Emigrant Basin Wilderness Backpacking 2019

January 2,  2020


Trip Pictures                                                                                        Videos Link

Day 0

Day 0 was spent packing and getting to the Kennedy Meadows area of the Sierra Nevada where we spent the night at a campsite.

Day 1 Kennedy Meadows to Sheep Camp

After a cold night we started hiking about 10am for our 2800 vertical feet of sunny climbing to Sheep Camp.

Day 2 Sheep Camp to Emigrant Lake

One more day of climbing up and over Mosquito Pass and then down to Emigrant Lake where the mosquito were waiting for us, along with beautiful views.

Day 3 Emigrant Lake to Huckleberry Lake

We would split our group on Day 3 with David, Brennan and I sticking closers to the original route as we hiked to Huckleberry Lake on another beautifully clear day.

Day 4 Huckleberry Lake to Deer Lake

Our plan was to meet up with Darrell, Ken and Daryl at Buck Lake. We found them easily and were just getting ready to set camp when a wilderness ranger kicked us out of the campsite so we headed to Deer Lake instead :-(.

Day 5 Deer Lake to Upper Relief Valley

A fairly easy hike to Upper Relief Valley from Deer Lake. When we arrived in Upper Relief Valley we were treated to the wildflower display of our trip.

Day 6 Upper Relief Valley to Relief Reservoir

To help Darrell we cut our planned last day into two days of hiking. Not I was complaining. A downhill hike through beautiful Lower Relief Valley.

Day 7 Relief Reservoir to Kennedy Meadows

An easy early morning hike for our exit from the wilderness. A nice end to a beautiful 7 days and a relaxing trip.

Our backpacking trip this year saw us returning to our roots in the California Sierra Nevada. We had discussed the Wind River Range in Wyoming but were never able to get off the ball and get something organized. My history with Emigrant Basin started in 1974 with my last 50 Boy Scout fifty miler being in Emigrant Basin.  My father led a group of 10 Boy Scouts into the wilderness by himself when the other adult leader backed out at the last minute. Julie and I made a quick trip to Emigrant Basin the Labor Day weekend after we were married in 1980. Finally Emigrant Basin was a destination for our annual backpacking trip in 1985 or so. Emigrant Basin wilderness is located on the north side of Yosemite National Park and is a convenient wilderness for those living in the east and south San Francisco bay area. https://www.sierrawild.gov/wilderness/emigrant/

Our plan was to spend 8 days in the back country with a rest day on day 4. Our original itinerary for the 8 days (starting August 11) was:

And mapped out on Ride with GPS:

The trip was a pretty gentle trip for mileage and elevation gain (except the first day). I was able to convince folks to hire a pack animal to meet us at our destination on day 2. This allowed us to have much lighter packs for the initial two days of climbing. For me this was $70 well spent and allowed for luxuries such as a box of wine, some fresh fruit and snacks, and a clean change of clothes to be brought in. We could also send out dirty clothes and trash. Doing the trip in mid August worked out well since California had a big snow year and the passes had just opened up a week or so before we did our trip. That meant the mosquitos were pretty fierce at times.

Along with my brothers Darrell and David, I was joined by Nephew Brennan Moore, Daryl Parker, and Ken Rogaski. Daryl had been on my John Muir Trail adventure in 2016, and Ken is a friend of Daryl’s and had been part of a John Muir Trail trip the previous year. Darrell had pulled his calf muscle a month before the trip and it had not healed all that well, which ended up causing us to change up the itinerary. For David, Brennan and I it meant skipping Black Bear Lake and not taking a rest day. For Darrell, Daryl, and Ken it meant cutting over to Buck Lake from Emigrant Lake and meeting up with David, Brennan and I two days later. We did tackle our original final 9 mile day over two days making a stop at Relief Reservoir for a final night. Darrell did make it but he was hurting, especially hiking up hill. Luckily he had the pack horse bring a lower leg brace for him to hike in. All in all, another fun trip and Emigrant is a relaxing wilderness area to tromp around in with many nice lakes to swim in.

Total Backpack on Mileage: 44.6

Total Elevation Gain: 6908 feet (we did that every couple of  days on last years TMB!)

Copyright 2020, Richard J. Moore

keywords: Backpacking, California, Sierra Nevada, Emigrant Basin Wilderness, Hiking

description: Our 2019 backpacking adventure to Emigrant Basin Wilderness in California