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TR: Lillian Lake Loop 5/30-31

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TR: Lillian Lake Loop 5/30-31

Postby Snowtrout » Mon Jun 01, 2015 12:34 pm

Just got back from a first time trip to Lillian Lake in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. My wife and I, plus our two little dachshunds, drove to the Norris trailhead Friday night. Only one other car in the parking lot but did notice some recent horse activity. Next morning, got up and started on the trail around 8am. Norris creek was flowing but easy to cross. We decided to go in a counter clock around the loop and we were glad we did (will explain later). Hike to Madera creek was pretty straight forward with only a few trees down. At Madera Creek, it was flowing nicely but still easy to cross and made a great spot to eat lunch, get water and pull out the bug spray as the mosquitos were out. At about mile 5, trail was still good with only a few trees down but our female dachshund, Sierra, started to get tired and needed a lift, so in the pack she went.

At about 1pm, we arrived to Lillian Lake and made camp. Beautiful lake with a little snow still on the surrounding mountains. Tried fishing but the fish were not feeding yet and we only caught maybe 3 brookies and 2-3 small rainbows in the 8-10" range. For some reason, a bird (guessing a raven) squawked the entire time from a group of trees across the lake from us (quit at night but started up again around 7am). Weather was nice except the wind was blowing off the mountains causing it to feel cooler than 68 degrees but that didn't stop the skeeters from attacking.....they were out and hungry. Dogs were tired and went to sleep on their sleeping bag for a little before following us both around and exploring while my wife and I tried to fish. Every once in a while they would yelp and show us their paw that either had sap with a rock/pine needle wedged in or a large black ant biting the soft area in between their toes. Around 5, the mosquitoes were so bad you could see the swarms and hear the buzzing. Head nets went on and lots of spray on the clothes and dogs and forced my wife to eat dinner in the tent. Wind died around 7pm and the fish started to feed. I caught a few more rainbows and brookies with some pushing 12". Only tried a kastmaster but spinners or other spoons probably would have worked. The bugs disappeared when the sun went down but the near full moon lit the whole basin in a very cool way.

Woke up around 5:30 and noticed the temp was only 45 degrees in the tent. I fished the glassy lake and caught a few while the wife and dogs slept in. Unlike the morning before at the trailhead, it stayed fairly cool until around 8 but that didn't bother the skeeters as they once again reappeared, along with the wind and that damn squawking bird. We packed up camp and were on the trail by 8:30. Going towards Stanford and Vandeburg Lakes, the trail had lots on rock staircases, making it very difficult for our little dogs to jump down them (glad we chose the counter clockwise route as going up these areas would have been near impossible for them to go up). So on top of the pack they went through these sections. Trail was in good condition but this route had a lot more trees down than the previous day. We retraced our steps once we arrived at the loop junction and headed towards Norris Creek. Note: there is no water along the trail from Vandeburg Lake to Norris creek so stock up. At the creek, the dogs were hot, thirsty and just laid in the creek a few minutes until they were ready to finish the trail. Back in the parking lot, our car was all by itself but a welcome sight: cold soda's were waiting and the dogs knew their adventure was over.

Great trip overall with a new area explored.

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Re: TR: Lillian Lake Loop 5/30-31

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 01, 2015 1:28 pm

Thank you for the TR, sounds like anyone going to lower-mid elevations should be prepared for the mosquitoes to be bad for the next couple of weeks.
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