Cactus to Clouds June through Sept is a DEADLY idea ..

General Palm Springs area.

Re: Cactus to Clouds June through Sept is a DEADLY idea ..

Postby Ellen » Tue Jun 28, 2016 1:15 pm

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Re: Cactus to Clouds June through Sept is a DEADLY idea ..

Postby zippetydude » Tue Jun 28, 2016 3:06 pm

Yipes, I had to be at a 4 - all the symptoms but flushed skin. Still, a 4 isn't very spectacular...being an achiever, I wanted to hit a 10 so I went home, had a nice cold beer (okay, a couple...on an empty stomach while dehydrated) and managed to hit all of the symptoms for Level 10 except swollen tongue! It was a proud moment in Dehydration History! On a more serious note, I'll move up my starting times to more normal summer hours (sunrise) so I don't have this sort of misadventure again. Also, I like to get out there early to avoid those accursed gnats...

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Re: Cactus to Clouds June through Sept is a DEADLY idea ..

Postby Ed » Tue Jun 28, 2016 3:37 pm

zippetydude wrote:Also, I like to get out there early to avoid those accursed gnats...


I remember the gnats on that trail. Why are they there, there's no water? And I haven't found that you miss them with an early start.
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Re: Cactus to Clouds June through Sept is a DEADLY idea ..

Postby zippetydude » Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:10 pm

It's not a perfect system, but I find if I leave at first light they are no problem. If I'm above 10,000 feet before it starts to warm up I avoid them entirely. On the way down it's warm but if I can run fast enough they are only able to irritate me if I stop for a break.

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Re: Cactus to Clouds June through Sept is a DEADLY idea ..

Postby cynthia23 » Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:47 pm

Here's my question--what do the little dastards want? Is it our sweat, i.e. the salt? And has anyone else had the experience of being harassed by a hummingbird? Twice I have been hiking and a hummingbird kept 'buzzing' me, drawn, I'm guessing, to my oh so fascinating bodily secretions? I actually had to wave these birds away--pleasanter than being harassed by gnats, but a bit more unnerving.
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Re: Cactus to Clouds June through Sept is a DEADLY idea ..

Postby Wildhorse » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:12 pm

The hummingbirds are likely protecting their home. The gnats do seem to be attracted by our sweat and the moisture in our breath.
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Re: Cactus to Clouds June through Sept is a DEADLY idea ..

Postby Ed » Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:22 am

Wildhorse wrote:The hummingbirds are likely protecting their home. The gnats do seem to be attracted by our sweat and the moisture in our breath.


But why are the gnats there to begin with? I am super-ignorant when it comes to anything biological, but I associate most bugs with water.

As for the hummingbirds, I remember being dive-bombed many times by nesting birds in treesy residential areas, in central and northern California. Very fearless and aggressive attacks, don't ask me what species they were.
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Re: Cactus to Clouds June through Sept is a DEADLY idea ..

Postby Myth » Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:50 am

I've had both bees and hummingbirds bother me when I wear bright clothing. The bees I sort of understand, the hummingbirds not so much. I'm sure I don't smell like a flower after a few hours of exercise!

Why do I wear bright clothing in the backcountry? I don't always, but I do wear screaming orange when poking around in certain places in hunting season, and often when I'm out in the desert backcountry I'd wear something bright too, just in case I get in trouble. Not to mention it is helpful when I'm with companions - helps us find each other in the landscape.

Gnats can be so annoying. I've worn sunglasses at dusk just to get some relief from the little clouds. I've seriously thought about wearing goggles sometimes - though I'd fog them right up. That's why sunglasses can be a help for me. The gnats are usually too dumb to go around them, and I wear sunglasses tight to my skin because I don't like sunlight leaking in at the top or around the sides.

What I really need is mesh goggles ( I'd settle for something that covers the ears, too ). I sometimes hike in a bug net when they really drive me nuts but I always forget the dang thing is there and mush food against it, or try to drink through it, or try to scratch or wipe away sweat or whatnot.

I'm not sure what attracts them. I would guess the moisture from sweat. As for why they're in bone dry places in the first place, I don't know!
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Re: Cactus to Clouds June through Sept is a DEADLY idea ..

Postby Ed » Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:59 am

Myth wrote:Why do I wear bright clothing in the backcountry? I don't always, but I do wear screaming orange when poking around in certain places in hunting season


I was once in a backpacking store in LA, back in the days when we had a number of small backpacking stores, instead of REI. A man walked in and said 'I want a green pack, for hunting season!' The salesman said no, you want an orange pack. The man replied 'No, I had an orange pack last year, and they shot at me!'
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Re: Cactus to Clouds June through Sept is a DEADLY idea ..

Postby zippetydude » Wed Jun 29, 2016 12:59 pm

Maybe he needs to switch to kevlar!

I can't find much on gnats in dry areas, but they seem to haunt places where there are oak trees. Kathy W mentioned this sometime back and it really seems to be true. Perhaps they thrive in the detritus that builds up at the bottom of oak trees from the many years of discarded leaves.

In any case, I did find a site that says vanilla will deter them. Since I don't like DEET and I do like vanilla I think I'll give it a try next time I'm out. I'll report back on whether or not it works.

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