Trip 1996, Emigrant Wilderness

Return of the Backpacking Home

1996, After three years in Sequoia National park we were looking for a bit of a change, so we looked north to Emigrant wilderness, just north of Yosemite National park.  Given the name we were thinking we'd find even wilder wilderness than we had already seen.  Other than the increased potential of a Bigfoot encounter this was not the case.  It seems the area we went to is frequented by hunters during hunting season and Boy Scouts year round not to mention guided horse trips.  I'm not making an indictment of any of these groups, but Emigrant wilderness has seen some harsh use.  We found quite a bit of trash, spent shells, cans, and even a 15 foot fire ring.  We also spent the night with a couple of dozen cows who naturally fouled the only water source within 3 miles.  We ended up filtering rain water out of holes in the rocks, thank goodness it had rained recently!   There was also the largest fire of the season, 70,000+ acres, just 30 miles from us.  We never saw the sky the entire trip and had plenty of ash raining down.   Not knowing how far away the fire was at one point we even talked about escape plans should the fire come our way.  I tried to picture the area without the smoke and abuse and I'm quite certain this is one of the most beautiful areas of the Sierras.   Amazingly reflective lakes Long lake being the most picturesque, deep water cut gorges, thick lodgepole pine forests, I probably won't go back though.  It's everybody's forrest not just mine.