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).
We saw a Mama bear and her cub about ½ mile in from the trailhead. I didn’t see the cub though.
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.
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.
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.
And a group of marmots to insure that no one sneaks up on him.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Not to mention the wildflowers.
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
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