Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Sierra Pack Trip-2013

Granite Trail Into the Emigrant Wilderness

 Dan Palm and I set out on a pack trip into the Emigrant Wilderness.  We loaded the mules at the Crabtree Trailhead, near Pinecrest, climbed aboard our horses, and were on our way!

The Emigrant Wilderness is located just north of Yosemite, and you could see the similarities in the country.  Glacier- carved granite looked down on us at every turn. 

 Grouse Lake is situated in a long valley, and gave us a chance to lead the horses and stretch our legs before the big climb up a sheer granite mountain!
Grouse Lake we neared the end of the valley, the granite cliffs closed in, and it was necessary that we climb a man made staircase up and over the granite bluff.  Riding a horse DOWN this "staircase" was quite breathtaking and tense, to say the least!

Granite Cliffs Along the Trail

Rest Stop along Cherry Creek

Red Can Lake
 With no fish to show for our efforts at Red Can Lake, we packed up and headed to Buck Lake to see if we could find better fishing.
Lower Buck Lake

 Everywhere you turned you would see spectacular scenery and Lower and Upper Buck Lake were no exception.  Crystal clear water, and granite islands were typical of these high mountain lakes.  Our base camp was located at 8,200 ft. and our day hikes took us up to 9,000 ft.!!

Brilliant Buck Lake Rainbow
Emigrant Lake was high on Dan's "Bucket List", the largest lake in the wilderness.  The climb was tough, as we hiked the switchback trail 700 ft., to reach Emigrant Lake .  The reward was worth the effort!  Even with windy conditions, big trout came eagerly to our grasshopper imitations!  These rainbows were 16" to 20" and were some of the prettiest wild rainbows I have ever seen! 

Emigrant Lake Rainbow
 Although most of the fish caught were released, we packed out a couple of trout for breakfast, and glad we added the eggs, potatoes and onions to our grocery list!  It was great packing in with mules, since we could bring more of everything, (including a cooler and beer) to make our trip comfortable and fun.

Sierra Breakfast!
 Our base camp was situated on a long, natural canal, that connected Upper Wood Lake to Lower Wood Lake.  This was where we soaked up the sun, and had our first cup of morning coffee, each day.  The peace and tranquility of this area was incredible.  This was the perfect way to start each day, and thank God to be alive and able to experience His creation!
Morning Coffee above our Base Camp

Our final day, Dan and I climbed the mountain again, and fished yet another "picture post card" lake-Deer Lake.  
With 4 days of riding, hiking, and fly fishing, we were ready to meet up with our pack animals and start down the trail to Crabtree.  I remembered to save a carrot for my horse, and "Walter" seemed to appreciate the offering, at the trails end.  
The wranglers at Aspen Meadow Pack Station were very experienced and made the trip fun and safe.
Heading Home

Dan and I are making plans to head back into "God's Country" next year!