 calories or so. I really like Mountain House meals but there serving size has gone down way too far as of late.

After dinner I took a few pictures of what little alpenglow there was…

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Then I called it a day and was in bed by 9:00. Tomorrow would be 12 miles back to the trailhead.
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Re: TR: Sounthern Emigrant 7/6-7/8/2016

Postby MountainMinstrel » Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:59 am

Day 3

Today would be the long hike out. I had two options. I could either stay on the lower trail (11 miles of rather boring sandy trail that leaves you with a big climb at the end of the day), or jump to the upper trail at Gem lake (almost 13 miles with more ups and downs but better scenery with three swimmable lakes and downhill for the last 2.7 miles). I opted for the upper route because of the chance for two swims (Gem and Camp Lakes) and the downhill last miles.

I grabbed breakfast and packed up quickly hitting the trail at 7:30. For the first time on this trip, the sky had some character. This is from the South side of Karls Lake.

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Again, I lost the use trail that apparently headed up the rather bushy looking drainage and just headed north on the granite east of the trail to the obvious saddle. This kept me out of the forested area and the bottom of the little drainage and away from the flying bloodsuckers until I got to Wood lake. This was the second time that I had to deet up as they were easily a 3 and the stream crossings required a wade so I had to stop to put on the Teva’s.

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The two stream crossings out of Wood where mid calf and slow moving.

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The trail here is very nice as it follows Buck Meadow Creek down for a couple of miles before crossing the creek again at which point you hit the use trail up to Gem. Along the way there was a bit of snow left here and there.

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The trail climbs up across the granite, but is well marked with ducks, and there are plenty of wildflowers in the sandy spots.

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In 0.5 miles I was striping down and diving into Gem Lake.

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I love Gem for Swimming as it is not too cold but never seems to be like a bathtub either. After a quick dip and a few handfuls of GORP I was back on the trail. Lot’s of wildflowers as you pass Gem.

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Then it is down the trail to Piute Lake, passing through a meadow with more flowers.

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Continued...
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Re: TR: Sounthern Emigrant 7/6-7/8/2016

Postby MountainMinstrel » Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:07 pm

I never quite understood why people camp at the rather boring Piute Lake when beautiful Gem is just a mile and a half or so (admittedly tough miles) up the trail.

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The climb up out of Piute Lake is dry but the flowers were beautiful.

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Then suddenly your looking down at the next drainage where Piute creek runs through Piute meadow. The nature of this trial is across the drainages rather than up or down one so while you never gain or lose a lot of elevation the total up and down can be quite a bit.

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And of course more wildflowers along the way…

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Then you’re in the meadow heading toward Camp Lake…

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I don’t know why but I always seem to forget about the big climb just before Camp lake, but eventually the tired legs carried me up over that last obstacle to Camp Lake.

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Filtered a bit of water there and rested for a bit (the water was really to warm for me to want to get in). and then it was 2.7 miles of walk in the park trail back to the trail head. Took me 45 minutes (that is why I love going out on this trail instead of spending the last of the day climbing up out of Pine Valley.

Total for the day about 12.7 miles. The whole trip was probably 27.3 or so.

Lessons learned this trip.

1. I seem to have lost my innate ability to know where North is so I need to pay careful attention to that. I did that this trip and hit every spot I wanted to. I feel a lot more confident about my off trail ability than I did after my last trip X-country.
2. I am not very good at finding use trails, so in the future I would probably be better off picking my own route. As long as I follow #1 and keep my brain compass calibrated, that seems to work pretty Good for me.
3. Three days is not enough time to see what I want to see.

Al-in-all a great trip.
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Re: TR: Sounthern Emigrant 7/6-7/8/2016

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:28 pm

All in all a very pretty lake but if it wasn’t for the awesome granite surrounding it, I’m not sure it would be a place I would recommend.

Yeap, it is all about the granite. :nod:
Thanks for the TR and pictures, wildflowers are spectacular.
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Re: TR: Sounthern Emigrant 7/6-7/8/2016

Postby squirrel » Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:37 pm

I'll add my thanks for the detailed report. I'm heading to this area tomorrow so I certainly appreciate it.
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Re: TR: Sounthern Emigrant 7/6-7/8/2016

Postby MountainMinstrel » Wed Jul 13, 2016 1:31 pm

Have fun squirrel, take the deet you'll probably still need it in the forested areas.
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