Emigrant Wilderness, August 2004

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This was the Reunion Trip. The trip happened to coincide with our 20th high school reunion, so a bunch of folks flew in from out of town to attend both events. So, in addition to myself and Alex, we also had Eric, Mark, and Bill. Because of the large crowd and the difficultly in scheduling time off, we had to restrict the trip to four days. However, everyone enjoyed the so much they might make it a regular thing!


Day 1: Gianelli Trailhead to Toejam Lake

After dropping a car at the exit trailhead, we drove up to the Gianelli Cabin trailhead and parked. The lot was very full -- this is popular trailhead and it was a weekend morning in the middle of summer. We started out up the hill to Burst Rock and then down past Powell Lake, which we didn't visit but looked nice and is very close to the trailhead.

From the valley containing Chewing Gum Lake we headed up a medium-sized hill will great views of the chimneys across the valley. We stopped for lunch overlooking the Y Meadow valley, then descended to Whitesides Meadow before turning off onto the side trail to Toejam Lake.

We'd planned to go as far as Leopold Lake the first day, but with full packs on our first day we were all pretty tired and agreed to stop early at Toejam. We spent the late afternoon swimming and relaxing by this beautiful, if oddly named, lake.

Day 2: Day Hike to Pinto Lake

With sore feet and hips the next morning, we decided to do a day hike. We retraced our steps North to the main trail, then turned right down into Salt Lick Meadow. From there we set out cross-country, following a stream bed up the flanks of Granite Dome to Pinto Lake. Pinto Lake is very pretty, with a large granite cliff hovering over a large, very green meadow. We spent a few hours sitting in the sun, enjoying this lovely spot.

After hiking back the way we came to Toejam, we had a lovely supper, climbed to a nearby hill, and watched an incredible sunset over Granite Dome.

Day 3: Toejam Lake to Leopold Lake

We started the day hiking South toward Leopold Lake, stopping at a great viewpoint just above the lake, where I took these four pictures:
Our intention this day was to move camp to someplace closer to our exit so that we'd have an easy last day. However, after only a mile of hiking, we were so overwhelmed by the beauty of Leopold Lake that we decided to camp there instead. We then had most of the day to swim and relax, which we did very effectively. The lake has a bunch of beautiful islands, plus a shallow, warm inlet.

Nearby is a great viewpoint looking South over Gem Lake. We had lunch up there and then went back up for the sunset. Smoke from nearby forest fires turned the air gray and red.

Day 4: Leopold Lake to Crabtree Trailhead

We started this day early because we knew we had a long way to go. The first step was a cross-country descent of Tom's Canyon. This is a really nice, isolated canyon with a meadow, some lovely tarns, and a huge granite edifice halfway down. The upper part of the descent was harder than it should of been because we didn't stick to the recommended route. The lower half was easier and well-ducked.

While coming down Tom's Canyon, we'd noticed that Bill's shoes were starting to fall apart -- he'd worn running shoes instead of boots. We patched them with duct tape as best we could, and they held for the remainder of the hike

Almost all the way to the bottom of the canyon we found this incredible forest of ferns.

Once we hit the main trail at Piute Meadow, the hike out was pretty straightforward. There were a couple of grinding hills and the trail was very dusty and full of horse crap, but there were some great views. We passed by Camp Lake as well, which is really beautiful but too overused for any nice actual camping.

Back at Crabtree trailhead, I got this great shot of Bill's worn-out shoe next to a brand-new one he'd just put on.

And don't let's forget our unexpected stowaway, Haygook:

Last modified: Fri Dec 23 22:05:54 2005