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Riley Ck to Crystal Lake

Posted: July 30th, 2022, 1:26 pm
by drm
Hiked up to CL to camp yesterday. It was hot of course. 90* at the trailhead and 80s most of the way up, though lots of shade. I filled a liter bottle with ice (two trays), topped with water, and one hour up just a few cubes floating, so the water was very cold. Add a couple Nuun hydration tablets and I was good to go. Trail has not been cleared of logs and there were over 30, but they were easy to deal with.

Bugs were quite bad. I needed the full triad of protection: Deet for exposed skin, pre-treated clothes with permethrin, and Thermacell to hang out in camp. Oh, and a head net - I have a wide brim hat with a net inside, so it hangs over the brim. So I managed, but wouldn't make a habit of going up with that many bugs.

Lots and lots of through hikers on the PCT, and I was only on it for 3/4 of a mile. I one gave a ride to Trout Lake - he said he had hiked 17.5 miles by 11 am (to Rd 23 from somewhere in Indian Heaven) and missed the shuttle by 5 minutes.
Adams from near Riley Meadows
Riley Creek in Riley Meadows
Crystal Lake and you know what
View from camp at sunset
Sunset on Mt. Rainier

Re: Riley Ck to Crystal Lake

Posted: July 31st, 2022, 4:36 am
by AlpenGlowHiker
drm, this is a timely post thank you!

1. I'll be headed up that trail in just over a week
2. That's some fantastic alpenglow :)

Re: Riley Ck to Crystal Lake

Posted: July 31st, 2022, 9:50 am
by drm
Note that Crystal Lake is not a remote place any more. When I got down to my car, two groups were heading up there. Although there are overflow sites away from the lake, there are a very limited number of sites within view of the lake. They are always full on weekends, and sometimes on weekdays too. I thought the heat would make it less crowded up there. I was wrong.

Re: Riley Ck to Crystal Lake

Posted: July 31st, 2022, 6:48 pm
by greenjello85
That looks like a beautiful hike. Thanks for the report! I'd never heard of thermacell before so I had to look them up. Do they seem to work well? Any idea what the repellent is?

Re: Riley Ck to Crystal Lake

Posted: August 1st, 2022, 6:12 am
by drm
Thermacell is basically a butane-powered mosquito coil. Instead of burning whatever is in a coil to heat the repellent, mine uses a small butane cartridge that lasts 12 hours. So much less smell than a burning coil. There are other versions that use a rechargeable battery. There are pads with the repellent that last four hours (I have found that I can get a little more life out of the pads by turning them over). Thermacell claims it creates a 15 foot radius mosquito-free zone. How big the zone actually is depends on how bad the skeeters are. It wasn't 15 feet on this trip, I basically kept the thing in my lap. But after the 5-10 minutes warmup, they pretty much went away.

I would add that other stuff like Deet, Picaridin, permethrin - keep the bugs from biting. But you can still have a swarm orbiting your head. Thermacel shoos the swarm away. I figure there is probably some level of mosquito intensity that even a Thermacell can't repel, but I haven't camped in such a situation yet.

Re: Riley Ck to Crystal Lake

Posted: August 1st, 2022, 8:22 am
by retired jerry
yeah, I can attest, the DEET keeps mosquitoes from biting but there is still a swarm. Sort of like Pigpen.

if there's a slight breeze, then the swarm is downwind, so if you face upwind, you won't see them.