Fall 2008: Emigrant Wilderness

A Cross Country Ramble in the Emigrant Wilderness

Part 1 - Crabtree to Boundary Lake

Day 0: Travel to Trail Head

Driving to the Sierra.

This trip started over a year ago, Spring of 2007, when I invited Liz to come hiking in the Sierra. She was too busy that Fall so we decided to go in 2008. Spring time came along and I dutifully researched some flights and she enthusiastically bought tickets. Marie and I invited several other people. Of those it turned out our friend Steve, from our old neighborhood, and Irene, from our local Buddhist temple, were able to join us. It was rare for Marie and I to invite so many people who didn't know each other. We hoped they would get along.

We all finally meet on the very morning of our flight for the shuttle ride. Travel goes well and soon we are in a rented car driving to the trailhead.

Crabtree Camp is one of the closest trailheads to the Bay Area (California). It provides access to the beautiful high Sierras and does not have a permit quota system even though it gets heavy use.

Day 1: Crabtree Camp to Small Tarn

The first day we travel 9 or so miles on trail to get into the more interesting terrain. We pass several groups heading out. Near the end of the day we leave the trail and work our way cross-country up a ramp. This leads to several ponds and we find some good camping by one. The water is warm so we all jump in and swim. (All but Marie, who holds a slightly different definition of "warm".) Now, this is not the in and out sort of swim. We are actually in the water for several minutes.

The big gear sort and allocation

Considering the route

Ready to hike

We have left the trail and are climbing a ramp to which should lead us to some small tarns.

Irene cooking a "thanksgiving" dinner for us.

Happy campers at the end of a good day of hiking.

Irene cooks a great dinner of turkey and stuffing with home chicken fond and delicious home-dried yams.

Irene's Thanksgiving Dinner

Boil water amount as per stuffing package directions plus another about 50% for rehydration of yams and veggies. Simmer yams first for about 5 min, next add other veggies, then other ingredients. Heat to eating temp, adding more purified water if necessary.

  • 3.5- 4 c. prepared bread stuffing cubes (e.g., Stove Top brand)
  • 2 (7 oz.) foil packs cooked chicken (e.g. Valley Fresh brand)
  • 5 small yams (or equivalent), cut in small pieces, steamed, dehydrated
  • 1 c. dehydrated mixed veggies (scallions/onions, carrots, zukes, red peppers, peas)
  • 2/3 c. (approx) dried cranberries (these were 'naturally sweetened')
  • 1.5 tsp dried thyme
  • Black pepper (no added salt necessary)
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1 fl. oz. reduced roast chicken drippings "fond" (entirely optional)

Day 2: Small Tarn to Boundary Lake

Circling around our small lake


We circle the pond, pick up a trail briefly, and hike up to Pringee lake. Liz and I jump in and swim out to the small islands. The water is warm. (Marie says the water is not "warm".)


Steve washing his shirt in Pringee lake.

From Pringee we continue south past Big Lake. Marie and I passed through this valley on a previous trip and knew it would be spectacular.

We crest a ridge south of Pringee and survey the county.

Climbing a round dome of granite slab

View down to Big Lake

Looking south into Yosemite

Yellowhammer Lake

Descending endless slabs

The dome we crossed (upper left)

We lunch at Yellowhammer Lake then follow its outlet stream down into Cherry Creek - more slabs. Our friend, Andrew, hiked Cherry Creek several years ago and reported ascending a side valley to a chain of beautiful lakes. I suspect it was this valley.

A pond along the river

Hiking the Yellowhammer outlet stream

Another pond along the outlet stream

Pools in Cherry Creek

It has been a dry year and most of the rivers are not flowing. Cherry Creek has just the smallest trickle. Two years previous, when Marie and I hiked along this stretch of Cherry Creek in October, it was a small but steady flow. I miss the life that clean, moving water brought.

We ascend to Boundary Lake and camp.


Steve doing laundry in Boundary Lake


Tom's Fajitas

  • 1 lb skirt steak, sliced thin
  • 2 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 2 red or green bell pepper, sliced thin
  • Fajita seasonings (custom or packet of from "Mexican" section of store)

Brown the steak. Add onion, pepper, and seasoning. Cook until most moisture has been reduced then dry in food dryer.

  • Dried meat
  • 1.5 C Instant pinto bean flakes
  • 1 C Instant rice
  • 1.5 C Dried salsa (Ballard Market bulk food section)
  • 10 Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • Cheddar cheese

Rehydrate the meat in boiling water. Rehydrate the salsa in hot but not boiling water. When the meat is fully hydrated drain the meat-flavored water into a second pot. Add enough water to hydrate the beans and rice together. Boil water to purify, then add beans and rice and cook until tender. Slice the cheese. Let everyone build their own fajitas.

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