TR: Emigrant Wilderness 7/20-7/24

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karynhiker
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TR: Emigrant Wilderness 7/20-7/24

Post by karynhiker » Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:58 pm

This is my first Trip Report. I hope I'm doing this right! I will post pictures once my friend uploads our pics, if I can figure out how to edit a post.

There were 5 of us. Our route was Crabtree Trailhead --> Bear Lake (Night #1) --> Cherry Creek (Night #2) --> Lower Buck Lake (Night #3) --> Piute Creek (Night #4) --> Hike out back to Crabtree Trailhead. We encountered some snow, a few river/water crossings, lots of mosquitoes, beautiful lakes and waterfalls, gazillions of wild flowers, one coyote, and three cows. Oh, and lots of horses and horse droppings.

Day 1: We started at Crabtree Trailhead on Thursday afternoon after stopping at Summit Ranger Station for our wilderness permits. There is no quota and you don't need to call ahead unless you want to pick up a permit after hours. The staff at the station told us that they thought Piute Creek was passable, but that people were turning around at Cherry Creek due to high water levels. So we decided to stay one night at Bear Lake (Night 1) even though that wasn't on our itinerary, since we figured we'd be turning around early and we wanted to spend at least a couple of nights in the wilderness.

Day 2: Both Piute and Cherry creeks were completely doable, even for "newbies" like us. Cherry Creek was mid-thigh high, and moving very slowly, so no problem. We stayed at a nice camp on the east side of Cherry Creek (Night 2).

Day 3: It was a bit of a slog (boggy) to get down to Upper Buck Lake due to lots of melting snow, but it wasn't too bad, just a bit messy and slippery. Once we got down to Upper Buck, there was an easy crossing to get to over to the east side of Buck Lakes before heading south to lower Buck Lake. We camped at Lower Buck Lake (Night 3). Very pretty spot, but LOTS of mosquitos.
Lower Buck Lake_small.jpg
Day 4: We left Lower Buck Lake and headed for Wood Lake. The trail actually crosses the lake at the east end. In dry years, the trail is probably dry, but on our trip, it was submerged. The deepest point was about 4.25'. We crossed this and continued along the south side of Wood Lake. Parts of the trail and hillsides were covered with ice and snow, so we had to scramble up and over these areas, as we weren't comfortable walking over the ice, since it was at a pretty good slope. We finally made it to the end of Wood Lake (it's long and narrow) and continued west along Buck Meadow. Buck Meadow Creek was flowing big and fast and we started to get concerned, as we knew we had to cross it (twice). When we came to the first official crossing, at about 3:00 in the afternoon, we knew it was above our skill level. It was deep and flowing very fast, with rapids just downstream. One of our party had an old map which showed an old trail on the south side of Buck Meadow Creek (the side we were on). We made our way along that side for an hour or so until we found the trail, and we followed that down to where the trail crossed the river. This crossing was much more doable. Although still flowing fast, it was only about thigh high at the deepest point. We set up a rope, just in case. We all made it fine. Then we hiked down to where Cherry Creek crosses the lower loop of the trail. Crossing there was no problem. We headed to Groundhog Meadow and camped just beyond the meadow, on the west side of Piute Creek (Night 4). There are some nice camp spots there, but they are heavily used and not everyone cleans up after themselves. We picked up an entire bag of garbage :angry:
Buck Meadow Creek Crossing_small.jpg
Cherry Creek_lower leg_small.jpg
Day 5: We hiked the ~5.4 miles back to the trail head, past Grouse Lake and a burned out section which is actually pretty nice with lots of new growth.
Grouse Lake_small.jpg
Lessons learned: 1) It's good to take river-crossing shoes. I have a pair of Merrell Vapor Glove 2 which I use as camp shoes. Turns out they are excellent water shoes too. They have grippy soles, are light weight and dry fast. 2) Try to avoid pack trails since they are covered with horse droppings. Lots more, but I have to get back to work, and this is already a too-long Trip Report.
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Last edited by karynhiker on Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.








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maverick
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Re: TR: Emigrant Wilderness 7/20-7/24

Post by maverick » Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:09 pm

Hi Karynhiker,

Welcome to HST! Thank you for posting your first TR!
Lots more, but I have to get back to work, and this is already a too-long Trip Report
No such thing!

Any photos coming later? How were the wildflowers?
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: TR: Emigrant Wilderness 7/20-7/24

Post by karynhiker » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:05 pm

Thank you maverick. Yes! I will upload pictures later today. The wildflowers are amazing right now. All kinds of purples, pinks, oranges, whites, yellows. Tiger lilies, mariposa lilies, paint brushes, pussypaws, wild delphinium, lupin, bearded something-or-other, phlox, tiger flowers ....

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Re: TR: Emigrant Wilderness 7/20-7/24

Post by maverick » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:25 pm

Looking forward to seeing them! :nod:
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: TR: Emigrant Wilderness 7/20-7/24

Post by justm » Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:14 pm

Thanks for the TR . The Emigrant wilderness is my favorite. I've been going there for over 16 years. I've noticed , it's becoming a more popular destination in the last 3 years,; the secrets out!! Thank you for packing out garbage !! I hope we can all take care of it, and it doesn't get loved to death.

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Re: TR: Emigrant Wilderness 7/20-7/24

Post by kpeter » Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:41 pm

What a nice report! From your photos, it looks like it was a bit heavier that it was when I visited last year in late June. So it seems to be running about 3-4 weeks later than last year.
DSC01104.jpg
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Re: TR: Emigrant Wilderness 7/20-7/24

Post by balzaccom » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:06 am

Great report! And thank you for packing out the garbage!
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Re: TR: Emigrant Wilderness 7/20-7/24

Post by Footloose » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:56 pm

Great report and photos. Ranger said Woods Lake Campground is closed for camping at this time due to damage.

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karynhiker
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Re: TR: Emigrant Wilderness 7/20-7/24

Post by karynhiker » Sat Jul 29, 2017 5:10 pm

Any photos coming later? How were the wildflowers?
Some wildflower photos ....
IMG_5939_lr.jpg
IMG_5941_lr.jpg
IMG_5943_lr.jpg
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