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Emigrant - Crabtree to Wire Lakes
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James Winstead

Locale: CA
Emigrant - Crabtree to Wire Lakes on 06/05/2012 00:26:09 MDT Print View

Who: Chris, Andrew, and Myself.
When: June 2-3.

The trip began for me with a sneaky early escape from work(hard to do with a pack on) and dash to BART where I met up with Chris. A short ride later to scenic Dublin, CA where Andrew picked us up and we were off. With nothing to slow us down except the obligatory In-n-Out stop in Manteca, a quick grocery run, and grabbing the permit in pinecrest we were soon at Crabtree trailhead with a decent fire going and a few drinks. Decent way to start a weekend if you ask me.

Our route was never really decided except for the vague notion of a cross country route starting from Bear Lake and sort of playing it by ear from there. Here is a post-trip map courtesy of Chris which shows the route we ended up taking. Total of approx. 26 miles with something like 7 or 8 of them off-trail.

We flew up to bear lake in just about an hour. From there we left trail for the first time to follow Lily Creek up. Chris at left and Andrew right... first snack break and bit of route planning.planning

Bits of snow still hanging on

Off Trail
off trail

Heading Up
off trail 2

Looking Back at Bear Lake
Off Trail 3

Twin Packs... Note the mosquito headnet in mine, which was NOT NEEDED!!


Granite Lake! The first waypoint in our cross country section
granite lake

Shoes off
shoes off

Y Meadow Lake, rejoined trail here
Y Meadow

Soggy Whitesides Meadow... Pretty spot, but kind of a bummer to walk through muck.

We discovered an amazingly large debris field of feathers.
Hawk down

Twas once a hawk... Talons were sharp!sharp

Spring Meadow, we left the trail again and headed over the ridge you see here to reach Wire Lakes (photo courtesy of Chris)
spring meadow

Partway up, looking back west into Spring Meadowspring meadow 2

Made it up to our home for the night... The southernmost of the three Wire Lakes.
This is looking north at the ridge we came over into the basin. We crossed just behind the dome you see here.
Wire Lake

wire lake 2

Had some time to explore around...


Just about full moon rising over wire like. For all the photo-geeks, here is where the camera phone simply can't cut it. Doesn't bother me much though...full moon

Campsite in the morning of Day 2. Clear night, minimal bugs, all three of us were pretty happy. From left to right, my bivy, Chris's net-inner, and Andrew's Bivy. I at least slept in embarassingly late. Oddly, mosquitoes were worse in the morning while packing up and eating breakfast than they were at dusk. (photo courtesy of Chris)camp

Day 2, some creative wayfinding to get down towards Jewelry Lakecreative

Waterfall on Buck Creek

Crazy Toppled Slab

Almost back, hiking out through the burn in Pine Valley

Absolutely awesome trip. It's amazing what Emigrant has to offer for short trips. Likewise, working as a team on planning and wayfinding through off-trail sections is such a rewarding experience. Trail walking is great and for the same amount of effort we likely could have done an additional 5 or 10 miles without much trouble. Off-trail though makes you slow down, plan for and react to the landscape. It encourages and rewards some creativity in your route. I come out with a bit more sense of accomplishment from a trip like this. A side benefit of course is that between Bear Lake and Pine Valley we didn't see a single person.

Thanks are due to Andrew for doing the driving. Secondly, thanks are in order for Ken and Ken for rocking it every year with the GGG. Chris, Andrew and I met there and I'm grateful to have such cool people to share trips like this with.

Edited by James_W on 06/05/2012 16:24:06 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Emigrant - Crabtree to Wire Lakes on 06/05/2012 06:53:03 MDT Print View

Looks like a great time and great weather too. That slab picture is nuts. Nature never disappoints. Quite a few contrails in the photos. A lot of air traffic. Noisy?

Glad the GGGs are working as planned:)

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Emigrant - Crabtree to Wire Lakes on 06/05/2012 10:09:40 MDT Print View

Great report James! Been to Granite Lake a few times. Great pics too

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Re: Emigrant - Crabtree to Wire Lakes on 06/05/2012 10:53:55 MDT Print View

Nice writeup, James. Thanks for putting this together. I had a blast and can't wait for the next one!

chris Nelson

Locale: San Francisco
Re: Re: Emigrant - Crabtree to Wire Lakes on 06/05/2012 19:58:00 MDT Print View

Great Pics! I was just at Emigrant Memorial weekend and had a hard time following the trail because of the snow. Did you see much snow? or all gone?

David W.
(Davidpcvsamoa) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
Re: Emigrant - Crabtree to Wire Lakes on 06/05/2012 21:50:05 MDT Print View

Great pictures and write up James. That looked like a perfect weekend trip in Emigrant.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Emigrant - Crabtree to Wire Lakes on 06/05/2012 22:07:49 MDT Print View

Great stuff James and I like the new packs! I need a new foot.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Emigrant on 06/05/2012 22:46:22 MDT Print View

Hey James, thanks for putting together a nice TR and for an enjoyable weekend. I already want to go back.

Chris N.- there was some patchy snow above 8600', but not very much and it was melting fast.


James Winstead

Locale: CA
Re: Emigrant - Crabtree to Wire Lakes on 06/06/2012 20:03:42 MDT Print View

Thanks all!

All week long it's been a chore to keep focused. I wish I was out there.

Ken, yea emigrant gets overflown pretty regular. It can be noticeable, but certainly not distracting.

Rafi Harzahav
(rhz10) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Bear canister? on 06/07/2012 11:52:19 MDT Print View

Awesome trip guys! BTW: Did you carry bear canisters?

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Bear canister on 06/07/2012 13:52:34 MDT Print View

Nope, Chris had an Ursack which are legal to use in Emigrant. We were able to fit all of our food in it easily. We did not bring the aluminum liner.


Megan P
(meganpetruccelli) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Early July on 06/18/2012 15:37:32 MDT Print View

Looks like an awesome trip!! I'm thinking about heading up there, To Crabtree, in 2 weeks for the same type of weekend. Leave SF fri night. Hike sat & sun and back sunday night.

Any recommendations on a good route for the 2 days? It'll be the first trip of the season so I'm looking for something that won't hurt too bad :-) Although I think we're up for anything.

We MIGHT leave thurs night as well, so I'm looking for a shorter 2 day option and a longer 3 day option.


chris Nelson

Locale: San Francisco
Re: Early July on 06/18/2012 18:46:32 MDT Print View

Hey Megan

You have a few of options leaving from Crabtree and easy to extent to a 3 day trip too.

2 day trip
Depending on how for you like to hike you can get to Piute Meadows or Gem Lake the first day, both great places to camp. Either place you stay, on day 2 you can head south on the connecting trail then head east back to Crabtree.

If you want to add another day you can continue past your camp the first night, then just past Deer Lake head south towards Wood lake, then head east, and camp at Rosasco Lake. Next day head back to Crabtree. If you want more distance you can get to Buck Lake which is beautiful!

You will see many great views and lakes between Piute Meadows and Wood late. Unfortunately Grouse lake is pretty unspectacular due to some fire damage and not a great place to camp.

Hope you have a great trip!

Megan P
(meganpetruccelli) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Re: Re: Early July on 06/19/2012 13:11:30 MDT Print View

Awesome Chris! That's sounds great! And Crabtree to Gem lake is totally doable in a day?

Thanks for the map! That's super helpful!

Edited by meganpetruccelli on 06/19/2012 13:12:19 MDT.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Re: Early July on 06/19/2012 17:00:38 MDT Print View

Megan, Chris is correct. All the places he mentioned are fantastic. Pretty easy hiking too. You can make a loop by going through I think Pine Valley??? I need to look at a map to verify that. Deer and Buck Lakes are fantastic!

chris Nelson

Locale: San Francisco
Re: Re: Re: Re: Early July on 06/19/2012 17:56:06 MDT Print View


Gem Lake is doable in one day. I believe it is 9 miles or so. Not super hard but still 9 miles with some ups and downs. You can always stop at Piute Meadows if it is getting late.

I agree with Ken. If you can turn it in to a 3 day trip you should get to Buck lake. Great sunrise at Buck Lake. Would be a longer 3 day trip but worth it!