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Suggestions for trip with 7 year old

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Suggestions for trip with 7 year old

Postby dgbaak » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:42 pm

I'm looking for suggestions on a backpacking trip with my 7 year old son.
My backpacking experience is probably level 3 but this is my first time with one of my kids. I'd like to go somewhere we can do a little fishing and generally just have a good first time experience. I'd like the trip to be 3 days/2 nights, no layovers, a loop, and probably not more than 4 or 5 miles in a day. Main area of interest is western Sierras as we will be starting our trip from Visalia.
Thank you for any suggestions on helping me introduce my son to the Sierras for the first time.



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Re: Suggestions for trip with 7 year old

Postby Strider » Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:55 am

The Kaiser Ridge loop from the Upper Billy Creek Campground on the north side of Huntington Lake. Nellie Lake is an easy days hike, and has decent fishing. The next day over Kaiser Ridge has great views, and the trail comes down near the stables, or you can extend it to hit some other lakes to the east.
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Re: Suggestions for trip with 7 year old

Postby balzaccom » Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:56 am

I would make a couple of suggestions. Given that you son is only 7, I wouldn't want to start with a long car trip before the hike. That means you should be looking at something within a couple of hours of Visalia--leaving out Desolation Wilderness--and really anything north of Yosemite. And even Yosemite would require more driving than you need.

But you do have a two regions that aren't far away that would be great for this trip. One is the Dinkey Lakes area, above Shaver Lake, where you can hike to a series of lakes over the course of 10-12 miles....and stop at whichever one strikes your fancy. The other one is just outside Grants Grove, and would be a short trip to Jennie Lakes--with a similar set of attractions.

I would also suggest that you make plenty of time for playing. Get to the lake before lunch, and that will allow you to play in the lake, fish, take a nap, and generally forget the hours on the trail. My experience is that you will be walking at something like 1.5 miles per hour...so a five mile hike will take more than three hours. Get that done before breakfast, and then play all afternoon!
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Re: Suggestions for trip with 7 year old

Postby tim » Sun Aug 16, 2009 1:56 am

I just got back from doing a 3 day/2 night trip in Yosemite with my 8 year old twins. We went to Upper Cathedral Lake (3.7 miles) then to Upper Sunrise Lake (5.5 miles) then out to Tenaya Lake (3.5 miles). It was a great hike, Cathedral Lakes is beautiful and Sunrise Lakes has really great views (and was good for a fire and smores as well). You can then get the free shuttle back to your car. It wasn't quiet on the hike, but there was only one other group camping at Cathedral and we were on our own at Sunrise Lake. Don't do the hike in the other direction - the switchbacks up from Tenaya would be a real drag. Permits may be an issue on this trip (we got ours back in Feb).
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Re: Suggestions for trip with 7 year old

Postby frediver » Sun Aug 16, 2009 12:22 pm

Shaver Lake area is a good one, check out Graveyard Meadows, just a bit further.
For a first trip 4-5mi. per day seems like a stretch, settle for half that and be happy.
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Re: Suggestions for trip with 7 year old

Postby dgbaak » Sun Aug 16, 2009 3:47 pm

Thank you all for the great information and suggestions. Great forum!
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Re: Suggestions for trip with 7 year old

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Aug 16, 2009 7:50 pm

Sorry I missed this earlier. Last year my wife and I took my then 6-year-old, and our 2 and a half year old on their first backpack (younger one was carried in), then repeated the trip this year with the 3.5 year old getting all the way in. This was simply an overnighter with 1.25 mi and 850-900' of gain one way (but all off trail); there is a thread on the fishing board on this. The trip was quite enjoyable for everyone although the youngest one had a bit of a hard time.

Now off trail trips are not for most folks, so for a southern west side entry, I think the best beginner trip target is the Dinkey Lakes. I agree with keeping the drive short from Visalia, too. My kids get pretty antsy on long car rides. Here is why I like the Dinkeys for a first backpack: 1. The hiking distance and elevation gain is minimal: depending on whether you head to Mystery (closest) or First Dinkey or South (probably most central location) you are looking at between 2.5 and 3.5 miles one way with less than 500' of gain.

2. There are many places to go on little dayhikes in this area with a variety of scenery and fishing opportunities. Although easy to reach and moderately popular, there is so much room in this basin that you can almost certainly find a nice campsite with some privacy.

3. First Dinkey and South are excellent for the young fisherman, too, because they have so many smallish brookies in them (but they still can reach 11" and are commonly orange meated and very tasty). Mystery once had hit or miss brookies but now has fairly nice rainbows. Swede has medium rainbows. More exotic fishing opportunities can be had further in.

4. Also of note is that young folks like campfires (OK grown up kids like them too) and campfires are legal in Dinkey Lakes Wilderness.

After the Dinkeys another beginner target may be Jackass Lakes (off Beasore Road near Clover Meadow). This is easier off of the Norris Trailhead than the Jackass Lakes one on the main road. There are not quite as many options to move around in the Jackass Lakes as there are in the Dinkey's though.

Upper Twin Lake and vicinity (Lower Twin, George, etc) is another good one with a 3 mi hike and less than 1k gain from the Sample Meadows trailhead. Fishing is generally pretty reliable at Upper Twin and George although the population density in these lakes isn't quite like South, First Dinkey, or Rock. There are quite a few options to go to other lakes but not quite like the Dinkeys.

Weaver Lake in Jennie Lakes Wilderness at 2 mi (or less) from Fox Meadow is an easy one, but there aren't too many options after getting there.
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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Re: Suggestions for trip with 7 year old

Postby oldranger » Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:48 am

Just as important as distance and vertical gain is the weight of the pack. Just did an overnighter with my 7 and 8 year old grandkids in the N. Cascades. They carried about 20% of their weight on a hike that covered 4.3 miles and gained a net of about 700 feet (gross 900 ft) and did great. As with my kids at that age they carried sleeping bag, pad and clothes. The 7 year old has to have his camelback bladder and finished off his quart by the time he got to the lake(plus some additional water at the 1/2 way point). He also had to stop a few times to pee! Both kids were hiking strong when we got to the lake!

Make it fun, too!

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Re: Suggestions for trip with 7 year old

Postby giantbrookie » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:52 pm

oldranger wrote:Just as important as distance and vertical gain is the weight of the pack. Just did an overnighter with my 7 and 8 year old grandkids in the N. Cascades. They carried about 20% of their weight on a hike that covered 4.3 miles and gained a net of about 700 feet (gross 900 ft) and did great. As with my kids at that age they carried sleeping bag, pad and clothes. The 7 year old has to have his camelback bladder and finished off his quart by the time he got to the lake(plus some additional water at the 1/2 way point). He also had to stop a few times to pee! Both kids were hiking strong when we got to the lake!
Make it fun, too!
Mike

Your kids and grandkids at 7 are stronger than I was at 7 or my 7 year old is. When I was 7 I could hike but if you put a feather on my back it would break me. My son is not nearly as strong at 7 as I was, so I haven't put anything on him yet. My first backpack trip was at the age of 8--to Pear Lake as a base to climb Alta Peak. My dad figured I could carry something, so he had my mom sew shoulder straps and pads onto the sleeping back carrying sack. I lasted about 0.2 miles with that. My dad then swapped the sleeping bag for my jacket and but the jacket in the stuff sack, while cramming my sleeping bag in his bottomless 70lb pack. In another 0.2 mi or so I couldn't take that load, so he strapped the whole works onto his pack and I was good to go . Judy and I once ran into a 7 year old going over Lamarck Col with a pack that looked bigger than him. This kid vaporized his dad; only his grandad could keep up. So just as with grownups, the hiking and load carrying prowess varies quite a bit from kid to kid. I did not end up carrying a truly full pack until my 10th birthday, by which time the training of the future death marcher was well underway (day 1 of my 10th birthday trip featured 4600' of gain, consisting of the backpack plus dayhike peak bag).
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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Re: Suggestions for trip with 7 year old

Postby Cross Country » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:21 pm

When my son was 6, 7, and 8 I took him to 10 or 12 places. We went to Ten Lakes Basin twice because it's such a good choice. It's a 3 day trip. The best place however was Disappointment Lake. Your 7 year old will catch lots of fish. Take two easy days to get there. Stop at Horse Corral Meadow (maybe Rea Lake) the first night. We hiked out in one day. It was a 4 day trip. We day hiked up the drainage to Hell For Sure Lakes fishing several lakes on the way and back. My son caught his first Golden from Arctic Lake. He remarked that they tasted better than Rainbows.
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Re: Suggestions for trip with 7 year old

Postby Cross Country » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:24 pm

Above and below Disappointment Lake.
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Re: Suggestions for trip with 7 year old

Postby Mike M. » Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:06 pm

Focus on making the experience as positive as possible for your 7 year old. That means Daddy has to carry everything! (Seriously.) At that age, the most your little one should carry is a daypack to hold his Gameboy and maybe a sweatshirt. He'll be able to keep up with you just fine, as you will be carrying all your (collective) gear.

Also, choose a route and destination that will be largely free of mosquitoes. What time of year are you planning to go?

For footwear, make sure your son wears a comfortable, broken in pair of sneakers. Boots and young kids are not a great idea.

Take plenty of sunscreen.

What really matters to your son is that he gets to be with you the entire time, and has your undivided attention. He'll never forget!

Here are two photos of a trip I took with my son when he was 7. We hiked in about 5 miles each day.

Image
Image
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