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TR Crabtree to Gem Lake

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TR Crabtree to Gem Lake

Postby MountainMinstrel » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:42 pm

I know that this has been covered before but…
Had the chance to get out for a short overnighter last weekend (July 5/6). This was my first backpack in my new backyard (Emigrant Wilderness). I was so excited to get out that I awoke at 4:00AM got dressed and headed to Crabtree TH. The problem with that was that I needed to pick up a coup[le of things at the store on my way, but with the trail head only about an hour from my house and the store not opening until 6 I was left with time on my hands. So I pulled off of the 108 near Cold Springs and watched the sun come up.

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As you can see, I was so excited to hit the trail I couldn’t really wait for the sun, so at 5:52 I booked it off to the store and at 7:00 was on the trail. I was in fact in such a hurry to get on the trail that I failed to deet up. This was not necessarily a bad thing as the blood-suckers only got to me when I stopped.
I made it past this very buggy pond…

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and on to Camp Lake (2.6 miles and close to 500 ft. gain) in about an hour.

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Leaving Camp Lake. I dropped off to Lily Creek at around 7300 ft. Here is a shot of the creek as you drop down.

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From there I climbed the 700 ft. in 1.5 miles to the un-named lake half way between Camp Lake and Piute Meadow.

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The climb was tough (at least for me), but there were many wildflowers to brighten things up.

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Finally topped out and headed down the 430 ft. to Piute Meadow.

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Then it was time to climb the 430 ft back to cross into the drainage for the west fork of Cherry Creek and Piute Lake. To be honest I was really beginning to run out of steam but as usua,l the wildflowers made things a little more bearable.

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Thankfully, it is only about a 200 ft. loss in elevation getting back down to Piute Lake.

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This is a very nice lake and I was tempted to bail on my plan to make Gem (another 1.5 miles and 450 ft. gain), but the three young couples camped there pushed me on. Thankfully, there were still plenty of distractions along the way…

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To be Continued….
Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.



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Re: TR Crabtree to Gem Lake

Postby rlown » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:45 pm

continue now please. Makes my ankle hurt less. :)
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Re: TR Crabtree to Gem Lake

Postby MountainMinstrel » Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:46 pm

Sorry, had to stop to clean out the bus for this weekend and eat dinner. What did you do to your ankle?

I finally made it to Gem Lake about 2:00 PM.

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9.3 miles, 2080 ft of climbing and 1000 of descent in 7 hours (6 trail hours) is not bad for this old fart. I was tired but rewarded by a great campsite at the far end of the lake.

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And one of the most awesome evenings I have had in quite a while.

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As the evening came on the wind died down.

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I was hoping to get some reflected alpenglow on this formation but the exposure was too much to the south.

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I did however get some decent color on the mountains to the East.

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Then it was off to bed. Of course I slept horribly (always do the first night out), and when the sun came up, I just couldn’t seem to pull myself out of bed. My bladder finally forced the issue around 7:30 and I soon myself wide awake trying to protect my…um…self from the little blood-suckers while peeing (sorry, no pictures). I got dressed, deeted up, and headed down to the lake in hopes that the still morning would work its magic on it. I was not disappointed…

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Made some breakfast and headed off down the trail at 9:00. I went South from Gem Lake and caught the Buck Meadow Creek trail, and headed back towards Crabtree via Pine Valley.
Came across this nice waterfall.

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To be continued again…
Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.
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Re: TR Crabtree to Gem Lake

Postby MountainMinstrel » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:05 pm

I have to say that this trail, while being more level that the one I came in on, was not very interesting. To top it off it was covered in either ankle busting rocks or soft sand. There were however, the great wildflowers.

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I passed this small pond near the Cherry Creek crossing. It had the blackest water I have ever seen in it.

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Then there was this bit of natural sculpture that someone placed against this tree.

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Stopped for lunch at Piute Creek and tanked up.

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Sure looked nicer than the water near Cherry Creek!
The trail from there to Grouse Lake was very pretty.

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But Grouse lake itself was more like gross lake.

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Sure glad I tanked up at Piute Creek.
I didn’t take many pictures after Grouse because the area was burnt plus I was just too tired to get my camera out.
Took this last shot looking down on Bell Meadows Just before reaching Pine Valley trail head and heading back up to Crabtree getting there around 3:00. Finishing off the day with approximately 9 miles, 2000 ft. of down and 1000 ft. of up in six hours.

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Two day total of 18.3 miles 3000 ft. of gain and loss and a total of 12:30 trail time or about 1.6 mile per hour. For me that is doing pretty good, and although I was totally beat at the end of each day, the next day I was ready to hit it again (yes I could have gone again Sunday).

I LOVE my new backyard!
Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.
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Re: TR Crabtree to Gem Lake

Postby balzaccom » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:41 pm

Nice report. When you have more time, check out the lakes further south...Pingree, Leighton, Yellowhammer, etc. Great area
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Re: TR Crabtree to Gem Lake

Postby MountainMinstrel » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:06 pm

Thanks balzaccom, I had wanted to spend another day and make it out to Buck Lakes but...well, I'll take what I can get. Your website has been very helpful in my trip planning, thanks. My wife and I hiked out to Sardine falls three weeks ago and weekend before last I day-hiked out of Gianelli to Chewing Gum lake. It will take a long time to see all this area has to offer.
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Re: TR Crabtree to Gem Lake

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:44 am

AAAAaaaah...someone else who has the sense to carry a Sling-Lite chair. Never leave home without it. And OBTW, I will be heading to that area and beyond next week. Maybe see what Shallow Lake/Fraser Lake looks like.
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Re: TR Crabtree to Gem Lake

Postby justm » Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:19 pm

The Emigrant wilderness is my favorite. Thanks for the trip report and photos :)
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Re: TR Crabtree to Gem Lake

Postby MountainMinstrel » Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:04 am

Doyle, I love the Sling-Lite. The only problem with it is getting out of it after a long hike. ;) There have been a few times I have had to just roll out of it and then get up from all fours. I found that a piece of blue foam helps that a lot. It is probably the most expensive piece of my kit and worth every penny.

I can't wait to see/read your TR.

justm, I am finding it every bit as wonderful as SEKI (maybe even more), plus it is within an hour of my house and much less crowded. I will be post some more TR's ass time allows.
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Re: TR Crabtree to Gem Lake

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Sat Jul 20, 2013 11:21 am

MountainMinstrel wrote:Doyle, I love the Sling-Lite. The only problem with it is getting out of it after a long hike. ;) There have been a few times I have had to just roll out of it and then get up from all fours.....

I have been breaking in a newbie backpacker (and lifelong friend), and strangely, at first, he had all kinds of trouble getting in and out of the chair (which is my backup chair, since I outfit him), and finally after about 5 trips, he has not mastered it, but is doing much better. My regular pard, with whom I am going into the Emigrant this next week, has no such trouble (I traded a chair to him in exchange for my current ~1 pound tent, one of many tents we both own). Naturally, neither pards question the usefulness of the chairs.
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My newb friend near the Merced RS and our dining room.
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