Our annual horse pack trip...
...into the Emigrant Wilderness,
was even better than our great trip last year!
With strong sure-footed horses, and fully-packed mules, we were off and climbing. Starting at the Kennedy Meadows Pack Station, at 6,240 ft. we climbed up and over Mosquito Pass, at about 9,400 ft. (This is the reason old guys use horses, and not backpacks.)
Of course, packing our float tubes, waders, propane stove, beer, etc. may have something to do with it too! Grin!
Finally, after cresting Mosquito Pass, Dan Palm and I walked the last couple of miles.....and finally caught sight of Emigrant Lake, our home for the next 6 days.
Passing through volcanic mountains, into the granite and glacier country, is spectacular, and will lush green around us it was obvious that the high country had received more rain than the drought stricken lowlands, not more than 2 hours away.
With clouds building over the Sierra Nevada, Dan and I hustled to get our tents set up and our "kitchen" covered, just in case the heavens decided open up rain.
....step into the kitchen!
With overcast skies, several days, we were greeted to spectacular light shows, right at sunset.
We discovered something new this trip, at sunset: CADDIS....
.....and to a fly fisherman, this means feeding trout!
We decided to sit on the shore and hope the wind would drop, and give us an opportunity to cast our caddis offerings to hungry trout.
On this first evening, even in the wind, I glimpsed a big rainbow suck in a tiny caddis fly, and I quickly stripped off line and shot a cast to the spot. Seconds later I was fast to a strong, fat rainbow...
...and our first "dry fly rainbow" was in the net...a "bank feeder" in about 12" of water!
Although we did quite well the first couple of days, it was time to explore new areas of the huge lake, so we packed up our tubes and head west.
Using Type 3 sink tip lines, Intermediate lines, and 150 gr. sink tip lines, we fished nymphs and big streamer patterns, like the Alaska Special, we used last year.
The native rainbows and brook trout ate them up!
Most of our rainbows averaged about 17"
with some a little over 18".
However, an incredible 20" rainbow, more like a steelhead, topped our catch for the week, taken on a Prince Nymph!
Dan with a big, fat Emigrant Lake Rainbow!
As we kicked back on a hidden beach, for a shore lunch of granola bars, and filtered water, this was the backdrop to the excellent fishing. The beauty of this high country is breath taking!
With the wind kicking up in the afternoon, I switched to a floating line, and tossed big brown and green hoppers up against the rocky shoreline, and was greeted with explosive strikes, as the rainbows surged from the depths, and inhaled the offering. Sometimes the bows would simply suck in the fly, undetected in the chop. It was a blast!
There are few words to describe the beauty of a big native brook trout!....Like me, they don't miss many meals. Grin!
....or the subtle colors in a big native rainbow!
This pair are on the dinner invitation list!
After a week filled with jumping and fighting trout, it was time to greet our wranglers, pack up, and head back over Mosquito Pass.
After riding through Lunch Meadow, and Sheep Camp, we stopped at Grouse Creek for a lunch break of dry salami and Asiago cheese-just about the last of our food.
The stream was beautiful, and a welcome stopping point.
You can almost make out the brookies in this beautiful pool.
Not long after this picture was taken, we scrambled to get our rain gear on, as rain and hail fell from the sky!
Once again, I am grateful for this incredible experience.
To witness a place so untouched.
To share it with a good friend, and thank God for making it all possible.
A day is coming when I will not be able to make this type of trip, and you can be sure I treasure every minute I am allowed to experience God's creation as He intended!