Emigrant Wilderness – Out and Back – Kennedy Meadows to Kennedy Lake
16 miles Total
Saturday – 7 miles in and creek side camp
Sunday Morning – A soggy mile out and back to Kennedy Lake
Sunday Afternoon – 7 miles out
The Emigrant Wilderness’s namesake stems from several groups of Emigrants (folks leaving one area to reside in another) that passed through this wilderness but eventually its use as a route was abandoned as the pass was too difficult and there were safer options. As we hike through fall fields walled in by sweeping granite mountainsides and side step small creeks meandering through the vibrant autumnal yellows, we can reflect on the people that made those difficult and dangerous treks through unknown lands and what that must have felt like.
The idea of leaving one’s home for another strange distant land, whether in search of wealth, opportunity, or community is baffling yet was and is commonplace. The essence of the unknown is a terrifying and at the same time enticing or exciting enterprise and so the mix of emotions that these people would have felt is mind boggling, and yet they did it; scared, unsure, nervous, and excited, they made it work and took that leap to the unknown. Their influence still holds true as there are numbers of us daily (young, motivated, inexperienced, and scared) making the decision to take the leap and see it through.
Despite the drought we are currently facing here in California, miraculously, the Forest Service is still allowing campfires in some wilderness areas, the Emigrant among them. With that said, we thought it apt to talk a little of campfires, wild fires, and your responsibility involving the two.
-Drown & Stir-
If you are going to have a fire, make sure it is fully extinguished; lots of water, lots of stirring.
We came across a runaway campfire not long ago where, whomever had enjoyed it’s warmth the night prior did not fully extinguish for whatever reason. Not only was their campsite and fire pit not by any source of water so as to extinguish, but it was in an extremely dry area with loads of debris and dry loose organic matter mixed in with the loose soil. This was a recipe for disaster where truly just an inkling of common sense could have told these folks not to make the decision to have a fire; they ignored said common sense.
-Do Your Part & Make Smart Decisions-
If you have a worry in your gut about having a campfire, it probably isn’t a good idea despite there not being a burn ban in the wilderness area you are in. The Californian natural lands are a tinder box at the moment and it is our responsibility as custodians of our wild landscape to protect what we have and prevent unnecessary wildfire.
Below are a few pictures of a helicopter picking up water out of Jewelry Lake in The Emigrant Wilderness to dump on a runaway campfire that got out of control. Big ups to CALFIRE and their continued commitment to protecting our most valuable asset.
Day 1 – Crabtree Trailhead to Y Meadow Lake – 7 miles
Day 2 – Meadow Lake to Piute Lake – 11 miles
Day 3 – Piute Lake to Crabtree Trailhead – 8 miles
Lakes Encountered: Chewing Gum Lake, Y Meadow Lake, Deer Lake, Jewelry Lake, Gem Lake, Piute Lake & Camp Lake
While hiking long distances and finding beautiful views is rewarding in itself, it’s important to take time to just lay back and give yourself the gift of enjoying your destination. Boots off, pack on the ground and snacks abound, swim in the lake, read the book you carried all that way and doze off…