We loaded up the car at the crack of dawn and were on the road by 5am headed for Emigrant Wilderness, Leavitt meadow trail-head. We ordered a bear bag which didn't make it in time to had to stop in Sonora to rent 2 bear canisters. About 2 hours later we pulled into the trail head parking lot and had to play tetrise with these bulky heavy things which took a few different tries to get it right. We started the trip by breaking the rule to not carry more than 20% of your body weight as Ava and my packs were around 35 to 40 lbs, hard to say once we added the bear boxes.
DAY 1: Leavitt Trailhead to Lane Lake 4.5 miles / 7,000 feet
Spirits were high as we began the hike. The weather was in the low 80s and the trail was a mild climb heading up the valley. Willa was carrying a small pack with her clothes, sleeping pad, stuffed animal, and our pack blanket we share. Her pack was a simple day-pack, not meant for backpacking and rode on her shoulders and she was definitely feeling it. We had to take many water breaks on the way. Ava took off ahead of us as we were hiking at a snails pace. A few hours later we climbed over a rocky hill and caught our 1st glimpse of Lane Lake, so blue and sparkly. After some exploring we found a nice camp spot which overlooked the lake and was stunning. The kids were amazed that we were aloud to camp any place we wanted. Having no designated campsite was a new concept for them
We set up camp and took a plunge in the cool water. Dinner consisted of sausages and dehydrated mashed potatoes. The sausages were great and the potatoes tasted like butter flavoring from the movies, kinda gross but we ate them anyway.
DAY 2: Lane Lake to amazing granite slab 5 miles / 7,254 feet
After a breakfast of smashed croissants, pre-cooked bacon and weird powdered eggs, we got back on the trail. Willa seems to have a hard time with the 1st mile but then hunkers down and finds her inner tough girl and powers through. Her pack was really heavy on her shoulders as the waist belt did not fit her but after a mile of grumbles and gripes she got in the groove. This hike is a mild incline most of the way and we got to experience our 1st river crossing which everyone was excited about. At the icy river we waded through the thigh deep water (waist deep on Willa) and then started looking for a campsite.
The 1st one we found was right by the river which we soon realized was a mosquito magnet so we quickly hiked up and way from the water toward the granite rocks. We found this amazing place to camp and set up our tent on this nook which butted up against what resembled the moon! It was a HUGE granite slab and subsequently there were also less mosquitoes there. This was one of my most memorable camp-spots ever!
We set up camp ditched the packs and head off again for a 2 mile hike to Fremont Lake, 8,235 feet. We thought it was only 1 mile but it ended up being longer than expected and all up hill so by the time we got there we were pretty exhausted and Ava and I had headaches. Scarlett and Willa were doing great and the 3 of us jumped in for a quick dip. We attempted to fish, and even saw a couple but no luck and then head back to camp.
Dinner consisted of tortillas, cheese, and dehydrated beans which were more like bean soup because I added to much water. We honestly didn't care as we were spent from hiking about 10 miles that day.
DAY 3: Moon Slab to Lane Lake 5 miles
We had a lazy morning, lounging on the slab, drinking coffee with chunks of creamer, eating oatmeal (adding Nutella for Scarlett & Willa) The hike back to Lane Lake was easier as we were loosing elevation. Scarlett & Ava went ahead of Willa and I which was nice for everyone as I know Ava was tired of taking to many breaks and could not listen to Willa talk about horses for one more minute.
We made good time and were able to get the prime campsite right along the lake with the ultimate fishing spot. After a lunch of random items smashed together in a tortilla, we swam and then began to fish. You see there were these beautiful large orange shimmery fish that would routinely swim right along the shore as if they were swimming laps. After an hour of baking in the sun Ava had a fish on! We all kinda freaked out as we have been trying to catch fish for over a year now and this was the 1st time. Ava was reeling it out of the water when Scarlett grabbed the line to pull it on shore and it flipped off, splashing back into the water. What a let down, we were so close! And these are not just any trout, they are a rare sub-species that only lives in this lake!
We managed to spend the day fishing and catching a ton of crawdads as they took over the shore at sunset. Dinner was actually pretty good, ramen with dehydrated canned chicken and black beans.
Right before bed Willas managed to spill her cup of tea all over her pjs. In a perfect world she would have shook it off and took her pants off but this is not a perfect world and Willa is, well Willa... She has a hard time when shit happens. She cried and then became angry and mean. She often goes from 0 to 60 and this was one of those times. It is frustrating for the whole family as there is no way to calm her down, other than trying to stay calm. Often I want to yell at her to pull it together and suck it up but that definitely backfires every time. We managed to get into the tent and she calmed down and went to be mad... But at least she was quiet (-:
DAY 4: Lane Lake to Trail head 4.5 miles
We got an early start and trekked back to the trail-head. Everyone was in high spirits as we crossed the bridge by the parking lot. The river was icy blue so we decided to strip down and take the plunge before changing into clean clothes from the car. When I say icy, I am not exaggerating, it felt like ice melt, the kind where you loose your breath.
Our first backpack trip was a success and everyone had a great time. I do think I loved it the most out of everyone. It is pretty cool to have my 3 daughters out in nature adventuring together.