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Your Mosquito's From Hell Trip

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Re: Your Mosquito's From Hell Trip

Postby fourputt » Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:16 am

Met a young Russian emigre couple at Hetch Hetchy once who were heading out and wanted to know about conditions. I said the bugs were pretty bad and advised headnets. They had neither nets nor DEET. They were originally from Siberia and said wimpy Sierra mosquitos didn't bother them.



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Re: Your Mosquito's From Hell Trip

Postby Troutdog 59 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:11 am

Being a backpacking fisherman (as compared to a fishing backpacker) I have gone in "early" numerous times trying to get at hungry fish right after ice out. While I've been through hoards of mosquitos numerous times (You know, the trips where you eat more than you swat off your arm. The trips where they just swarm up out of the rocks in clouds and you just cant help but suck them in), two trips really stick out. Both in the 70's and both with an old girl friend who hated bugs (hmmmn, wonder why things didnt work out???? ;) ).

In 1978 (right after the drought), we headed up bear Creek in mid June. Only made it to a bit above Twin Falls and got turned back by snow. Camped at twin falls and the buggers were thick. We had headnets and good old Cutter with us, but without them it would have been hell (well at least in my estimation, in hers she was already there). We had palnned a 4 day trip, but as it turned out, she was really sensitive to such bites and was already a "tad puffy" :nod:" by day 1. After giving it a go while fishing, she then retired to the tent and only came out for lifes necessities. We hiked out the next day :confused: :wink:

The next year (79), I talked her into coming with me to the Ruby Mtns in NE Nevada. I had been there in late August of 76 and had seen nary a bug and told her bugs shouldnt be an issue :retard: . July of 79 was a tad wetter than 76 I guess and I will admit, to this day I have never encountered the masses of winged demons including hoards of Deer Flies. We hiked over Liberty pass to Liberty Lake. We were fine as we hiked as there was a breeze and Cutter kept them off of us just fine. However the lake was protected from the wind and from the time we set up camp until dusk, the mosquitoes and deer flies just seemed to increase in numbers until there were simply clouds of them. She got bit by a deer fly about 5 minutes after our arrival. She got in the tent after that and came out only as a necessity. I fished with long sleeves and a head net, but the Cutter didnt really deter the Deer Flies so I retreated to the tent after about an hour and a half of fishing. Again, we had planned a few days, but retreated after one night. She came out of the tent 3 times after I set it up. Twice for natures call and once to leave.

In all fairness, I should note that the young lady did numerous challenging hikes with me after that, but she never again went in before mid August.
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Re: Your Mosquito's From Hell Trip

Postby SSSdave » Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:19 am

balzaccom >>>"...And last year, Nelson and Reymann lakes in Yosemite were unbelievable"

Yeah the Lyle Fork areas and Cathedral Range can be rather bad as lots of wet meadows and level granite slabs where snowmelt pools.

I'm surprised none of you have mentioned Emigrant Wilderness or northwest Yosemite because that is where there is more standing water many years than anywhere else due to the excessively heavy granitoid glaciation. During worst glacial periods that region had large deep icecaps at crest areas that ground granite areas so dramatically in the Cherry Creek basin. Consider all the small ponds in this topo link about Letora Lake. What it does not show is for every pond on the map are several more smaller ones during mid June to mid July during peak squeet season.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=38.13557,-119.72699&z=15&t=T

My worst experiences have been there in Emigrant Basin early 70s and a group trip we did in 1978 into Falls Creek. There is one mosquito phenomenon I use to separate the level of mosquitoes in an area and that is swirling mosquito clouds. Such swirling whining clouds are common in interior Alaska and northern Canada where there are vast numbers of lakes and swamps. The clouds mainly occur late afternoon unless breezes are strong. On these two trips in peak mosquito season there were swirling clouds during all times of day. In fact wherever one walks about there is a low level high pitch whine in an othewise quiet landscape. I was a twentysomething backpacker and had not figured out how to deal with them beyond bringing DEET. However the fishing in those areas was also some of the best in the Sierra. Those were the days before I got serious about photography, as my main activity was tossing out dry flies fishing. Thus I quickly figured out a number of ways to reduce issues with mosquitoes.

Additionally for my photography it is more towards the end of peak mosquito season when greenery and wildflowers peak while snow still graces the higher peaks that I have tended to orient my trips during. Thus have continued to hone how to keep their nuisance level low. In any case once they get to the swirling clouds level, it is a bit too much because they will not only get in front of one's lens when taking pics but with a view camera, anytime I remove a lens or the groundglass, some may get inside. Having a bug inside in the optical path can make unuable every sheet of film exposed especially if the squeet has set down on the film or lens.
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Re: Your Mosquito's From Hell Trip

Postby rlown » Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:01 pm

Cross Country wrote:Speaking of Upper Mattie -- and yes that's me catching some nice fish out of there.


CC, that is not upper Mattie.. your lake in the picture is too big and upper M is much, much smaller and in a small deep valley.

This is, err, was Upper Mattie:

HPIM1538.JPG
The length of the lake at dusk


And what used to be there. Credit to Steve for the fish..

IM000382.JPG
Dinner


and SSSDave, Emigrant in '83 August was my worst skeeter experience ever.. It was hot and they were huge and we decided to sleep "under the stars".. both our foreheads looked like a skeeter landing zone the next morning. We had a tent, but we didn't use it.. Too tired to set it up at that point. A really bad mistake.

Russ
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Re: Your Mosquito's From Hell Trip

Postby sparky » Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:59 pm

I experienced mosquito swarms in Washington in I think 1998? or 1999? that seemed as bad as the Sierra. You know....once it gets to a certain point its hard to say what is the worst ever. Multiple times I have ran for miles caught in swarms without my headnet.

Merced canyon june 2010 was the worst I can remember in recent years. But with a headnet and deet it just is what it is.....it doesnt put me in a foul mood.

If I had a tarp or bivy they might be able to foul my mood lol but with an enclosed tent...no worries!
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Re: Your Mosquito's From Hell Trip

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 06, 2012 5:34 pm

Back in the late 80's while in route to Arrow Lakes Basin via Paradise Valley and
encountering heavy thunderstorms which had my hunker down in Upper Paradise
the vampires were pretty bad, but nothing could prepare me for what was going
to happen later on in ALB.
While heading up into the basin the swarms got progressively worse.
In the basin later on in the day I saw that there was 2 other parties in ALB, but all
4 people were inside there tents with no intentions of coming out.
Both parties were pretty new to backpacking and did not have the necessary
clothing or chemicals to combat these viscous insects. With there experience levels
I was surprise they had chosen to come visit such an isolated area, but a friend of
theirs had raved about AHB, but the things is that there friend had also recommended
September to them, not June!
Later on in the evening after spending all afternoon in the tents nature called, and
two of the guys came out running towards the trees, about 2 min's later I saw one of
them running from behind the trees literally smearing mosquito's onto his whole
arm (short sleeve shirts) so one could barely see the skin on his arm from the smashed
mosquito's, and the other guy following a few seconds later doing the same thing
except this time there was a lot of blood mixed in with the smeared mosquito's.
I have never witness anything like this before or since, and hopefully never will.
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Re: Your Mosquito's From Hell Trip

Postby Cross Country » Wed Jun 06, 2012 5:55 pm

I've got a pic of me fishing upper Mattie. I've been informed the pic I submited is not it. Oh well. I'll try to find the one of upper Mattie.
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Re: Your Mosquito's From Hell Trip

Postby lambertiana » Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:43 pm

I have had a number of experiences with really thick mosquitoes in the Sierras, but the worst was probably on Bear Creek near Hilgard Creek in July 2004. We were base camping there with some scouts, and the mosquitoes were relentless all day long. I would spray 100% DEET on my arm and they would land on it immediately afterward.

The worst I have ever seen was on a canoeing trip in the Adirondacks in NY back in the '70s. One particularly bad stretch was on the meandering creek through the swampy area between Brown's Tract Ponds and Raquette Lake.
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Re: Your Mosquito's From Hell Trip

Postby Herm » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:18 pm

Two equally bad experiences for me. First was a trip to May Lake and Glen Aulin the last week of July 1998, where the buggers were bad at May Lake, then terrible on the hike through to Glen Aulin. At May Lake, there was open ground on which to camp, but snow in some piles was still 4 feet deep.
Second was a trip to the Middle Fork Bishop Creek drainage in mid-July 2005. There were no real problems until we got above Emerald Lakes, but the real problems started just as we crossed above the inlet to Dingleberry Lake. At that point, it became an unending invasion of the eyes, nose and mouth, and hustling up the trail just hurried us into worse conditions. When we arrived at Midnight Lake, it was all we could do to get the tent set up and we hunkered down for the evening. The next morning, we awoke before sunrise, packed in a hurry, then descended to Blue Lake, where we enjoyed a couple more nights with hardly a bother.

I know that is part of the reason why I find September a nice month to backpack.

Herm
I am not in a hurry, so don't be hasty.
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Re: Your Mosquito's From Hell Trip

Postby rlown » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:28 pm

Herm wrote: know that is part of the reason why I find September a nice month to backpack.

Herm


EXACTLY!!! That's been the best advice ever. But then, some of us know this.


Russ
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Re: Your Mosquito's From Hell Trip

Postby Mradford » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:19 pm

Last year i did a trip to the upper owens in June or july, cant remember exactly. After the 6 hour drive from orange county i got out of the truck to throw on my waders and realized i had left them at home!! :( Needless to say i was filled with terror as i walked through the most ridiculous swarms of mosquitos for the next 4 hours. at one point i was squatting down to release a fish and felt multiple stings on my leg and looked down to see 9 mosquitoes destroying my leg. This was while wearing Ultrathon bug repellent. Needless to say it was the worst night ever trying to sleep without itching. The trip ended a few days later and the tally was 19 bites on my right leg, 15 on my left, a lot on my arms and one amazing bite on my father in-laws head. there were seriously swarms of them. Crazy!!
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Re: Your Mosquito's From Hell Trip

Postby Kris » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:51 pm

Hiking out of Phipps Lake. As we're trudging up the hill x-cntry to get back to the trail you'd wipe one arm down with perhaps ten or more skeeters, and by the time you finished doing that (a few seconds maybe?) you were wiping down the other arm. Over and over. Drove us nuts for about 15 minutes or so til we got out of that area. We had run out of deet that evening before.
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