Emerald Lake, Sequoia NP

6:29 p.m. on June 16, 2013 (EDT)
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Yesterday I figured that I'd better start getting in some trail time to get in better shape so Patman doesn't run circles around me next month.  I didn't have a lot of time because my wife wanted me to take care of her honey do list, so I opted for a quick hike to Emerald Lake in Sequoia NP.  It's a 12 mile round trip from the Wolverton trailhead.

The start of the trail is in typical middle elevation forest


ppine will appreciate the trees there.  It is primarily red fir


with the occasional white fir (left) and jeffrey pine (right)


A mature jeffrey pine


And, of course, the occasional sugar pine, one of my favorite sierra trees


There are a few brooks running


About halfway up is the Watchtower, a granite monolith with a thousand foot face.  I had never been on top of it before (the trail goes around it) so I scrambled up to the top to take this picture looking up the canyon


Then I went back around to the trail, this is the Watchtower from the trail


Looking down the face; the picture does not convey the depth.  The trees below are 1000' down


From there looking up the canyon, you can see where the trail is cut from the face on the right


Going up the trail, this picture was taken from that cut, looking back toward the Watchtower


Continuing upward, the next point of interest is Heather Lake, where the forest transitions primarily to lodgepole pine


On the divide between Heather Lake and Emerald Lake, looking northeast


At that elevation, you start seeing western white pine.  These trees grow to over 200' in Oregon, but at this elevation in the sierras they only hit 100' or so, with trunks that are rather thick for the height


6:39 p.m. on June 16, 2013 (EDT)
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And then over the divide, you get to Emerald Lake.  There is a large pool in the outlet stream just below the lake proper


The outlet stream immediately below the lake


And then the lake itself.  The glaciers scooped a very deep depression in the granodiorite bedrock, and the lake plunges straight down out of sight even at the outlet side (and I mean straight down, it's an underwater cliff)


Before I went back to my car, I made the obligatory walk down to Aster Lake.  A shot of the stream above Aster Lake


A pool just above Aster Lake, looking back up toward Emerald Lake


Aster Lake can be very photogenic in the evening or morning when it is glassy calm and you get the mirror reflection, but it was breezy yesterday afternoon so the pictures didn't turn out well.



After that I made a hasty walk back to my car.  I liked the staghorn lichen on the red fir


I didn't see much wildlife, no bears this time and only one deer.  Of course, the woodpeckers and grouse were noisy.  The only other wildlife that I spotted was this Ent


All in all it was a nice way to spend a Saturday.  Mission accomplished, too, I got home in time to take care of my wife's projects.  Left home at 7:40 AM, and got back home at 5 PM.

12:39 a.m. on June 17, 2013 (EDT)
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Nice pics and report!  I especially like the one of the view up the canyon - cool terrain!  It's nice that you live close enough to Sequoia NP that you can go on a 12 mile day hike & still be home for dinner!

And if I' not mistaken, that little meadow looks familiar.  I went snow shoeing up toward Alta Peak in March, and then went thru that area again over Memorial Day weekend on a backpacking trip up in the Great Western Divide area.

7:56 a.m. on June 17, 2013 (EDT)
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Lol, No worries on that John, I’ll probably be exhausted from jet lag, dizzy from the Mineral King road, and short of breath from the altitude…

These pictures are really cool.

So the Jeffery pine is very similar to the Ponderosa?


This is a great report and really makes me anxious to get out there (as if I weren’t excited enough already); Thanks for showing this!

9:41 a.m. on June 17, 2013 (EDT)
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Yes, jeffrey pine is very closely related to ponderosa.  It used to be considered a subspecies of ponderosa, but now it is classified as a separate species.  The cones are very distinctive, they look like one of the old style beehives.  And the sap has a wide variety of aromas, depending on the individual tree and the location.  Sometimes it is typical pine smell like ponderosa, sometimes vanilla, sometimes lemon or pineapple smell.  I found some trees once that had sap that smelled just like vanilla candy.

3:15 p.m. on June 17, 2013 (EDT)
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Great Trip report and photo. Have to say I am a bit jealous you live so close.Hope your next trip is as grand...

11:01 a.m. on June 18, 2013 (EDT)
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High Sierra at its best, cool TR!

12:15 a.m. on June 20, 2013 (EDT)
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beautiful photos.  i need to get to the sierras ASAP!

12:56 p.m. on July 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Great report, John! I am really glad you pointed out the different species of pine! I was wondering that while on my recent trip to the Sierras. I really enjoyed KC and Sequoia! I wish I had had more time (and energy) to see more of them. Thanks again for your advice. You made it very easy to find what we were looking for. You are SO lucky to live so close. I am very jealous!

I hope you and Patrick have fun on your big upcoming adventure!

9:55 a.m. on July 2, 2013 (EDT)
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Nice report and pics. What a great place to go for a day hike esp one being that close

11:01 a.m. on July 2, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks for the post, if I lived near there, I'd never get that honey-do list done...

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