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.
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…
Sunday – 2 miles to Lower Canyon Lake for a dip and 8 miles out
There is just something about waking up a bit earlier to catch the stillness of the early morning light creeping through peaks and trees to illuminate the vibrant green and powder white of alpine terrain. Sitting on a rock, a stump, a blanket; stretching your arms and yawning, taking in your first cup of coffee. It’s as if the world isn’t spinning, eternity has stopped, and its just you and everything else; stone in a brisk mountain breeze, waiting for the sun’s tendrils to brush your skin.
“I know that our bodies were made to thrive only in pure air, and the scenes in which pure air is found.”
– John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, (1938)