(Newsletter article below the picture).
Buck Lake, Emigrant Wilderness, Stanislaus National Forest
On the evening of July 19th, Dennis Serpa, Dennis Wetherington, and myself met up at Coyote Meadow Trailhead. Bright and early Monday morning we hit the trail for Buck Lakes. It only took us 5 hours to reach camp at Upper Buck. Dennis S. really knows how to set the pace! We met our fellow SWV members Dick Chimenti and Jim McCabe right past the gate, and made plans for our rendezvous on Tuesday morning. They were camped at Long Lake, and had taken the "back" way to Buck Lakes.
Dennis S. ran into some packers from Kennedy Meadows, and they invited us over for dinner.their customers had ridden out that morning, and they had left-over food they needed to use up ... our good luck!
Tuesday morning about 8:30 we met up with Dick from SWV, and he led the way up the canyon towards the illegal campsite, where Jim was waiting. Apparently there is an old horse camp north of Upper Buck Lake, and there is about 300 pounds of camp equipment, fencing material, and other odds and ends that needed to be packed out. This is the wilderness - you're not supposed to leave your "stuff" stashed away for your next trip!! Pack it in, Pack it out!!! What part of that don't people understand??? (Oops, sorry ... I get carried away sometimes!)
Well, we never did make it to the camp. I guess that a hiker's opinion of a "trail" and a stock user's opinion of a "trail" are two very different things!! Believe me ... if neither Dennis S. nor Dennis W. could make it over that mountain, then I don't think it can be done. Dennis W. got very close to the top with his riding horse, but reported that there wasn't enough room for a pack animal. After much discussion, frustration, and scratching of the heads; we parted ways with our SWV buddies and headed back to camp.
I wasn't sure how we were going to get back down the mountain without breaking our necks, but lo and behold, Dennis S.'s young mule "Johnny" scouted the way for us ... so now I call him "Johnny Trail Blazer."
So we had the afternoon to play. Dennis S. and I rode around Lower Buck while Dennis W. hiked and fished while following us. We checked out the check dam and had a nice afternoon. Dennis W. caught several fish, which we ate as appetizers before the wonderful steak dinner that we enjoyed that night. Dennis S. prepared a wonderful dessert in his Dutch oven, and we ate like Kings and Queens!
We headed out Wednesday morning with light packs, which made it easier to pick up the approximately 8 ft. long, 12 inch diameter culvert that was left at Whitesides Meadow ... so of course now we have to call Dennis W.'s pack horse ... "Rocket."
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