From Crabtree Camp to Lily Pad Lake

With our 45-pound packs on our backs, we began our journey about 8:30 a.m. and set out on the Crabtree trail in the Stanislaus National Forest before entering the Emigrant Wilderness.

We climbed up and down steps made of granite, stopped briefly for a view of Camp Lake then up again and down a dusty switchback trail.

It was hot, our packs were heavy, and after a water and lunch break, our conversation stopped and we headed up again, each of us concentrating on the next step as our packs dug into our shoulders.

After 5 miles, we arrived at Lily Pad Lake, named for the abundance of lily pads on its surface.

After setting up our tent, we grabbed our water bottles and headed for a large granite rock by the lake. We slid into the water, the lily pads preventing us from swimming but allowing us a small space to cool off.

Refreshed, we joined our group for a Leave No Trace presentation by a volunteer of the Emigrant Wilderness and Stanislaus National Forest. We learned that the seven Leave No Trace principles are: 1) Plan Ahead and Prepare; 2) Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces; 3) Dispose of Waste Properly; 4) Leave What You Find; 5) Minimize Campfire Impacts; 6) Respect Wildlife; 7) Be Considerate of Other Visitors.

On a large flat rock against a pink sky, one of our fellow backpackers spontaneously led us in yoga exercises. We fell asleep that night tired but relaxed.

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