This is our stomping grounds, so here are a few answers:
So my last trip to Cali for a couple of years (conferences next year look to be Portland and Montreal.)
What is the snow pack like this year?
Lighter--but it is raining (NOT SNOWING) right now at Pinecrest. Of course, higher elevations are getting snow. Snowpack on the peaks is about 1/2 of normal...but we've got a week of storms on the way.
It looks like a need a free wilderness permit and a fire permit at the Pinecrest ranger station - missing anything else permit wise?
Nope. Nice people up there. You can also get a permit at the Mi-Wuk ranger station, which is right on the way...and may be open more often.
How is the bear situation? Glancing at the site I can't tell if a canister is mandatory, but I'm thinking I should use the canister - sound about right?
Canister is not required in Emigrant...but we use one anyway. It makes life slightly heavier, and much easier.
Temps look to be about high 50s during the day to 25 at night.
By the beginning of June, those temps will warm up a bit---but yes, you can certainly get snow at that time of year. What's your route? That will make a big difference.
I haven't put together a pack list yet, but getting the basic requirements of weather etc together. Anything I should know about?
If the weather warms up, the creeks will be VERY high and tough to cross. Choose your route accordingly. It might be better to head to Carson-Iceberg (just across the highway, same permits)
I have a new GPS, an actual map of the area and will be brushing up on my map/compass skills before going. Looks like this will be three nights.
Does anyone know of any showers between Crabtree Cabin and Oakland airport? blush
Pinecrest Lake has showers at the resort---and they are open to the public. Bring quarters....
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
I was planning on starting at Crabtree and doing a loop - I like this area because it looks like if I make better or worse time than I expect I can take one of many trails to the lower parts of the loop (going towards Wood Lake.) (The north part of the loops goes up to Buck Lake, down to Wood Lake and around.) Did that make any sense? If I'm not "washed out", do you suggest doing the north part of the loop on the way in or out?
I'm going to look around and see if I can rent a canister rather than try to fly mine down (takes up a bunch of space.)
My main things I want out of this hike are freeform planning (I did Point Reyes last year and having to reserve the exact spot I was camping each night was a downer - great area and I totally understand why they do this though) and great sights.
I'll keep Carson-Iceberg in my hip pocket as my backup plan.
It kind of depends on when you're going and whether the meadows have dried out yet. I've wandered much of Emigrant and could make a pitch for quite a few areas--mid-late season the water supply can get spotty, as the creeks dry up. I try to avoid the packtrain superhighways, as they're no fun to hike.
Canisters aren't required and I've never lugged on there, FWIW.
p.s. This year's snowpack is poor, so everthing should open up a month earlier than "normal."
p.p.s. In looking at the trail distance map, it's pretty coarse and leaves out a lot of secondary trails, just the kind you'll want to get away from the horses.
We did this trip a few years ago...and loved it. But I will warn you that Piute Creek early in the season can be very high---that's between Camp Lake and Piute Meadow. And if it is really high, you might want to alter your route to go farther north. From Bear Lake there is a route up to Y Meadow Dam Lake that leads into Lake Valley...
You need a better map than this, BTW. Go to Acmemapper and get the real topos for this area.
As for your proposed itinerary: We camped at Gem Lake -- lovley , but no fishing. Then down to Wood Lake --stunning, great fishing, and an easy xc to Karl's Lake as well. And then to Grouse Lake---lousy camping there, and heavily used by horsepackers.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Let us know when you're ready to start planning for Portland! There are several of us Oregonians here! Maybe we can have a TLB forum group trip as we had several years ago! Check out our local hiking forum, PortlandHikers.org
Edit, later: This site is now back up on a new host after the old host's hard drive died.
Edited by OregonMouse (04/08/1307:31 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Howdy, It has been quite awhile since I've been in the Emigrant, but I use to go there a lot. I don't fish, but I remember watching some guy endlessly catch and release trout at some small unnamed lakelet near where I was camping.It was enough to make me think that even I might be able to catch fish there:) The upper part of that loop is nicer as I recall than the lower part. One option you could consider, snow permitting, is to do a more upper loop, taking you by way of Burst Rock. That's higher and more dramatic. Also, I put in a thumbs up for the Wire Lakes: very lovely, my personal favorites in the area. You can get to them by trail from (I think it's called) the Whiteside Mdws trail, but there is a nice, easy x-country route from the trail between Gem and Deer Lakes to get to them. Really easy, no GPS needed, but fun. I think I got the idea to do that from the "North Sierra" guidebook put out by Wilderness Press. It's a good guidebook. Honestly, I like it better than "Emigrant Wilderness" guidebook by Schifrin that you took that map from, which I also have. I find the Emigrant Wilderness book to be a little cumbersome to follow sometimes (but maybe that's just me). All in all, the Emigrant is a pleasant, pretty area with lots of lakes and granite, but it really isn't a difficult area to hike in. No big elevation changes anywhere, no long grunting passes to climb. It's much gentler than neighboring Yosemite is. I like it, but it won't give you quite as much big drama as the Sierra from Yosemite and going south will. Happy trails!
The trailhead for Burst Rock and WHitesides Meadow is Gianelli Cabin--although you can also get there as I described from Bear Lake.
And while there are not a lot of high passes in the western part of the Emigrant Wilderness, you do get a lot of up and down. The ridges run Northeast to Southwest, and every creek requires a hike up over a ridge, then down into the next one...
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
I have a better map, I just found that one on the web and it depicted my proposed route pretty clearly. I got the tear / water resistant one off of amazon, it doesn't have carson-iceberg wilderness on it though. I'm hoping that if I have to go that route due to water levels that the ranger station will have decent maps in the office. I don't think the local map office will print off maps for out of state (on the UAF campus we have a map office that will print out what ever quadrant you need.)
I won't be fishing and I camp to hike. I probably won't make great distances - steep hills kill me, but they are worth it for the views!
Found a collection of current conditions for the Highway 108 area. If spring remains warm as it has been, the highway and trailhead access will be open well before June. Q1/13 proved the driest on record in many parts of the Sierra. Sonora Pass region conditions
Am not aware of any big storms that would have caused widespread blowdowns, unlike the previous winter. Wilderness trail crews are seldom in early, so it's good to plan for creative routefinding.
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
Great photos! and they bring up a point I hadn't thought of - cougar. I'll have to do some reading to see if I have to alter my existing wild animal procedures (do cougar hate off-key singing? I usually try to make enough noise that bear and moose know I'm around.)
If you leave the antler hat and venison necklace at home, you should be fine.
I've seen cougar tracks, only in the last five years and never in Emigrant, FWIW. Emigrant is heavily hunted in fall and while we don't have a mountain lion season, I don't find the megafauna particularly gregarious there, i.e., lotsa horses and mules, not many wild four-legged critters. I think they're pretty wary of us. (Famous last words.)
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