I had done several shorter hikes in the Emigrant Wildernes before, the longest being 4 days. On this ocassion I spent 8 days there and made a big loop to cover most of the wilderness except for that area near Bond Pass. I was going to spend longer but after my air conditioner broke at home I had to change my plans. Considering the weather that I had on the hike I don't feel too bad, but I did get some good pictures. The main reason I don't mind hiking in bad weather too much is that I always seem to get such good pictures. Later this fall I'll have to include some pictures from past hikes where I got more such pictures.
I started my hike from the Gianelli trailhead or as some know it, Burst Rock. This route was originally used as a wagon route in 1852 as a short cut to the Gold Fields near Sonora. The name Burst Rock supposedly has changed over the years and used to be called Birth Rock, after a baby was born there during the crossing of the Sierras. This is one of the higher trailheads but the views are good. There are also less people and horse packers, and plenty of wild flowers. In this area the geology varies from granite slabs to volcanic, sometimes with granite on one side of a canyon and volcanic rock on the otherside. There are plenty of meadows and my favorite, great pools on the creeks. For those that want to do some crosscountry travel, you'll find plenty of that also. As pretty as this area is I doubt that I will return for sometime, and when I do it will be after school starts, and before hunting season. The amount of horse packers should diminish by then, and the large number of groups of teenagers won't be seen.
Many of the people that come here do so to fish. There are a lot of lakes that have man made dams to help impove the fishing. Last year Senator Leslie tried to introduce legislation the repair some of these dams. This was done to benifit the large horse packing business in the area. However, it is this very business that makes me less likcly to return in the near future. The vast numbers of horse packers in this wilderness have made a large impact on the trail system and around a large number of the lakes where they have camped. I've always been critical of the Forest Service Multi Use Policy. After all, they tell me to practice minimum impact camping so how can they justify cows and horses. These animals are not minimum impact and tear up trails and meadows. The people that come in by horses also don't practice the same ethics as the hikers. Many of the fire pits that I see in this area have remains of cans and foil, not to mention the large number of lids to chewing tabacoo containers that I saw along the trail. The only real justification that I can see for the use of horses is for allowing handicap people access into the area.