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Family Backpacking

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Family Backpacking

Postby FreddyC » Tue Feb 07, 2006 10:14 am

Hi All,
This is my first time visiting this forum, but I thought it would be a good place to start to get info for a summer trip I have planned with my family in July. I have two boys age 10 and 8 that I want to take on a trip to the Yosemite area. Last year we did a loop in King's Cayon that was 30 miles in 9 days (average 5 miles a day with 3 rest days), so my boys can definately hike! We like lakes and fishing but don't want the trip to be too strenous. Easy with some moderate is OK. Any suggestions?
FreddyC



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Postby markskor » Tue Feb 07, 2006 10:33 am

Freddy -
Welcome...There are so many. With 10-year-olds, better though to limit to less than 8 miles a day. Do they fish by themselves or...?
1) consider the highway - always a great trip:...Tuolumne to Boothe - 7 miles...Up to Townsend Vogelsang - 3 miles....Bernice 5 miles...Washburne - 7 miles...Merced Lake - 3 miles....somewhere around Bunnell Cascades - 6 miles...LYV - 4 miles...the Dome and down.
Big advantage here, after 1st day...all downhill.
2) Tuolumne to Mammoth via JMT - 30 miles but can take a week or more provided all the greaty stops available...
3) A good variation: Start Tenaya...Cathedrals...Sunrise Lakes...Clouds Rest...Half Dome...LYV and down. This makes a great 5 -6 day trip with kids - about 30 miles
4) The Young Lake loop out of Tuolumne
5) Ten Lakes loop in back of Saddlebag
....plenty more
again welcome...
Mark
Last edited by markskor on Tue Feb 07, 2006 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Hikin Mike » Tue Feb 07, 2006 1:46 pm

Young Lakes is a great trip!
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Postby FreddyC » Tue Feb 07, 2006 8:28 pm

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll pull out my copy of Sierra North and take a look. We definately want to limit our days to less than 7 miles, especially day 1 where my pack weighs about 65 lbs. The kids do EVERYTHING themselves. I had them on barbless hooks, baiting, casting, catching and releasing the brook trout we caught last summer (upwards of 80 right after the snow-melt). They are also great at gathering firewood, setting up and tearing down camp, reading the map, and digging those 8" holes that are so necessary in the backcountry. The only thing we keep them away from is cooking.......and NO 8 year old is going to do the dishes :)
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Postby sierranomad » Fri Feb 10, 2006 8:21 pm

You can't go wrong in Yosemite. That said, I second Markscor's #3 - a beautiful hike - fantastic lakes, superb meadows and views..it's hard to beat. Also a hearty "two thumbs up" on Clouds Rest (on the same trip). One word of caution: the trail to the top is not for the faint of heart. It gets pretty narrow and has steep drop-offs on both sides (if you fall off the edge, you die. The only reason I mention it is because you have kids - you know what they're capable of.) You could still do the same trip and skirt the base of Clouds Rest, if need be. Half Dome is also along this route, and if you have the time and the heart for it, it is a must-see.

Another great trail starting from Tuolumne Meadows goes up Lyell Canyon, and exits the Canyon to go to Evelyn Lake and finally Vogelsang Peak, to Merced Lake and down to Little Yosemite Valley and finally Yosemite Valley. The hike from Lyell Canyon to Evelyn lake is pretty unrelenting, but once you've made it there you've done most of the elevation gain for the entire trip. You pass several lakes on this trail as well.
Jon

"When one tugs on a single thing in nature, he finds it's attached to the rest of the world". - John Muir
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Postby FreddyC » Tue Feb 14, 2006 9:12 am

Anything South of Yosemite? I was hoping to avoid the crowds as well. The hikes you folks suggest look AWSOME! Do you suggest getting trail permits in advanced? I live on the Central Coast and do most of my backpacking out of the Fresno area (Wishon, Coutwright, Kings Canyon etc) and rarely need to worry about a lot of people.
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Postby giantbrookie » Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:11 am

FreddyC wrote:Anything South of Yosemite? I was hoping to avoid the crowds as well. The hikes you folks suggest look AWSOME! Do you suggest getting trail permits in advanced? I live on the Central Coast and do most of my backpacking out of the Fresno area (Wishon, Coutwright, Kings Canyon etc) and rarely need to worry about a lot of people.


Of course there are a number of possibilities via west side entry in the Fresno area. As you know Kings Canyon west side entries are a bit tough for family hikes because, if you like lakes, it is quite a long way to the first lake from any Cedar Grove and vicinity trailhead.

On the other hand, Ansel Adams Wilderness (borders Yosemite on the south) out of the Granite Creek area (reached from 41 N of Oakhurst) has many lakes that are closely spaced and ideal for a leisurely family backpacking trip. Dinkey Lakes Wilderness is also good for a leisurely trip with good fishing.

The Wishon/Courtwright area has some nice country, although the options on day 1 that include reaching a lake in less than 7 miles are a bit thin (Duck Lake, Chain Lakes or Spanish Lakes) and lakes are spaced fairly far apart. Edison and Florence are good general kick off points, but I can think of only one lake (for a multiday trip, rather than a cul-de-sac) that may be under 7 mi on day 1 (Mott L. if boat taxi is taken across Edison).

If I was taking a family up (and I will be in a few years), I'd probably opt for a Dinkey Lakes trip, with entry from the Dinkey Lakes trailhead on Dinkey Creek. You can hit an assortment of lakes within the first 4 miles (Mystery, Swede, First, etc.). There is a variety of fishing from high volume (but not too big) brookie fishing (always good so that kids will in fact catch something) in some lakes, goldens in one (there supposed are goldens in another lake or two but they aren't easily reached on a trip that hits the main cluster), rainbows, including fish of decent size in others, and large but harder to catch brookies in still others. If you wish to go a just a bit off trail, there are additional nice options.

Kaiser Wilderness works, too, if one enters from the Sample Meadow or Potter Pass side. The only problem is that to connect up to the higher (most fun to explore) part of Kaiser one must do a bit of off trail (not too bad off trail stuff, actually) from the main cluster of lakes around the Twin Lakes (you can access the high stuff directly from Huntington, but this is a fairly strenuous hike for a family group--and you still need to do off trail stuff, anyway on the final approach to many of the higher lakes).

From the Granite Creek area one has lots of options, as well. One can start from the western trailheads and go toward the exceptionally large number of closely-spaced lakes around Madera-Vandeburg-Lady-Lillian Lake etc.--you can spend days exploring in there--or you can go out of the eastern trailhead and head for Cora Lakes before going deeper in (lakes a bit further apart on this route).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Postby SSSdave » Tue Feb 14, 2006 3:26 pm

A good family week long trip would be drive up SR168 past Huntington Lake, over Kaiser Pass. Do a trip from the end of the TA Edison reservoir ferry up Mono Creek eventually reaching the headwaters areas of Pioneer Basin and Fourth Recess. Can stop anywhere along the stream depending on how you are doing. At the headwaters there are a number of lakes to visit via easy above timberline crosscountry. Most have fish as well as the streams. Great scenery also.

Another fine similar idea in that area would be to hike up nearby Bear Creek towards the headwaters basins that also have many fine beautiful lakes with good fishing and great scenery.

...David
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Postby Hikin Mike » Tue Feb 14, 2006 4:50 pm

The Dinkey Lakes area is great for families/beginners. Several years ago I took a backpacking classs through the local parks department. Our "graduation" was a 3-day trip to that area. Been there once, but I'd love to return again!

My wife and I took our oldest daughter to Chain Lakes (SE Yosemite) when she was around two. Of course she didn't hike in, but that is another decent area.
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Postby FreddyC » Thu Feb 16, 2006 10:51 am

Thanks for the advice guys! I will definately check out some of the hikes out of Huntington and Edison. I love the Dinkey Lakes area and have done it every Labor Day weekend with my family for the past 3 years and plan on doing it again this year. Each year we go a bit farther off the main loop exploring the less traveled lakes. My youngest hiked the loop 3 years ago when he was five--yep, pre-school. He carried a light weight book bag with a jacket and nothing else. So my kids have been backpacking for quite a while now. Looking at some of the hikes you folks mentioned earlier, I like the Tuolumne Medows--Lyell Canyon--Vogelsang Lakes--Merced Lake--Sunrise--Cathedral Lake Loop. An alternative is the other side of the highway with the 10 lakes trail. Both map out to be about 30 miles and only about 2000-2500 foot elevation gain/loss. Easily doable for my brother, myself and my boys. How hard is it to reserve wilderness permits? One of the reasons I stopped backpacking Yosemite about 15 years ago is that I was never able to show up and get the route I wanted. Now they have a reservation system, but I have never used it. How does it work? We will most likely be starting mid-week so that should help, but it is July afterall--high time for backpackers.
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Postby giantbrookie » Thu Feb 16, 2006 12:35 pm

FreddyC wrote: How hard is it to reserve wilderness permits? One of the reasons I stopped backpacking Yosemite about 15 years ago is that I was never able to show up and get the route I wanted. Now they have a reservation system, but I have never used it. How does it work? We will most likely be starting mid-week so that should help, but it is July afterall--high time for backpackers.
FreddyC


It is generally fairly easy to reserve wilderness permits. You can phone the wilderness office in Yosemite and reserve the permit that way. It is good to have a game plan with alternative dates and entry points so that you can "audible" to your next alternative if you find your first one quota'd out. This system is way better than, say 20 years ago when the only way to reserve permits was by mail (and the other alternative was (still is) first come, first serve at the various ranger stations). With snail mail, it took some time to find out whether you got the first alternative, and no matter how many alternative scenarios you put on your application you could never be sure what you'd eventually get.

As an aside regarding Ten Lakes, it is not a bad hiking destination (some decent fishing in Ten Lakes and Grant Lakes, too), but for a multiday trip, it may be a bit limiting (ie better for a shorter trip) and lacking in variety, compared to some of the other options folks have posted above, especially the Tuolumne-based loop you mentioned as your lead choice (that I think is a superb trip).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Postby FreddyC » Thu Feb 16, 2006 3:22 pm

Thanks a bunch :D
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