Desolation vs. Emigrant

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Hiker_Sweeney
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Desolation vs. Emigrant

Post by Hiker_Sweeney » Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:16 pm

Hi There,

This is my first HST post - thanks in advance for the warm welcome!

Planning a 3 day / 2 night backpacking trip for the Oct 11th weekend, leaving from San Francisco. I would love some advice on whether people would recommend going to Desolation or Emigrant. I have a permit already lined up for Desolation (Aloha Zone), but would be willing to switch if Emigrant is getting more praise.

Options:

1. Desolation Wilderness: planning on doing Echo Lakes > Aloha (2 nights) > Echo, with a brief dayhike to Heather and Susie lakes for some fishing and hanging. See map here: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/map/d ... th-weekend

2. Emigrant Wilderness: planning on going CCW loop from Crabtree ->Gem lake -> Granite Lake -> Crabtree. This is a little longer of a trip. See map here: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/map/map--56026

All individuals on the trip are pretty experienced and should not have issues with the mileage or elevation. I know it will be pretty cold at night, and I will be monitoring the weather for either.








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c9h13no3
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Re: Desolation vs. Emigrant

Post by c9h13no3 » Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:48 pm

Lake Aloha is best late season with lower crowds and the snow melted off the lake so you can see the little islands. And you already have the permit. And you won't get shot by the slew of hunters in the Emigrant. Easy choice in my opinion.

Also: welcome!
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Re: Desolation vs. Emigrant

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:11 pm

To avoid getting bored If camping at Lake Aloha, don't miss a short side trip to Clyde Lake. Half Moon Lake also worth the effort of a side trip- instead of the trail go x-c up from Suzie Lake. Another advantage of Desolation, is it is a lot easier to bail out if the weather gets bad. I do not think the ferry will be running, so going in from Glen Alpine directly to Suzie Lake may work better.

If I were to do Emigrant, I would go in Kennedy Meadows and the up to the Lewis Lakes, then x-c to Buck Lake, back out via Emigrant Lake via Mosquito Pass; OR over to Upper Relief Valley to go out. That lower loop you cite will be pretty dried out. When I go into Emigrant in late fall I wear my hunter orange vest, just like the hunters.

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Hiker_Sweeney
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Re: Desolation vs. Emigrant

Post by Hiker_Sweeney » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:33 am

Thanks for the help, both!

I think DEsolation is the right call, given the hunter presence in Emigrant.

I also like the idea of starting in Glen Alpine, as it will allow for a loop. See my updated plan here:https://www.alltrails.com/explore/map/map--56051

Start in GLen Alpine> Suzie > ALoha (night 1) > Ropi Lake > little excursion to Horsetail Falls > Night 2 at Ropi > Back to Glen Alpine

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Re: Desolation vs. Emigrant

Post by TahoeJeff » Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:17 am

I think the consensus is that the Tamarack Trail, the green line on your AllTrails link, is a super steep, very lightly travelled, overgrown brushy not fun trail (even going downhill).
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fishwrong
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Re: Desolation vs. Emigrant

Post by fishwrong » Fri Sep 27, 2019 2:43 pm

I haven't hiked the Tamarack trail, but have heard the same things.

If you enjoy fishing Heather and Grass Lakes both hold some nice fish. Very wary and tough to catch, but some special critters. Nice thing is there are a lot fewer folks this time of the year.

Enjoy and let us know how it goes.

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Re: Desolation vs. Emigrant

Post by wildhiker » Fri Sep 27, 2019 4:13 pm

I have hiked the Tamarck trail down to Glen Alpine Springs twice, most recently in 2016. Both times we swore we would never do it again because it was so steep and rocky and sometimes faint and overgrown in other places. But we did do it again, because it made a convenient loop (and because it had been 16 years and we forgot how bad it was). So, if you are experienced with rough and faint trails, and have no knee or other issues with steep downhill, then go for it. Otherwise, stay away.
-Phil

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Hiker_Sweeney
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Re: Desolation vs. Emigrant

Post by Hiker_Sweeney » Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:22 pm

@all Trip Report:

Great trip to desolation!

Day 1: Glen Alpine to Lake Aloha. Water levels were very low, so we were able to traverse pretty deep into the would-be lake and set up camp in a really awesome ledge over the lake
Day 2: LAke ALoha to Ropi Lake. Put our stuff down and proceeded on a day hike, following the river. That night, the moon was super full and we were able to go on a night hike all around Ropi
Day 3: Ropi to Glen Alpine via Tamarack Trail. Definitely was very steep and overgrown at some points, but allowed for us to do a loop, so in my mind was worth it.

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Re: Desolation vs. Emigrant

Post by davidsheridan » Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:59 pm

Thanks for the follow up Hiker_Sweeny. Glad to hear you had a great trip. Do you have photos to share? How were the night time temperatures? And how many people did you come across? Thanks

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fishwrong
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Re: Desolation vs. Emigrant

Post by fishwrong » Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:57 pm

A full moon on the east slope of that wall from Pyramid Peak to north of Mt. Price is a special treat. Darn near daylight reflecting of the granite, and a special experience. Glad you got to enjoy a fine trip.
Last edited by fishwrong on Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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