Yeah...it's weird how flexible our memory becomes. Somehow, that particular stretch of brush and mosquitos has imprinted itself on my mind as unforgettably awful.
You know, if you're not in a hurry and want something slightly different, you could try heading south up the drainage leading to the Norman Clyde glacier starting slightly west and south of Willow Lake. Initially, it's as bush-choked as the section between the south fork and Elinore, but opens up fairly nicely, and if there's any snow left on the tongue that extends down below the glacier, the walking is quite pleasant; no crampons required--it's not steep, even if the snow is hard/cold. You'll reach a point which should feel fairly natural where the slope to your right is not very long above you, and you can turn up on to the slope and ascend to a striking, little hidden meadow that's almost magically beautiful, isolated and serene; I'm pretty sure very, very few people ever get there; then continue up another slope that's mostly dirt, trees, and some rock until you top out on the ridge. You'll be above a lovely tarn which is itself above Elinore. Drop down to Elinore from there on mostly talus with some solid rock. Or, if you're heading to Gayley Notch or Scimitar Pass, stay high and contour around, above the lake. It's a lovely way to go if you've got a little extra time, and the view up the NC glacier and of NC itself is fantastic, especially with the sun setting on it.
EDIT: I should add that if the description of the route from the snow below NC to the ridge doesn't quite make sense, check your map and compare to terrain. It really is fairly intuitive.
Upper edge of the meadow, looking up at Norman Clyde: