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Suggestions for a trip with few mosquitoes

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Suggestions for a trip with few mosquitoes

Postby tomba » Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:13 pm

We are are planning a leisurely 5-day trip June 30 - July 4. Pine Creek, Granite Park, Royce Pass, most lakes above French Canyon, Pine Creek Pass and out. However, based on the reports, and what we have seen in Sabrina Basin last weekend, it seems that mosquitoes will be at their peak, so we may cancel this.

Do you think mosquitoes will be bad in this area? We remember that lower French Canyon was bad August 27 last year.

What about Humphreys Basin instead? Perhaps sticking mostly to the higher lakes, especially on NE side?

I saw a report that Dusy Basin was bad last week, so that is out.

It may be impossible to find a relatively mosquito-free area this time of year, but maybe not? Does anyone know?

As for our preferences it is mostly lakes, streams, open granite, and scenery. No fishing. We really like going cross-country, but going with kids I prefer to avoid most class 2 passes. We come from Bay Area.
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Re: Suggestions for a trip with few mosquitoes

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:35 pm

I would just go for it and pray for wind. Take head nets, long sleeve shirts, etc, good tent, some books, and do the trip. Choose exposed windy campsites, away from meadows, on dry ground. If worst comes to worst, bail out. One just cannot ever tell. I would think the worst mosquitoes would be on the north side of Pine Creek pass. You can find some pretty windy campsites up at Royce Lakes. Also last time we were at Paris Lake in August, it was so windy that we could not even land a fly in the water when fishing.
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Re: Suggestions for a trip with few mosquitoes

Postby tomba » Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:24 pm

Thanks for the suggestions of windy sites there.

Mosquitoes remove a lot of enjoyment. Can't wade and play in water, can't soak up the sunshine (when it's not too strong).
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Re: Suggestions for a trip with few mosquitoes

Postby quentinc » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:27 pm

Unfortunately, the NE side of Humphreys has lots of streams and marshy areas, so it probably will be bad as well. Maybe over Shepherd's Pass, if the elevation gain doesn't phase you. The Anvil Camp area will be bad, but most of the hike up is pretty dry, and then you're at 12,000. And there's plenty of wind near the pass. Still no guarantee!
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Re: Suggestions for a trip with few mosquitoes

Postby maverick » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:32 pm

No one will be able to tell you whether the mosquitoes will be worse in one place
or another, things change from year to year.
Camp on a ridge or find the most exposed site and hope for some wind. Stay away
from water (lake, slow moving stream) or meadows.
Go prepared to deal with them, it is as much mental as it is physical. If you go
with trepidation than they have already won!
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Re: Suggestions for a trip with few mosquitoes

Postby tomba » Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:09 am

quentinc: Thanks for the info. On the map, Shepherd's Pass seems to be quite a climb before getting to interesting areas. West of the crest I see many marshy areas marked.

My memory of NE Humphreys Basin late August last year is of wide rocky expanses, but you are right, there are some grassy wet areas there.

maverick: I didn't know that things change from year to year. I thought mosquitoes show up at the same time of season (time of year adjusted mostly for snow amount) at the same places. Perhaps to a larger or a smaller degree depending on amount of water available.

Many areas are known to be bad mosquito places. I had small hope that there may be some nice large areas known not to have many mosquitoes at this time of season. Seemed worth asking, and the information should be useful to other people.

It is not a matter of winning or losing. It is a matter of whether to go backpacking to Sierra or do something else at this time. Kids didn't like mosquitoes at Sabrina basin, and mosquitoes weren't too heavy there. I would like kids to like to go backpacking.
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Re: Suggestions for a trip with few mosquitoes

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:14 am

You did not mention kids in your original post or I would have offered different advise! You are not likely to get a mosquito free backpack, or even a low mosquito backpack, this time of year. What about taking the kids backpacking on the coast? Have you ever backpacked on Channel Islands? Point Reys is good but you likely have been there a dozen times. How about the north half of the Lost Coast? Or postpone the backpack altogether. If I were to take kids, I would NOT go in the Sierra this time of year.
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Re: Suggestions for a trip with few mosquitoes

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:37 am

Tomba wrote:
Kids didn't like mosquitoes at Sabrina basin


If your vacation time has some flexibility then push your trip back to August and keep an
eye on the mosquito thread to see when they start to die off.
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Re: Suggestions for a trip with few mosquitoes

Postby quentinc » Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:49 am

tomba wrote:quentinc: Thanks for the info. On the map, Shepherd's Pass seems to be quite a climb before getting to interesting areas. West of the crest I see many marshy areas marked.

My memory of NE Humphreys Basin late August last year is of wide rocky expanses, but you are right, there are some grassy wet areas there.

Shepherd's is quite a climb. One could climb Mt. Williamson and avoid the marshy areas to the west -- I'm considering this for a trip next weekend. But with kids, this is a very unlikely idea!

Late August things tend to be a lot better (this year, mosquitoes will almost surely be gone before then). There are some wide rocky areas northeast of Upper Desolation Lake, but you'll have to go through considerable mosquito suffering to get there, and it's still a pretty limited area if you're committed to staying away from water. I even remember marshy areas just below the ridge east of Puppet Pass. As others have said, it is pretty darn hard to avoid mosquitoes during the season. The only sure bet would be Death Valley. ;)
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Re: Suggestions for a trip with few mosquitoes

Postby SSSdave » Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:58 pm

All those high areas of the High Sierra will be at peaking mosquito conditions. So it would be futile to ask anyone here for advice of where to go there. Instead either delay your trip or vist lower elevations that have already had their mosquito cycle and dried out. This weekend we visited Ebbetts Pass areas and there was still modest amounts of melting snow above 8k in shady exposures. Peak vegetation was still 2 or 3 weeks away. So yeah all areas at or above 8k are likely going to have mosquitoes however the worst are likely to be those highest areas you seem to be oriented towards. You will find more lower elevation lakes on the western slopes than the Eastern Sierra. Places like Kibbie Lake, Vernon Lake, or many river and large creek areas at lower elevations like the South Fork of the San Joaquin above Florence Lake reservoir. Find granitoid zones well away from large meadows.
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Re: Suggestions for a trip with few mosquitoes

Postby tomba » Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:25 pm

Thanks all for the replies.

The info about kids wad buried deep within the original post in "our preferences".

We did Kibbie Lake on Memorial Day, before mosquitoes.
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Re: Suggestions for a trip with few mosquitoes

Postby tim » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:17 am

You could go low: Rancheria Falls at Hetch Hetchy is likely mosquito free by now and a good hike with kids, though perhaps hot at this time of year (try a climb of Leconte Point: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5136). Might not meet your 5 day criteria, though Tiltill Valley/Lake Vernon may be OK to add a few more days.
Or go south: Cottonwood Pass & Miter Basin sounds like it is very dried out already (again a good kids trip: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6526), although a long drive from the Bay Area.

Both have trip reports from last weekend with little mention of mosquitoes (though it was windy, and that might not be the case next week).
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