While at the lake of High Relief Valley, I realized that the abundant scat on the tops of granite boulders was caused by marmots. Some was perched on top of difficult to get to places. It must be a “king of the hill” marmot game, or maybe Ma Marmot says “don’t do that in my living room, go outside!”. There was so much scat in some places that you could use your imagination and make images out of the all that stuff. At one spot I saw what looked like a cross, it must have been the evangelical marmots. I was hoping to find the Virgin Mary in all that stuff, then I could have been famous like the guy who sold his grilled cheese version on eBay.
Friday, August 10
Friday morning I got up at 6:15 AM for an early start. The sun broke over the east ridge at 7 AM and by 8:15 AM I had breakfast and was packed and
r e a d y t o g o . W h y d o e s i t a l w a y s t a k e s o l o n g t o g e t r e a d y ? T h e e a r l y p a r t o f tS E v a lM t n g e l i c a armo ca my tramp out was uneventful. By the time I reached the trail junction to Toejam Lake I started meeting the raft of people going this way or that, but at that point mostly going out to the trailhead. Having been starved for conversation from the previous few days, I must have spent an hour (on and off) chatting with other hikers. The most interesting was a father and son (about 14). They were out for 5 nights and covered an ambitious territory: Starting out the first night at Toejam Lake (8 mile); to Emigrant Lake (10 mile); to Emigrant Meadow Lake via Horse Meadow (7 mile); over Brown Bear Pass to Lower Relief Valley to High Relief Valley (10 miles); to Y Meadow Lake (4 mile); and out (6 mile). The son didn't say much, but when I commented about the climb from Lower Relief to High Relief Valleys, he grunted and said "yea!" The father also described some of his backcountry skiing, saying he enjoyed snow camping in the high country of Emigrant Wilderness and “it’s nice making track in virgin snow.” He said he was trying to get his son interested in backcountry skiing, but he seemed to prefer snowboarding. The father had not been to
any of the Sierra Ski Huts so I recommended the Bradley Hut He did have ,. Alpine Gentian
the same complaint with Peter Grubb Hut as I, that is the bountiful amount of live bowling pins to hit in the tramped down, icy, downhill snow of that area.
Another interesting person I met was wearing his volunteer Forest Service garb carrying a big shovel. I asked if backpack food really gave him that much trouble, and he said "not always, but it does come in handy." He was the one who recommended the 3rd Wire Lake. I enquired about not seeing signs of bear and he said they are skittish of people very much unlike the bears of Yosemite. He said there is essentially no bear problem in Emigrant, and even hanging food rather than using a bear canister works, although not recommended. I told him my story of the BIG teeth marks in my bear canister from my last trip to Yosemite, he was happy to learn that the Garcia brand bear canister he uses is the same one that I proved by experience.
Anyway, time was passing, so I reduced my chatter and headed out. Lots of people going in and out. I stopped for lunch at the crest with a grand view of Chewing Gum Lake and Lake Valley. Another 1-1/2 hours and I was at the trailhead, it was just after 2 PM.
Bouquet of DYCs
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