On Saturday afternoon I decided to blast up to Leavitt Peak in the Emigrant Wilderness. The round trip on this walk was 15 miles. The hike was more to test gear than anything else. I left the Sonora Pass / PCT junction around 1400 hrs and found the trail quite pleasant. I love this area because its my backyard and access is only 1 hr 30 mins from the Sky Ranch. The Pacific Crest Trail (marker 2000) crosses the Sonora Pass before entering the Emigrant Wilderness.
Once you leave the blacktop (hwy 108) you immediately begin climbing through elevation. The Sonora Pass is 9,900 ft and once you hit the Emigrant Wilderness boarder you’re at 10,600 ft and sucking wind HAAARRRD!! The Pacific Crest Trail is a nature walk, but the grade and altitude really tests your heart and lungs.
Breaking into the Emigrant is like stepping into another world. The landscape is harsh and barren. The only thing that exists are Sierra sage and scrub brush. Everyone asks me, “Are you afraid of bears where you go”? My response is never. Me and the bear have an agreement. I stay out of your berry bushes and you stay out of my high country. Plus there is nothing for them to live on above 8,000 ft. The biggest critter up here is the Marmot. Fuzzy and curious is all you get from him. Crossing into the Dead Man lakes area is as spooky as the name. Not sure why they call it Dead Man Lake / Creek, but I’m sure the story is worth a camp fire review. The Dead Man Lakes is a barren high Sierra no mans land. The wind howls out of the northwest and in the winter this area must be like a combat zone for mother nature.
Behind me is my final objective for this hike. That is the north buttress of Leavitt Peak (11,500). Just below the buttress you can just barely make out Dead Mans Lake. Continuing on along the ridge line I cross over the weakness between the Deadman’s area and the higher sierra lakes (Latopie and Koenig Lakes) that feed Leavitt Lake.
In the above picture you can see Leavitt Lake being the lowest and Koenig and the upper one Latopie Lake. I decided to bivy for the night at Latopie. I was getting concerned about my water options, but after dropping in too this area all was good. Set up camp just in the Latopie “circ”.
Considering the area and lack of water and life… The wildflowers where BEAUTIFUL!!!
Next morning I got up made some chow and coffee before breaking down camp. But before going any further I had to figure out my boot “problem”. Ya see this summer on all my hikes I noticed my right foot was killing me after about 6 miles. I using a pair of Salmon XT hikers. SUUUUUPER comfy! With the exception of the burning feeling in my right foot closest to my 3rd metatarsal bone. So what I did wrong was I took out the foot bed insert and replaced it with a Dr. Scholls’ gel insert. This morning I replaced the Dr. Scholls’ inserts with the original inserts that came with the boots… Keep your fingers crossed.
The sun was perfect for a few Semper Fi Fund shots. What’s with the grumpy face… I had my coffee and made a visit to the “fighting hole”…
I like this one too… Minus the grumpy bear.
I packed up camp and headed out for the final destination. Up up and up I traveled. The climb up to 11,000 ft was a slog fest.
That bald summit is Leavitt Peak. The hump goes up the left side of the mountain. Below the summit is a lone glacier just trying to maintain till the 1st snows.
The proud summit is attained. I looked everywhere but never found a summit registry. 11,500 ft did not come easy.
On a positive note, the boots worked like a charm once I changed out the foot beds.
Summit photo on Leavitt Peak looking north toward Hwy 108.
About Operation Awakening II
Operation Awakening II, “The Long Patrol” is an event born from the success of the original Operation Awakening. During this first event, a 3,325 mile trans-America bicycle ride, Tim Tuomey raised $55,243 for the Semper Fi Fund. For Operation Awakening II “The Long Patrol”, Tim has set a goal of raising $100,000 in contributions for the Injured Marine, Semper Fi Fund. This time Tim’s fundraising event will have him trekking 2,600 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail!