Deep in the Emigrant

1998 was the last year we stayed at Huckleberry Lake and the target for this year as a basecamp trip. A long horseback ride takes you to one of the largest natural lakes in the area fed by several check dam lakes upstream (Snow & Bigelow). There were several peaks in the area for George to climb and new points of interest for me to photograph. And with the lake having a good fishing reputation, George Sr. and John were raring to come along. We found an ok campsite, but it was a central location to explore and ended up being the right place to be during some unusual weather events.

Ridge Views & Blue Skies

Nice thing about the Emigrant, there is no lack of peaks to climb and places to explore. George and I have been sampling for 28 years and have barely scratched the surface. And even though we were covering previous ground, there was plenty to find. Day 2 targets were Wheeler and Bartlett Peaks, 8990 and 8295 feet respectively. George, John and myself started shortly after breakfast and gained Wheeler with a minimum of effort. 360 degrees of views as you straddle the Emigrant/Yosemite boundaries. George and John continued on to Bartlett Peak and I spent my time exploring the ridge area while slowly returning to camp with a refreshing dip in a cool mountain stream.

Next day Richardson Peak was the destination, a considerably further trek than the prior day. George and I were up early and off to spend the day moving cross-country. After gaining the ridge above Huckleberry, it was apparent I was slowing up George, so we parted ways and off he went to bag another peak. He had a bit of a detour on the way back, but nevertheless made it in time for dinner.

Cherry Creek Mine 16 Years Later

The first time we laid eyes on Cherry Creek Mine was our Emigrant Loop trip 1998. We camped on the northeast shore at the inlet and spent several days exploring the area. On our way to Emigrant Lake, we stowed our packs and followed the old road up to the mine and found the remnants of this WWII tungsten mine, replete with the ore hopper still standing after 50 years!!!

Fast-forward 16 years. As I approached something was not right and as I came closer it started to dawn on me that the ore hopper was no longer standing in defiance of nature, having collapsed an unknown number of years before. It was bit sad. What seems unmovable and formidable can change in a heartbeat at the whim of nature. So it goes.

Cherry Creek Mine 1994 vs 2014

The Lake

Huckleberry Lake lies deep in the Emigrant Wilderness on the border of Yosemite. At about 200 acres and 51 feet in depth, it is a beautiful lake with stunning scenery from all angles. The lake is widest at the northeast corner and eastern shore and narrows as you hike to the west and fractures into many inlets. The southern shore trail is well maintained with room for camping if you take some time to find that perfect spot. We were there for 5 nights and saw one other party who stayed one night. Otherwise, we had it to ourselves. Good fishing, nice swimming, minimum traffic and a central spot for exploring make this an ideal location.

May our paths and errands meet...