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Seven Lakes Basin And Sky Lakes Trail
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mini location map2019-06-29
11 by photographer avatarkeepmoving
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Seven Lakes Basin And Sky Lakes TrailSouth, OR
South, OR
Backpack avatar Jun 29 2019
Backpack11.16 Miles 1,048 AEG
Backpack11.16 Miles2 Days         
1,048 ft AEG18.3 LBS Pack
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Drove down to the Sky Lakes Wilderness with Kaila for her first ever backpacking trip. The plan was to drive through Crater Lake on our way back home after the trip, and this area is only about an hour away from the park so it matched up perfectly with our plans. Additionally, there are multiple trailheads within close proximity of one another that access various basins within the wilderness, so we had easy alternative options if our initial choice didn't pan out due to snow or other trail conditions.

We tried starting the trip from the Cherry Creek Trailhead, but we were swarmed so quickly with massive hordes of mosquitoes that we turned around and jogged back to the truck before we even made it a half mile in. I had already pre-treated my clothing with Permethrin and was wearing Picaridin on top of that, but the bugs didn't care at all. I've never seen clouds of mosquitoes so thick before. When we left the trailhead there were still two other cars parked in the lot- I can only assume their occupants were eaten alive by the mosquitoes somewhere deep in the wilderness :scared: .

Fortunately I had a backup plan with the Sevenmile Marsh Trailhead only 30 minutes away. I also knew it was about 1000' higher in elevation than Cherry Creek, so I was optimistic that the bugs would be more manageable. We arrived at the trailhead and reapplied more insect repellent before cautiously heading up trail. Although not perfectly bug free, the mosquitoes were far fewer than what we had initially encountered. Their numbers would sporadically increase and decrease for seemingly no reason as we gained elevation, but at least it was bearable.

Arriving at the Lakes Basin, we did a quick counter clockwise loop around the lakes to scout out campsites. Cliff Lake appeared to be our best option, but the mosquito pressure along the shore was pretty bad. On a whim, I investigated a small use trail up a short ridge on the northeast corner of the lake and found us a site that was mostly bug free and provided fantastic views. We set up camp and had a quick dinner in front of the fire while the sun set. To our great relief the mosquitoes completely disappeared as the evening wore on. After dinner, we walked 1/2 mile up the trail to check out South Lake as it started to get dark. Then we returned to camp to sit around the fire and stargaze for the next couple of hours before heading to bed.

The next morning I woke up about an hour before Kaila. I spent my time watching the sun illuminate Devils Peak and the surrounding forest while I did chores and started to get our breakfast ready. Although our camp had been mosquito free since the sun set the night before, their numbers started to increase again shortly after Kaila woke up. So after a quick breakfast we broke camp and scurried down trail to the mosquito free trailhead.
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