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Lakes Trail Trip Report

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Lakes Trail Trip Report

Postby MountainMinstrel » Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:33 am

Five of us headed up to Emerald Lake this last weekend. My sister Cindy, brother-in-law John have been hiking together now for the last three years. We took along my Son-in-law Kevin (his first Sierra backpack) and our nephew Brad (his second).
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We saw a Mama bear and her cub about ½ mile in from the trailhead. I didn’t see the cub though.
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The weather reports were calling for a 20% chance of thunderstorms so for the most part we were prepared. It was a good thing we did, because by 1:00 PM on the first day we found ourselves hiking through a hailstorm to get to Emerald Lake. By the time we hit Emerald the storm had cleared and we (well Cindy, John, and Myself) were able to take a dip and get the grime off. On the plus side, the storm did not hit us until we got off the exposed section between Watchtower and Heather Lake.
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My nephew did not listen to our advice and was wearing all cotton (Levis and a sweat-shirt). I was beginning to worry about him, as he was getting very wet. Luckily, I had brought along a large trash bag for emergencies. It made a decent poncho for him and helped him retain some body heat. At least he had the sense to bring a dry change of clothes so everything worked out OK.

Day 2, Brad and Kevin headed out, leaving us old folks to wander around a bit. Our original plan was to head to Pear and then up to Alta Peak, but the weather made that a bad idea. We were determined however to get our first off trail hike in, so se headed N/E over the saddle into the Kaweah (Tokopah fork?) drainage. Had a blast crossing the slabs there and saw some awesome wildflowers.
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We decided not go on into the drainage because of the weather so headed on down to the Ranger Station/Ski Hut. The ranger there has a very nice set-up.
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And a group of marmots to insure that no one sneaks up on him.
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The trail back up to the lakes trail is much wetter and greener that the granite on the lakes trail. We saw a bunch of this evergreen ground cover in bloom. Does anyone know what it is called?
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We made it back to camp around one (just in time for the rain to hit). Fortunately, it did not hail this time but it did rain fairly steadily for 5 hours. We never had to bail to the tents, but it was too much to wander around in. That gave my new Contrail a good test (as well as a test of my ability to set it up using rocks to stake it out). The tent worked out great once I used all of the tie-outs. There was a little condensation but nothing that a wipe down in morning would not deal with.
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The rain lifted at 6:00 PM and gave us a chance to check out Emerald Lake and the effects that all that water had on its inlets.
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Day three broke with a gray sky, but there was a chance that it would clear up, and allow a swim before heading out. That never materialized so we broke camp around 11:00 and headed for the Watchtower. The rain of the previous night had a positive affect on the view.
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Not to mention the wildflowers.
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We had a great trip despite the weather. In fact, I am still feeling the positive effects on my psyche. The new gear worked great, and I think we are ready for the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne/Ten Lakes Basin trip the first week in August.

The rest of the shots are here. http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/564141396LCbecR
ken
Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.



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MountainMinstrel
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Re: Lakes Trail Trip Report

Postby hikerduane » Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:51 pm

Thanks for the flower photos. I think that ground cover is heather if I remember from what Carol told me.
Piece of cake.
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