TR 7.24-26 Courtright - Rae - Disappointment

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BESON
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TR 7.24-26 Courtright - Rae - Disappointment

Post by BESON » Sat Jul 27, 2019 1:39 pm

Thanks, again, to all for the information prior to my recent trip out of the Maxon meadows trailhead at Courtright. Here’s a little trip report and photos from the trip on July 24-26. The mosquitos were incredibly fierce throughout the entire trip. At times even walking briskly wasn’t sufficient to keep the swarms away.

On day one, I hiked from the trailhead to camp at Rae Lake. Wildflowers were in abundance and the trail was quiet. I passed a group of four or so and another solo hiker on the way out, but otherwise didn’t run into anybody. As reported, the trail conditions were mostly fine. There was a stretch or two between Post Corral Meadows and the Rae Lake junction that was hard to follow and faint, but the trail always reappeared.

An ominous sign of things to come on a steep stretch before Fleming Lake …
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Light rain started at Fleming and I set up my tarp quickly to stay dry until the storm passed … Mosquitos were awful
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Once the rain cleared, it was time to head out to Rae, where I made camp near the ridge before the lake in the hopes of avoiding some of the mosquitos. It didn’t work. But the lake was beautiful, especially as the waters stilled near sunset …
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On day two, I started off heading up towards Lower Indian Lake. I had plans to make it to upper and Mosquito pass above. But the fish were jumping as the sun was just peeking over the ridge and I couldn’t resist. I caught a nice brook trout and donated a few flies to the trout adornment project. It was either bad tippet or bad knots, probably the latter as I was moving quickly to avoid the skeeters. After a bit, I I decided against heading up further as I wanted to make it to Hell for Sure before rain came.
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I eventually made it to Disappointment Lake, which was gorgeous. Trail was a bit tricky to follow in places, but with some care and back tracking, I made it.
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One of the unnamed boggy lakes between Disappointment and Hell for Sure …
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Looking back from just before Hell for Sure …
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BESON
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Re: TR 7.24-26 Courtright - Rae - Disappointment

Post by BESON » Sat Jul 27, 2019 1:45 pm

I lost the trail several times on the way to Hell for Sure, but it was clear where I needed to go and I’d usually find the trail again after too long. Upon arriving at the lake, I debated about heading for the pass, but opted against it as it looked quite steep at the top. I was really interested in seeing Artic Lake and set off in that direction instead.

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There was a fair bit of snow in places, but I made it to where I could see Horeshoe Lake from above and just the tip of Artic Lake when some threatening clouds were coming in. So, I decided to head back down trail in the hopes of finding a better spot to set up camp.

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I made it back to Disappointment Lake and quickly set up camp as the rain started. I figured it’d be a quick 30-60 minute blow over storm and didn’t bother getting my sleeping pad inflated as I hunkered down under my tarp. Bad idea … it rained from about 1-6pm. I got a short reprieve, long enough to make/clean up dinner, get more water, and set up my sleeping gear for the night. As I was getting water at the lake, the fish were jumping again and I was about to go get my fishing gear when the rain started again about 7pm and it continued off/on all night long. This was the first time I’ve camped under my tarp with rain and it was more than a little unnerving. I’d pitched it well for the rain/wind direction to start, but it shifted a few times and I was getting a bit of spray. While I managed to stay dry and warm, over warm in fact, I didn’t sleep much.

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Not a bad view, though ...

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Rather than face another day of what seemed like more bad weather coming in, I decided to cut the trip short a day and quickly hiked back to the trailhead as thunder sounded ominous.
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On the drive back home, I stopped at the Laconte Divide overlook near Courtright and it was looking quite bad.
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I can't wait to get back with fewer mosquitos and hopefully more cooperative weather ...
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Re: TR 7.24-26 Courtright - Rae - Disappointment

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Jul 27, 2019 2:47 pm

Thanks for the trip report. It is great to get information on current conditions. You are pretty tough to only take a tarp during peak mosquitos! I too tend to adorn fish with my flies. Even without mosquitoes, I mess up tying on the fly. I thought Horsehead Lake was a lot more scenic than Arctic Lake- really good camping out on the peninsula.

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Re: TR 7.24-26 Courtright - Rae - Disappointment

Post by balzaccom » Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:45 pm

Nice report. That storm cut short a lot of trips this week...
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Re: TR 7.24-26 Courtright - Rae - Disappointment

Post by adornowest » Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:55 pm

Thanks for the report. I'm headed to Rae next week and worried about the mosquitos. Do you have any tips for keeping them at bay besides the normal advice about clothes, etc?

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Re: TR 7.24-26 Courtright - Rae - Disappointment

Post by BESON » Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:45 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Sat Jul 27, 2019 2:47 pm
Thanks for the trip report. It is great to get information on current conditions. You are pretty tough to only take a tarp during peak mosquitos! I too tend to adorn fish with my flies. Even without mosquitoes, I mess up tying on the fly. I thought Horsehead Lake was a lot more scenic than Arctic Lake- really good camping out on the peninsula.
That makes me feel better about not making it to Artic. I'd hoped to make it there as a recent satellite photo I'd seen on caltopo made it look like it might still have some ice/snow on it and I've never seen that sort of thing. I did also have a bug bivy, but I'm already doing some homework on better bug options. It worked, but it wasn't the most pleasant ...
balzaccom wrote:
Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:45 pm
Nice report. That storm cut short a lot of trips this week...
Thanks! I'm "glad" to hear that. I wanted to stay longer. While I was ok, it was on the edge of my comfort and skill level and I didn't want to risk doing something stupid.

adornowest wrote:
Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:55 pm
Thanks for the report. I'm headed to Rae next week and worried about the mosquitos. Do you have any tips for keeping them at bay besides the normal advice about clothes, etc?
Not much other than the standard, but I went with everything in the book. Long sleeves, pants, and head net. I treated the clothes with a permethrin spray. I'm not sure what I should have expected, but while they'd land on me, they weren't biting through and would usually fly off after several seconds. I think I'd hoped they disintegrate in puffs of fire and smoke when they got within a foot ... probably unrealistic expectations. I'm not sure if that was the permethrin or the relatively denser weave of the clothes, but it's hard to complain with no bites through the clothes. Bare skin got sprayed with Picaridin, which seemed as effective as deet. Head net was a real life saver - I wouldn't have been able to take it without that. At Rae itself, I camped a ways off trail at the high point shortly before it descended to the lake, hoping the distance from the lake and location on the ridge with the potential for more wind would help. They seemed every bit as intense there as at the lake itself.
Brian

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Re: TR 7.24-26 Courtright - Rae - Disappointment

Post by nvted » Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:46 pm

Great report and photos! Bummer about the storms, but good reason to try it again some other time. Agree on the headnet. Sanity saver for me.

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Re: TR 7.24-26 Courtright - Rae - Disappointment

Post by tlsharb » Sun Jul 28, 2019 6:56 am

I'll admit, that is one of my favorite places to go. Too bad about the skeets. Most years you would have been well past peak, but not this summer. Too bad you didn't head up the pass. It is absolutely gorgeous up there (and not too much of a climb....coming from the other side is a different story). But where you headed has great views as well. Thanks for the report.

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Re: TR 7.24-26 Courtright - Rae - Disappointment

Post by sekihiker » Sun Jul 28, 2019 12:04 pm

Great report and photos from an area I love.
It's amazing how rapidly conditions change. I just got back from a trip to Little Lake in the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness and you would hardly know this was a big snow year. A few weeks ago on the Short Hair Plateau just south of Dinkey, at lower elevations it looked like the snow would never melt.

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Re: TR 7.24-26 Courtright - Rae - Disappointment

Post by kpeter » Sun Jul 28, 2019 4:42 pm

I was stuck in the same bad weather in Sabrina Basin. I'll be headed out of Courtright to Red Mountain Basin and Bench Valley beginning on Sunday. I hope the weather and the skeets are a bit more tame! But your report and photographs were very helpful. Thank you!

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