Emigrant Wilderness, August 16-18, 2020

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CAMERONM
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Emigrant Wilderness, August 16-18, 2020

Post by CAMERONM » Mon Feb 01, 2021 10:19 pm

This is a short version of a longer description at my website: https://www.trailnamebackstroke.com/emi ... rness-2020
Emigrant map.jpg
I have been wanting to return to the Emigrant Wilderness after walking through the far east side along the PCT in 2015. I am traveling with three women with uncertain abilities so I devise a trip with minimal elevation gain and multiple opportunities to bail early. There is a obvious loop trail and we start from Bell meadow.
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The trail starts at 6,600 ft, so altitude is not an issue, but it is a scorching hot 85 degrees. The trail wends its way through a new forest that is full of new growth and animal life.
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We reach Grouse Lake none-too-soon for the first of many cooling swims. The dense lily pads hint at warm water. I estimate around 76 degrees, perfect for some, a bit bit warm for me.
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The campsite on the south-west elevated rocks above Deer Lake is memorable.
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My group is doing well and to my surprise and approval elects to complete the big loop around the Buck and Wood lakes. The waterway of Wood lake is unique and inviting, really unlike anything I normally see on the eastern side of the Sierra.
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We circle back to our original trail just so we can jump into Gem and Piute Lakes a second time. The light becomes suspiciously yellowish.
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By the time we reach the end of the trail it is clear that there is a fire nearby, which explains the yellow light. We still have no idea that the fires all over California have erupted while we were gone and that virtually all of the Sierra would shut down for the rest of the summer. I hope to return to Emigrant next summer for a longer trip that can include some off-trail travel.
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Re: Emigrant Wilderness, August 16-18, 2020

Post by balzaccom » Tue Feb 02, 2021 7:15 am

Sounds like you had a nice trip. That area is our backyard--and you picked a nice route to see some of the highlights. Hope your next trip ends up with cleaner air--and ours too!
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Re: Emigrant Wilderness, August 16-18, 2020

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Feb 02, 2021 9:17 am

Just curious why you choose Bell vs Crabtree as the trailhead? My preference is Crabtree, especially if there are mosquitoes. The loop through Buck Lake is always wonderful. I have never tried to swim in the lakes- you have inspired me to try this!

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Re: Emigrant Wilderness, August 16-18, 2020

Post by CAMERONM » Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:39 pm

Just curious why you choose Bell vs Crabtree as the trailhead?
Honestly at this point I can't remember, but I remember reading that some don't like Bell as much.
RE: Mosquitos: my June walk on the PCT through Emigrant was about as buggy as it gets. Certainly any place with that much water around is going to be early-season trouble. Ditto the lower area of Humphreys.

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Re: Emigrant Wilderness, August 16-18, 2020

Post by balzaccom » Tue Feb 02, 2021 5:55 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Tue Feb 02, 2021 9:17 am
Just curious why you choose Bell vs Crabtree as the trailhead?
I prefer Crabtree as well, but I think Bell has a bit less up and down right off the bat. Crabtree starts with a climb up and over the ridge, and then down into the canyon--which is just getting you ready for the rest of your hike, which pretty much goes up ridges and then down into canyons...grin. Bell does the same, but I think the first ridge is a couple hundred feet lower.
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Re: Emigrant Wilderness, August 16-18, 2020

Post by wildhiker » Tue Feb 02, 2021 11:53 pm

What was the condition of the road to the Bell Meadow trailhead? Did you see a lot of people on the trail from there? Warm water in Grouse Lake sounds nice - were there any decent campsites nearby?
-Phil

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Re: Emigrant Wilderness, August 16-18, 2020

Post by balzaccom » Wed Feb 03, 2021 7:34 am

There are some campsites on the North side of Grouse Lake---but they are heavily impacted by the horseback rides who stop there---lots of bare ground beaten flat, and hard to get water from the lake because of the lilies. We camped on the rock ledges on the South side....
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