Emigrant Wilderness ◆ 11 Days ◆ 48.6 Miles
Well finally were on our trip. This was three years in the making, frustrated by heavy snow falls the past three years and our goal to be the first in. Two times we optimistically planned our trip under the fantasy that the snow would melt and part in front of us for a loop trip around Emigrant Dome, the geological center of Emigrant Wilderness. Two years we had to re-route and swing between Kennedy Lake and Relief Reservoir. One of those years we encountered 70 mile an hour winds that our trusty tents stood to the challenge. Another, we hiked up past the snow line and made a night of it and camped under the protective boughs of ponderosa pines.
Long & Cow Meadow Lake
Long Lake was our first destination and we hiked in under cloudy skies. The next day was spent hiking and fishing in no particular order, and we managed to get a birds eye view of the lake from a majestic granite dome that stood guard. Day three greeted us with gray clouds and it was time to move down to Cow Meadow Lake. We arrived to clearing skies that would not last. A quick clean up and while dinner was on it's way, the clouds blew open. Cooking with your body over the stove to get something hot into your soul to last out the night is no fun. Not to mention that those clothes had to stay outside and away from the camp to keep away the nosy bears. The rain stopped for a moment and we took a quick walk around before night fall, and encountered the sure signs of a bear roaming the area and decided it was best to get to sleep. That night was a display of natures finest light show and we ended up in our tent for 12 hours.
Huckleberry, Lost & Kennedy Lakes
We awoke to another gray day, wet from the prior night, and jumped for joy as we spied clear skies moving in. The tent was down in a few minutes and we were on our way over the ridge to Huckleberry Lake. What a gorgeous sight as we rounded the bend and there it was in all its glory. My partner and I had talked about getting to this lake for many years and we were finally here!!!! The next days were spent all over the place and the weather was as glorious as we had on this trip. A ridge hike was in order, and the rewarding views of Twin Lakes in Yosemite was inspiring. However, whomever named these must have been near blind or incredibly drunk as they have nothing in common. Sachse Monument and Bigelow Peak were towering to the North. Sachse is named after Charlie Sachse who blazed many of the Emigrant trials that we use today, and Bigelow Peak is a fine example of a metamorphosed sea bottom pushed up into the Sierra crest.
The main point of interest for me was that we were close to Cherry Creek Mine where Tungsten (steel-hardening material) was extracted during WW2 and for a short stretch after, in a futile attempt to mine these deposits in avalanche country. The road hacked into the Pacific Crest to service this and a few other mines in the area was littered with abandoned equipment that was mostly removed by the Forest Service, when this area was granted Wilderness designation in 1976. A thanks to those who made this happen and your legacy will transcend many generations. Time was moving, as so were we. It was just about uphill all the way to Emigrant Lake, and a return to the lake that we believe were the first to get to the last year. Not as deserted as when we came last, but we still enjoyed the stay and moved on to a quiet spot, Emigrant Meadow Lake. It is the juncture of Brown Bear, Emigrant and Bond pass, and was part of any early pioneers path. When the moon rises, it bathes the plateau in a translucent glow that etches in your memory for a lifetime.
May our paths & errands meet