Emigrant Wilderness, September 2018

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Dave and I managed to squeeze in a late-season weekend trip -- my first with Dave! Like my last trip, the full-pack days were exhausting for me. However, I managed the day hike with no problems.


Day 1:  Wright's Lake to Lawrence Lake

Dave and I left my house at 7am, stopped for some coffee and pastries near Sacramento, and hit the trail at around 11:30. We took the Rockbound Trail for a mere half mile, to Beauty Lake. From there we cut back over to the jeep trail, which we took all the way to Barrett Lake.

The jeep trail was not nearly as bad as I'd feared. It was dusty and very rocky, true, but wide enough to walk side by side, and we only encountered one group of ATVs on our way in. They were much slower, quieter, and less offensive than I'd expected.

The signage, however, was terrible -- the entire trip. When we reached Barrett Lake, we actually had to ask some of the ATV campers where the trail continued. Soon after that, the junction to Lawrence Lake, too, was hard to discern and had no sign.. Fortunately, I had a USGS topo and we could figure out where we were, but we really had to pay attention.

We finally made it to Lawrence Lake and made camp on the rocks above the north side of the lake. We circumambulated the lake, rinsed off, pumped water, and settled in for a lovely sunset/moonrise.

Day 2:  Day Hike around Red Peak

 We started out our day hike by backtracking toward Barrett Lake, then turning right up past Lake No. 5. At the top of the next rise we came across an unsigned junction that was not on the map. Based on the topography, we turned right, towards what we guessed was Lake No. 3. Fortunately, we were correct, and soon arrived at this lovely lake.

We skirted left around the lake and took off cross-country up towards the saddle between Red Peak and Silver Peak. It was a fairly easy ascent, and we soon arrived at a lovely view down onto the Leland Lakes and Rockbound Valley. Further east, we could even see Lake Tahoe and Mt. Rose.

Instead of descending to the Leland Lakes, we traversed right, under the cliffs of Red Peak, and joined the trail at its high point on the ridge before Lake Schmidell. We descended a short way on this trail, then took off cross-country again, traversing at a slight climb towards the ridge before Lois Lake. We stopped for lunch part way along this traverse, at a lovely cascade with a view straight down onto Lake Schmidell.

We eventually intersected the pack trail and followed it to the peaks above Rockbound Pass, getting great views of Lois Lake along the way. At the top was a lovely, windswept little saddle that reminded Dave of Scotland. We continued down the trail a short ways, then took off yet again, scrambling down the creek that feeds Top Lake.

We went around the left side of Top Lake and clambered down the granite slope toward Lawrence Lake. Back at camp, we discovered a much better pump & swim spot than the day before -- right at our campsite. It's not clear how we missed it before. We enjoyed a lovely dip before dinner.

Day 3:  Lawrence Lake to Wright's Lake

Our hike out was along the same route, with nothing too exciting to report, There were many more ATVs this day, though, and I actually found their maneuvering quite fun to watch -- a welcome distraction from the monotony of a pretty boring trail. The drivers were all very nice and slightly amused to see hikers, and one of them gave us a couple of beers to enjoy with our lunch!

On the way home we stopped at the Vacaville Black Bear Diner for pancakes and eggs.

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