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Posted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 4:08 pm
My husband and I went on an overnight trip to Raymond Lake in the Mokelumne Wilderness July 19th and 20th. Because the road had so much soft mud we had to park our car at Indian Valley and walk along the road to the Wet Meadows trailhead. I was swarmed during the walk to the trailhead. "Wet Meadows"....I have to be wary of places with names like that!
I'd call them mildly voracious in this area. (Still nothing like Alaska.)
Once we got up the ridge the numbers of mosquitos declined to "not bad". The only time they got worse was at dusk at Raymond Lake.
Posted: Mon Jul 24, 2006 8:53 am
Kerstin wrote:My husband and I went on an overnight trip to Raymond Lake in the Mokelumne Wilderness July 19th and 20th.
Out of curiousity, do you and your husband fish? If so, how was the fishing at Raymond? This has been an above average lake over the years.
Posted: Mon Jul 24, 2006 9:17 am
giant brookie, there were two fly fishermen up there when we arrived. I didn't find out if they caught any fish. However, there were tons of fish in that lake! You could see them swimming around. At dusk I sat and watched them jump out of the lake to catch bugs.
My husband left his fishing pole in the car. He was pretty upset about that!
Posted: Mon Jul 24, 2006 9:43 am
Here are two reports, followed by my tongue and cheek mosquito annoyance ratings (MAR) definitions (scale of 1-10, approximately logarithimic, with 10 being the highest):
7/20: (MAR=5) Rancheria trailhead to Upper Chain Lake (dayhike), JMW SE of Wishon Res. Time in backcountry ~905-1530. In spite of having little breeze and consistent nights in the 50s (prime conditions for max. mosquitoes), mosquitoes were not as bad as I thought. Mosquitoes were numerous enough, however, so that I didn't really want to stop to rest or hydrate, which caused me to slow down the last 1/2 mi to the upper lake. Once at the lake I wore my head net about 1/2 the time while fishing. By afternoon the mosquito activity level had increased enough so that I began the hike out with the net, which caused me to lose the faint track (Chain Lakes trail is very faint and not easy to follow in places) a couple of times, as the net really messes up one's vision. Most of the last 3/4 of the hike out was w/o the net. That the bugs kept me from wanting to sit down cost me on part of the hike out, as I had to stop, sit, hydrate, and eat owing to a hellacious cramp in the right hammy. All told, the full body clothing (hiked with long sleeves and long pants, as is my usual habit), occasional use of net and highly effective defensive AA (anti aircraft fire) efforts, limited the damage to about a half dozen bites, an extremely low number by my standards.
7/22. Gardisky Lake, Tioga Pass area (MAR=4). Donating blood to flying insects in the Saddlebag area is a family tradition that goes back 40 years and I passed it on to the next generation here. I've never had clouds around me here, just got bit a lot. I did not wear the head net. Mosquito numbers seemed less than at Chain Lakes above, but self defense was less effective as I was spending time helping my 4 year old son negotiate the super steep (but very short) trail, as well as entertaining him once we got to the lake. All told, probably picked up a dozen bites or more, mostly on the hands. My son looked pretty lumpy too, and I'd guess had a few more bites than that (self defense AA not fully tuned up yet).
Some personal mosquito ratings definitions from worst to mildest:
(MAR=9-10) "Need transfusion": Desire to protect bitable areas at all costs. No amount of DEET does much (it reduces the number by about 90%, but we're talking way too many mosquitoes anyway). Mosquito net worn every waking minute (a very tricky thing when trying to eat). Sometimes extra layers of clothing are worn, even if it's blazing hot. Clothing can become like black fur formed of thousands of mosquitoes at peak times. Hundreds of mosquitoes killed in single swat (see Doyle's post above) during such stretches. Thoughts tend to be dominated by desire to find windiest, most exposed places. Conditions usually brought on by hot days, warm nights, and minimal wind. Experienced this on 9 day New Army to Shepherd Pass trip in early July 1996 (first five days MAR=10; next two MAR=9, last two MAR=7 or less--decrease probably owing to increasing wind), and (oddly enough) on an Olancha Peak climb when there was very little water anywhere in (?)August(?) 1975 (MAR=9, but only west of Olancha Pass). In spite of protection, number of bites suffered per day is probably in the 50 range. In these conditions, mosquitoes extend their range to unusually high altitudes. We were swarmed (and still wearing our nets) at New Army Pass, and I suffered my highest altitude bite at 13500' on Mt. Barnard on the 1996 trip noted above.
(MAR=7-8) "Exceptionally annoying": A bit milder than above. Single swat can usually kill no more than about 20, although occasional clumps of dozens will be smashed. Wind picks up during some time of day so that mosquito net can be removed every now and then. Owing to somewhat less extreme protective measures as above the number of bites suffered is probably as bad as above (ie 50+). Personal examples: Emigrant Wilderness, June 1991 (MAR=8), Kendrick Canyon, May, 1992 (MAR=7 on worst day). Part of Sawmill-Taboose shuttle trip early July 1997 (MAR=8 for days camped at Woods Lake and Twin Lakes, but MAR=7 or less for rest of trip)..
(MAR= 4-6) "Moderate": Frequently swat but usually kill mosquitoes singly (multiple kills do occur at times, though). Kill total per day (if counting) usually between 100 and 300. Mosquito net worn at worst times. Bite totals usually less than 30. The Chain Lake trip above is an example in middle of this range, wheres the Gardisky Lake trip is low end.
(MAR=1-3) "Mild": Occasionally swat mosquitoes, and sometimes get bitten because defenses are not as alert as for upper three levels. Kill totals below 100. Mosquito net is not used. Breezy or bugless for long periods of the day. Bite totals usually less than 10.
(MAR=0) "Negligible" Few if any mosquitoes seen. Of course, this usually means cool fall trips, but we've had a few of these early season, when the lakes had melted enabling us to fish, but the mosquito breeding hadn't caught up yet (plus the days were cool and breezy).
Posted: Mon Jul 24, 2006 9:47 am
Kerstin wrote:giant brookie, there were two fly fishermen up there when we arrived. I didn't find out if they caught any fish. However, there were tons of fish in that lake! You could see them swimming around. At dusk I sat and watched them jump out of the lake to catch bugs.
My husband left his fishing pole in the car. He was pretty upset about that!
Thanks for the info. It's good to hear that Raymond is still hopping. Being in SLT, Mokelumne and Desolation must be like your back yard--an enjoyable situation to be sure!
Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 12:46 am
giantbrookie, great reports. I never knew mosquitos could be so interesting to read about!:)
Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 4:17 pm
I haven't been to Raymond Lake yet although I've spent plenty of time drooling over it on maps. If I remember correctly, it's a golden trout lake, yes?
Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 5:08 pm
Buck Forester wrote:I haven't been to Raymond Lake yet although I've spent plenty of time drooling over it on maps. If I remember correctly, it's a golden trout lake, yes?
Yes it is. I've never really hit it right. I recall first visiting the lake on the way down from climbing Raymond Peak with my family in the 1978. I recall seeing some nice goldens swim by. In October 1991, my wife and I visited, and the lake threw a shutout with the exception of a 10" golden my wife caught. We did see a good number of goldens swimming about that we figured went to at least 15".
Posted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 7:51 pm
Just got a skeeter report from a friend who came down the mountain today from a trip out of the Buena Vista Lake area (Yosemite National Pk). He said the bugs were AWFUL! Said sitting around the fire was horrible without skeeter shelter or clothing. Said it rained way too much, too. Bummer. Hope it settles down before I take my daughter on her first trip.
Posted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 8:28 pm
Today I made a trip up to Sphinx Creek out of Kings Canyon / Roads End (only to get blasted back down the mountain by thunder, lightening and rain
Anyway, the skeeters were out in full force along the lower part of the trail and up into the first set of switchbacks. I had my Deet in my pack, foolishly thinking I would not need it. When I stopped on the Bailey Bridge to dig it out I had a massive swarm of the little bastards try to eat me alive. I must've looked like quite the hiker trying to slather on the Deet in double time :retard:
I'm thinking about marketing a new cologne called "The Hiker". It's that special blend of Deet, sunblock and sweat. Anyone wanna buy a bottle?