One of the High Emigrant Lakes situated in the Emigrant Wilderness

 

The 2014 Hoover & Emigrant Wilderness Hikes


Late in October of 2014, I was back in the mountains for one last trip, later than any previous year I’ve attempted  to hike on the PCT in the Sierra Nevada.  I did have a companion, Bob Williams from Reno, and in the event we were on and off the PCT south of Sonora Pass for four days without being caught in early snow.  We used the relatively low [7,100’] trailhead at Leavitt Meadows to avoid the possibility of having our vehicle stuck on Hwy 108 for the Winter! The Leavitt Meadows Trail parallels the PCT south, but about 1500’ lower. 

The first night had us camped at the Chain of Lakes near the PCT, then the following day we climbed over Emigrant Pass into the Emigrant Wilderness [a first for both of us].  The third day saw us over Big Sam on the old wagon road and back down to the PCT in Kennedy Canyon … a fantastic day on a trail less traveled.  Spent the last night at Fremont Lake in a howling gale, with the distinct feel that a major storm was on its way, and indeed, did show up on the afternoon we made it back to the trailhead. 

During the four days and 36 miles we hiked, we met no others, even on the PCT.  This trip was definitely a highlight of my numerous backpacking adventures this year.

  • The entrance to the Hoover Wilderness, just north of Roosevelt Lake. The entrance to the Hoover Wilderness, just north of Roosevelt Lake.
  • Grizzly Peak [10,400'] on the Hoover boundary with the Emigrant Wilderness. Grizzly Peak [10,400'] on the Hoover boundary with the Emigrant Wilderness.
  • Peter resting, reading the trail map ... shortly before losing the trail to Emigrant Pass! Peter resting, reading the trail map ... shortly before losing the trail to Emigrant Pass!
  • Near the High Emigrant Lake, looking north to Big Sam. Near the High Emigrant Lake, looking north to Big Sam.
  • Our great campsite near the High Emigrant Lake. Our great campsite near the High Emigrant Lake.
  • Early morning at the High Emigrant Lake, preparing for the climb over Big Sam. Early morning at the High Emigrant Lake, preparing for the climb over Big Sam.
  • Looking down from Big Sam to the High Emigrant & Emigrant Meadow Lakes. Looking down from Big Sam to the High Emigrant & Emigrant Meadow Lakes.
  • Bob resting on the wagon road on the northern side of Big Sam. Bob resting on the wagon road on the northern side of Big Sam.
  • Bob on the descending wagon road from Big Sam, overlooking Kennedy Canyon Bob on the descending wagon road from Big Sam, overlooking Kennedy Canyon
  • The descending wagon road from the summit of Big Sam The descending wagon road from the summit of Big Sam
  • Peter on the descending wagon road from Big Sam, with the PCT on the distant ridge. Peter on the descending wagon road from Big Sam, with the PCT on the distant ridge.
  • Looking south up to the northern face of Big Sam from the PCT intersection. Looking south up to the northern face of Big Sam from the PCT intersection.
  • Our last night's campsite at Fremont Lake ... before the howling gale arrived. Our last night's campsite at Fremont Lake ... before the howling gale arrived.
  • A simple gravity system for the Mini Sawyer water filter. A simple gravity system for the Mini Sawyer water filter.
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  • Looking south along the Upper Piute Meadow from the Piute Cabin.  Tower Peak behind.  Looking south along the Upper Piute Meadow from the Piute Cabin. Tower Peak behind.
  • On the 10,000' Kirkwood Pass looking west to Tower Peak On the 10,000' Kirkwood Pass looking west to Tower Peak
  • Looking northeast to Dorothy Lake Pass from the outlet of Dorothy Lake. Looking northeast to Dorothy Lake Pass from the outlet of Dorothy Lake.
  • Forsyth Peak as seen from the northwest shore of Dorothy Lake Forsyth Peak as seen from the northwest shore of Dorothy Lake
  • The beautiful Wilma Lake as seen from the shoreline PCT, heading southeast. The beautiful Wilma Lake as seen from the shoreline PCT, heading southeast.
  • Looking back over Wilma Lake to where the PCT runs south from Jack Main Canyon. Looking back over Wilma Lake to where the PCT runs south from Jack Main Canyon.
  • The high view from Macomb Ridge into the deep Stubblefield Canyon. The high view from Macomb Ridge into the deep Stubblefield Canyon.
  • The bottom of Stubblefield Canyon where the PCT dips down to cross the creek. The bottom of Stubblefield Canyon where the PCT dips down to cross the creek.
  • Peeler Lake from its northern shorline. Peeler Lake from its northern shorline.
  • My campsite on Peeler Lake western shore on the evening of 26 September, 2014 My campsite on Peeler Lake western shore on the evening of 26 September, 2014
  • My campsite on Peeler Lake western shore early morning of 27 September, 2014 My campsite on Peeler Lake western shore early morning of 27 September, 2014
  • Looking back from Barney Lake up the Robinson Creek Trail to Crown Point. Looking back from Barney Lake up the Robinson Creek Trail to Crown Point.
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On the subject of getting caught in early snow, I experienced this very situation in the last week of September, 2014.  I went in at the Leavitt Meadows trailhead for a 6 day, 60 mile, solo circuit ... mostly on the PCT southbound, with a plan of returning to the same trailhead from Upper Piute Meadow.  On the morning of the 5th day I woke to 3 inches of snow on the tent, snow that had appeared literally out of the blue.  Because the snow was still falling, I decided to bailout to a closer trailhead … all downhill to Twin Lakes using the Robinson Creek trail. 

I messaged Lucy on my DeLorme inReach to meet me at Twin Lakes in time to retrieve the vehicle at Leavitt Meadows before the Sonora Pass road [Hwy 108] was closed.  As it happened, when we reached the Hwy 108 turnoff from 395, the road had been closed over the Pass, but fortunately only above the Leavitt Meadows trailhead. 

A timely lesson in late season backpacking in the Sierra.  Incidentally, during the actual 5 days and 56 miles on this circuit on and off the PCT, I met a total of 5 people, 2 of them Park Rangers.

 

©2014 Peter Tremayne, Reno NV

 

 

 

 

 

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