July 17, 2020 · Emigrant Wilderness
Check out the route in detail on AllTrails.
On Friday morning I picked Eric up at his place in the Mission and we set off for Stanislaus National Forest. This was Eric's first backpacking trip in a long time, and it would be the first backpacking trip for me where everyone was wearing the same thing.
We arrived to a full parking lot at Crabtree, so we parked a little up the road. We started hiking by 2:30pm. The hike the Bear Lake is relatively easy (not a lot of elevation gain) and short (~4 miles). We arrived at Bear lake 2 hours later, at 4:30pm. We found a great site perched above the lake.
The lake was decently busy (the price you pay when it's so easy to get to), but still very beautiful. We took a nice long swim in one of the most comfortable alpine lakes I've ever experienced.
Today's route took us up a valley to Granite Lake. I plotted the off-trail route beforehand, not knowing exactly what we'd experience. Luckily, there had been other people with the exact same idea and had left a very lightly-used trail and some cairns to guide the way. The route took us 1,000 feet up and to an incredibly beautiful alpine lake.
We did a bunch more swimming, a little bouldering, and some decent star (and comet Neowise) gazing.
In the morning we packed up our camp and made our final trek back to Crabtree Trailhead. Our route took us back into the valley we climbed up, across to the other side, and up a series of granite passageways to the top of the northern ridge. There we joined up with the Chewing Gum Lake trail, which returned us to Crabtree. A tough day with lots of elevation gain and loss.