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Agnew Meadows/Thousand Island Lake 6/22-6/24
Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:05 am
Wow, what a difference a few days make. We were about 5 days behind CAMERONM. Variable conditions depending on elevation, wind, and proximity to water.
- Agnew Meadows TH and campground was 4. We did all packing and trip prep with headnets, long sleeves, pants, and DEET on exposed body parts.
- High Trail to Thousand Island Lake varied from 2-3. Rest breaks in the forest and/or near water were terrible (mandatory headnets), but conditions became better once we broke out into the shrub and areas with a breeze.
- Thousand Island Lake a solid 4 near the water, with an audible high-pitched hum and visible swarms. Pumping water was not pleasant, even with headnets. We camped well back from the water and up in the granite, where it varied from 2-3, depending on the breeze. We ate dinner in our tent, but breakfast was managed outside without headnets.
- JMT from Thousand Island-Shadow Creek Trail junction and Shadow Creek Trail-River Trail were both 3 in all forested rest stops, but 2 in breezy, more exposed areas. We had no skeets at our rest break where the Shadow Lake Trail connects to the JMT.
In general, the skeets swarmed when we stopped and stood still, unless we were somewhere with minimal vegetation and a good breeze. We hiked without headnets, but generally put them on if stopped for more than a few minutes. I typically hike in shorts and a short-sleeved tee, but was REALLY happy to be hiking in long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Although wish I had opted for a looser fitting or thicker material top, as the little buggers were able to bite through my shirt, especially when it was compressed by my pack or when I was filtering water.
Can't confirm ourselves, but heard from folks on the trail that skeets at Lake Ediza were horrendous. Judging by the bite marks around their necklines and on their hands, they weren't lying. We were at least able to escape some of the frenzy at Thousand Island Lake by camping up and away from the lake.
Alpine Creek Basin 6/18-6/23
Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:58 am
Glen Alpine Creek basin at 6.5k to 8.5k in Desolation Wilderness June 18>23, 2018. Mostly 1 or 2 in open exposed sunny areas and without breezes, 2 or 3 near shady streams, lakes, marshy areas or late afternoon/evening in forest. That noted, would expect mosquitoes were much worse nearby in the higher Lake Aloha basin as the tall Crystal Range peaks still have a lot of melting snow. Covered up as usual except for face and hands, I put on DEET maybe 3 times. Mid day in sun in mild breezes was twice after taking dips in streams, able to lay out on bedrock for an hour without squeets.
I will speculate the reason the mosquitoes quickly became much worse about the Ritter Range at 8k to 10.5k elevations is because sunny warm weather began in our region a couple weeks ago after weeks of often cloudy, cold, windy May while much snow on the range was still melting providing peak standing water egg laying conditions. Thus just enough time since for snow mosquitoes to complete their 7 to 10 day life cycle. Review of last couple weeks day by day on the EOSDIS Worldview satellite shows a lot of snow just melted about Thousand Island Lake.
On the other hand the relatively lower elevations where I backpacked into Desolation Wilderness at 6.5k to 8.5k elevations had melted out weeks earlier with many mosquitoes in that zone likely having already moved up to nearby higher elevation Lake Aloha and the Crystal Range peaks that still had much snow with more standing water. Late afternoon on calmer warm sunny days, one will often see those whining swirling mosquitoes tornadoes rise up in damp shady forest areas then float on breezes up to higher elevations where there is more standing water for their egg laying.
Big Pine North Fork 6/22-6/24
Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:51 am
6/22-6/24, big pine north fork -> black lake -> glacier trail -> 7th lake
3 during the day and 4 in the morning/after sunset. Pretty bad. The glacier trail beyond the Sam Mack Meadow was fine. I packed my lunch/dinner and ate next to the glacier. peace.
7th lake during the day was also fine.
Lamarck Lake / Wonder Lakes 6/23-6/24
Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:36 am
6/23-6/24 Lower Lamark Lake: 2
6/24 Wonder Lakes Basin: 4 (I wouldn't stop for lunch)
OV>Vidette>Lake Reflection>Brewer>Sphinx 6/14-6/24
Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:09 pm
I'll aim to get a TR posted soon, but here is an update for the period of 14 June to 24 June starting and ending at Kearsarge Pass and making a clockwise, wide loop around Mt. Brewer:
Onion Valley to the Pass: 0-1 both going out and returning
Bullfrog Lake: 1
Vidette Meadow: 2 (June 15)
Vidette canyon: 2
Deerhorn Pass: 0
Ericsson-Stanford-Deerhorn Bowl: 0-1
Lake Reflection: 4-5 (and this persisted well above the lake)
Upper lakes in Lake Reflection basin (below Longley Pass): 1-3
Southguard Lake: 0-1
Brewer Lake basin: 1-2
Sphinx Lake basin: 2 at the uppermost lake and increasing to a 3-4 at the lower lakes.
Sphinx creek: 3-5
Avalanche Pass trail: 2 at the Sphinx creek crossing and rapidly dropping to 0.
Avalanche Pass trail junction with Bubbs Creek trail: we got there ~3pm on June 23 and the bugs were 1-2.
Junction meadow: evening of June 23: 1-2
Vidette meadow: morning of June 24 bugs were a 3 but they dwindled as we ascended the JMT toward Bullfrog Lake.
Beyond Bullfrog lake, the bugs were negligible the rest of the way to Onion Valley.
Word to the wise: avoid Lake Reflection (East Lake) and the Sphinx Creek area for the next several weeks!
Lower Relief Valley/Granite Dome, 6/23-6/24
Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:57 pm
We were warned by rangers and literally every group of backpackers we encountered that mosquitos were horrendous. Maybe we got lucky, or maybe our trip to AK in 2016 raised our bar for mosquito hell...
Gianelli Trailhead to Lower Relief Valley: 2 while hiking, 3 for just the hour of 7-8pm on a granite bench around 8300' NW of and below Iceland Lake. Surprisingly few skeeters biting as we crossed the meadow/marsh in Lower Relief mid-afternoon.
Lower Relief Valley to Salt Lick Meadow and then up the southwest slope of Granite Dome: 2 throughout, including on the summit.
We only used our headnets during that sunset hour below Iceland. For some reason our permethrin-treated clothes didn't prevent many bites. Planning on re-treating all clothing and probably resorting to DEET for next week, since we're planning on being in the Sphinx Lakes and Lake Reflection areas around then, Cameron...
Re: 2018 Mosquito Reports
Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 3:11 pm
If you've survived AK, you'll do fine; just keep in mind that all the bugs you swallow and inhale are replacing the hemoglobin you're losing to those beasts!
Castle Peak/Paradise Lake, 6/23-6/24
Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:38 pm
Castle Peak trailhead: 2
Trail and PCT to to Paradise Lake: 2-3
Paradise Lake: 3-4
AND THEY BIT THROUGH OUR CLOTHES.
Humphreys Basin 6/22-6/25
Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:08 pm
People hiking out told us about Honeymoon Lake "the worst we have ever seen" and about Golden Trout Lake "we have almost run out of bug spray and we have hiked out one day early".
We have stayed high: Lost Lakes, Goethe Lake, Wahoo Lakes, cross Piute Creek, Wedge Lake, Mesa Lake, Square Lake, above Knob Lake, traverse the ridge from above Paris Lake to before point marked 12350 ft on 7.5" topo map, around NW end of Desolation Lake, Forsaken Lake, Humphreys Lakes, and out.
Mosquitoes were present to some degree most of the time but manageable, usually light, except when we went down and crossed Piute Creek at about 10960 ft where they were heavy. No mosquitoes at all on the ridge described above. Mornings there were usually no mosquitoes at all till about 1-2 hours after sunrise.
Snow was mostly not an issue except there were some annoying lines of snow to go around or cross near Humphreys Lakes.
Waterhouse Lake (near Pinecrest) 6/23-6/24
Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:03 am
On the hike in and out through forest and meadow: 3, 4 in places
At the lake and hiking over the granite: 2
We camped on exposed granite for the wind but that didn't help because the wind died completely during the peak dusk hours. Had to wear headnets then.
Like thirdbestfriend said, they were biting through our clothing. I had to wear 2 layers to prevent this because I hadn't treated our shirts with permethrin. Pants were treated and that seemed to help.
During a dayhike, I saw movement on a shadowed overhang right above the water level of the river, and looking closer I saw it was covered with mosquitoes as thick as they could cling for yards in either direction. Like a carpet.