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TR: Emigrant Wilderness, Crabtree TH, Memorial Day weekend

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TR: Emigrant Wilderness, Crabtree TH, Memorial Day weekend

Postby tomba » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:35 pm

From Crabtree Campground (map) we picked the trail to Chewing Gum Lake, in a last minute decision at the trail junction. The trail climbs high and we risked some snow. We knew there was snow at Gianelli. When we got closer to the ridge some well consolidated snow appeared, up to ~80% coverage in some places, and trail became useless and disappeared. We went cross-country. We crossed snow-covered meadow east from the Chewing Gum Lk, and climbed the ridge over Y Meadow Dam. We wanted to visit Granite Lake but we saw there was a lot of snow there. Looking north-east we saw less snow. So we decided to go there, skipping Granite Lk, and we went directly to Toejam Lake. As we crossed the gentle terrain above Y Mdw and Toms Canyon we were delighted by many small creeks and waterfalls flowing everywhere on granite. At Toejam Lk we were surprised to see footprints in snow (and later a distant campfire) of another party. At sunset we saw distant red lenticular clouds over Sierra crest. No mosquitoes the whole day.

Click on pictures to see larger versions.

Chewing Gum Lake
IMG_1820-IMG_1822-chewing-gum-lk.jpg

Meadow east from Chewing Gum Lake
IMG_1831-IMG_1833-meadow.jpg

Before Y Meadow Dam overlook
IMG_1849-IMG_1851-before-y.jpg

Sun cups
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Overlooking Y Meadow Dam
IMG_1857-IMG_1860-y-lofi.jpg


The next morning we picked our way through a maze of snow and uneven terrain towards Leopold Lake. This was fun, but slow going. The area around the lake looks very nice. From a cliff over West Fork Cherry Creek we went down north-east towards the confluence of roaring cascades of Spring Creek. The snow ended. Beautiful granite valley. We considered climbing to Wire Lakes but we had enough snow. Instead we followed the creek down towards the trail (see description), followed the busy trail for a short time to Piute Lake, down granite slopes to cascades and waterfalls of Cherry Creek again, crossed another busy trail, followed a horse trail (seen on this map, but not on most others) and crossed the saddle east to Studhorse Meadow. Right at Piute Creek many large mosquitoes covered our clothes. We moved away from the creek to find a campsite - still with mosquitoes but not as bad.

Area around Leopold Lake
IMG_1924-IMG_1926-leopold-lk.jpg

West Fork Cherry Creek valley and Spring Creek cascade (middle)
IMG_1931-IMG_1934-cherry-ck-cyn-lofi.jpg

West Fork Cherry Creek near Spring Creek confluence
IMG_1939-chery-ck-upper.jpg

West Fork Cherry Creek below Piute Lake
IMG_1965-cherry-ck-lower.jpg

Frog at Studhorse Meadow
IMG_1979-frog.jpg


On Monday it was supposed to rain. We were ready to simply hike out in the rain. However, morning surprised us with mostly clear skies. We followed the creek down and climbed the ridge west, through tough bushes. We could have picked a better route. While we approached peak 8126T dark clouds finally arrived at noon. As we filtered water on gently rolling granite on the way to Chain Lakes the first rain drops fell. It was raining the rest of the way. We looked for the pack trail to Grouse Lake marked on some maps, but except few cairns we saw no trail. We quickly hiked out through Pine Valley.
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Re: TR: Emigrant Wilderness, Crabtree TH, Memorial Day weekend

Postby justm » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:04 am

Thanks for the report and those photos are amazing !!
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Re: TR: Emigrant Wilderness, Crabtree TH, Memorial Day weekend

Postby maverick » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:13 am

Thanks Tomba for the informative TR to an area that many folks ask about, and
for the pretty pictures!
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Re: TR: Emigrant Wilderness, Crabtree TH, Memorial Day weekend

Postby balzaccom » Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:04 am

Nice work--nice report!
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check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: TR: Emigrant Wilderness, Crabtree TH, Memorial Day weekend

Postby kpeter » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:32 pm

Thank you for posting this. I asked about the trail to Chewing Gum Lakes at the Pinecrest station and was told it was a "route" and that experienced hikers had difficulties following it. I did see that it was marked clearly at the junction near Crabtree. How did you find the trail? I've found that there are a number of reasonably well engineered trails in the area that they just stopped maintaining and now call "routes." That the case here?

Until I ran into the swamps north of Deer lake I had thought to make my trip a circle and possibly come out the way you went in.

Sounds (and looks) like it was a good adventure!
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Re: TR: Emigrant Wilderness, Crabtree TH, Memorial Day weekend

Postby tomba » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:20 pm

I followed the Chewing Gum Lake trail in October 2011. I don't remember it being hard to follow. See trip report. The reason this trail was had to follow on the trip this spring is that it was largely covered by snow.

Unrelated: I forgot to mention in this report: a lot of wild chive sprouting everywhere in granite sand. Yum.
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