maneki_neko wrote:hi. it seems like your trip was a mixed bag. i was actually planning a very similar trip this weekend. we won't be able to hit the road from sf until 10am because of work obligations. looking to hit the trail by 2 - 3 pm and see if we can make it to gem lake. not sure if we'll be be able to make it to gem lake by sundown. i thought that camping at piute lake was a reasonable back up plan for the first leg, but your talk of the "horrendous" mosquito situation is making me reconsider. how many hours did it take you to hike to gem? any thoughts on a back up spot if we don't make it that far on our first day?
also, anyone have a better, more scenic way of getting to deer and buck lakes? any help would be much appreciated. thank you!
Hi Troy, all,
First, there was some scenic value to the trail out of Crabtree and at this time of year it was not all that dry. The stream crossings were pretty and green, and there were plenty of granite walls to look at, and views south to the snow in Yosemite boundary country. My complaints were about the up and down engineering of the trail more than the scenery. For example, compared with Kibbie Ridge or Moraine Ridge this trail was far more scenic.
Gianelli would probably not have been feasible until more snow melts, but as far as energy expended it certainly looks like a better deal.
There are many places you could stop to camp along Crabtree trail. There is Piute Lake as you mention, but others have camped near the crossings of Piute Creek which is shorter yet for a first day. Gem Lake is almost all the way to Deer Lake--there is a 400' elevation gain from Cherry Creek up to Gem and from Gem on to Jewelry and Deer the elevation gains are minor. I am a slow hiker at age 54 and coming from sea level, and took 9 hours to cover the 11 miles to Deer Lake. At least a couple of hours of that was fording and resting. Gem Lake would have saved about an hour. Piute Lake I reached in about six hours I think.
Regarding that Rainbow in Long Lake--it was so big that maybe it was a recent plant to reseed the lake?
With regard to mosquitos, just be prepared. The best mosquito protection is a water carrying device so you can conveniently camp somewhere breezy and away from trees, bushes, and water. People like to camp in green areas near water and this is the worst thing you can do during mosquito season.
Beyond that all I can say is that the mosquito band is moving up and there will probably be few places to escape them at this time of year, unless you can camp around 9000 feet at snowline. They were beginning to come out at Deer Lake by the time I left which is appx. 8400.
The scenery was not as spectacular as some places, and my photography and the time of day was often subpar, so I would not normally post the following sorts of "documentary" pictures. However, they will give you an idea of what you will see along the Crabtree trail. Plenty of pleasant stuff.