Absolutely perfect time to hike Esmeralda Basin: There is enough snow hanging on the east flanks of the Esmeralda Peaks on the opposite side of the valley to provide dramatic alpine views, but no snow at all that you need to hike through; water is flowing in the creeks and streams that feed into the North Fork of the Teanaway River providing a pleasant sound track as you work your way up the basin; there are numerous creek crossings, but none are difficult; the meadows are lush and green; both wildflowers and bird song abound. Perhaps best of all in our age of social distancing, fellow hikers were few and far between even on a sunny Sunday of a holiday weekend.
The parking lot was nearly full upon arrival at 8:15, but this trailhead also serves Lake Ingalls and Longs Pass and it seems that most people headed towards those destinations.
I recommend the detour to the Lake Ann overlook, not for Lake Ann itself which is more of a muddy pond than a lake, but the views in all directions from the overlook are excellent, including Mt. Rainier in the distance. I found the views here to be better than at Fortune Creek Pass, which lies less than a half mile from the Lake Ann turn off, making it easy to visit both spots.
Much of this hike is exposed--don't forget sunglasses and sunscreen on clear days.