My boss at work is not able to get away from the office and family obligations very often. He was eager to find time for a backpacking trip before the fall/winter set in and I gladly agreed to be his hiking partner (approval for the time off was a sure thing). Since the weather was forecast to be mild with highs in the 60s and lows in the high 30s, we decided to start our hike out of the low elevation and exposed Bell Meadow Trailhead. Our desire was to explore the lakes in the heart of the Emigrant Wilderness area, catch a few fish and have a great experience.
After a few miles of hiking we reached the canyon that contains the West Fork of Cherry Creek. Our path would take us south into the canyon and over the ridge to the west (left in the picture below).
My Wilderness Press Map shows this as a trail but I would say that many of the "trails" shown on my map should be considered something between a trail and cross-country. I think the trails in this area are relatively infrequently visited and not maintained. We relied on our map to navigate and I used my GPS to verify our decisions.
After a climb that left me short of breath and had my boss with his hands on his knees, we reached Rosasco Lake. It was a small but lovely lake that would make a great destination for a future BPL meetup. July 2012 anyone?
Our next destination was going cross country in Cherry Creek Canyon to Hyatt Lake. The weather was perfect but there was a smokey haze in the air from wildfires in the area.
Hyatt Lake sits in a massive granite bowl but perhaps its most distinguishing feature is its sand beach:
Hunting season is in fully swing and so yellow was the chosen color. Daiquiri on the beach BPL style.
After hiking northeast out of Cherry Creek canyon we traveled to (in order) Pingree Lake, Kole Lake, Leighton Lake, Karls Lake and Red Can Lake.
Red Can Lake and our last destination for the day.
Sunset from camp. The night was windy but the temperature did not drop below freezing.
The next day we traveled north to visit Wood Lake, Buck Lakes, Deer Lake, Jewelery Lake and Gem Lake:
Upper Wood Lake
Upper Buck Lake
Tea time in camp and Gem Lake
The Contrail survived another windy night. The clouds rolled in and it looked threatening but they eventually broke up in the morning to reveal the sun and a pleasant day.
We dropped south back to the Bell Meadow Trail and traveled west back towards the trailhead. We stopped along the way and I let my trip-mate give it a go with my Tenkara Rod.
Back at the trailhead.
I feel fortunate to work with a great group of people and I even enjoy their company outside of the office. This is the second trip in three years with my boss. While enjoying our post hike meal, we agreed to maintain the tradition of a late fall Emigrant Wilderness trip.