I spent the last three days doing trail and solitude monitoring in the Mokelumne Wilderness. It is amazing how little you have to hike to get really and truly alone in this area.
The first day I hiked into Summit City Canyon from the Evergreen Trailhead at Upper Blue Lake. The place was deserted, and there was a light dusting of snow on the ground from brief but powerful storm the day before.
i hiked into the canyon, set up camp at the junction with the 4th of July Lake Trail, and spent a little time checking out the trails in all directions—down the canyon, up the Forestdale Trail, and then finally hiking up to 4th of July Lake. That was a treat, not only for the views on the way, but also because the lake is beautiful. I cleaned up one campsite and made sure the rest were good.
I finally went back to my camp in the canyon and went to bed. I had not seen a single soul once I hit the trail.
The next day I hiked out to the trailhead, then decided on the short climb up to Lost Lake–which turned out to be a desolate pond covered in 4WD tracks. Oh well. Back down to the van, where I drove a couple of miles to the Granite and Grouse Lake Trailhead. That afternoon I hiked up to Granite Lake and checked out all the campsites there, taking down a fire ring that was within 20 feet of the water. This was a Friday, and I saw only two people.
Finally, on Saturday I hiked all the way to Grouse Lake, a twelve mile round trip that also has a fair amount of up and down. I saw nobody on the way in, although I did see two campsites that were clearly used for the deer season opener. On the way out, I met one hunter just past Granite lake, and then another twelve day-hikers between Granite Lake and the trailhead–this was on a gloriously sunny Saturday in September.
In all, three days on the trail, a total of about fifteen people seen, all within 2 miles of the trailhead. Yes, I was putting in hours as a volunteer–but also really enjoying the sights and scenery of one of the lesser appreciated wildernesses in the Sierra. What a treat.
A photo log is here; https://photos.app.goo.gl/WhyN8RuN8Tk2BPrb8