Love the photos and story, Tony. Don't love the blister photo quite so much ;-)
You've inspired me to pitch in. I really like Emigrant, and used to hike it frequently when I lived farther south. I hiked out of Crabtree a month after your trip, on a four-day solo. Here are a few photos from that hike.
I got a late start and found myself hiking after dark (via headlamp and, later, moonlight). One really appreciates the challenges of following rocky, indistinct trails once the sun goes down. GPS is VERY helpful in finding and following junctions, otherwise it can be literally impossible.
(Let me mention how much I love trails that are beaten to smithereens by commercial packers. It makes hiking so much more pleasant and navigating much easier.)
By Contrast, intermittently one finds oneself hiking on a horsie superhighway.
It was difficult to find a watered place to camp. By September this year pretty much all the streams had dried up, including those normally perennial (we're in year two of a drought here). After finding the trail junction I headed down (dry) Cherry Creek, not really knowing how long I'd be hiking that night or whether I'd have to dry camp with my dwindling water supply (down to a pint or so). Very luckily, I spotted the moon's reflection off of a pool in the distance, and by ear located a tiny audible trickle. The entire flow of this branch of Cherry Creek is represented here:
Considering how large the streambed is this dribble seemed impossibly small, but it disappeared entirely farther downstream. My improved luck held and I found a nice campsite across the mighty rapid from the trail. What it lacked in views it made up for in amenities (i.e., flat spot to sleep on).
Day's destination: Hyatt Lake, via a combination of trail and XC. Much of Emigrant is subalpine forest, but at relatively low elevations it opens up into alpine country, with an always interesting blend of classic Sierra granite and volcanic geology. The trip into the Hyatt basin includes rocky cols and granite slabs, opening vistas south into Yosemite.
I came across this exposed vein of quartz, forming a vertical curtain.
The lake basin opens up from the north. A small surprise is revealed to the observant (which doesn't include me).
Surprise! Earlier in the summer, somebody evidently let their campfire get out of control, burning most of the campsites into a sad memory.
I camped at a site that was legal when I was there, due to the lake's receded shoreline. If the lake had been fuller, I'd have had to look elsewhere.
One of the big Hyatt attractions: a vast quartz sand beach.
That's as far as I've gotten with the photo set! Perhaps more later, presuming Tony and I haven't torpedoed the BPL server ;-)