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Hiking Advice needed for my family

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Hiking Advice needed for my family

Postby chrisshorb » Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:21 pm

What level of backpacking experience do you have?
Level 1- Minimal hiking (our 2nd backpacking trip)

What terrain are you comfortable/uncomfortable with?
- Class 1 terrain/trail hiking

What is your main interest?
- Lakes #1
- Forests #3
- Big Mountain scenery #2

How many days/nights is your trip, not including travel to trailhead? Not set in stone, but probably 3 nights
How many miles did you want to do a day, any layovers? That is part of the question. But we probably only want to backpack one day, camp a few days, then backpack out.
Did you prefer a loop or out and back trip? Either one, see above
Is there a particular area in the Sierra that your most interested in(Yosemite, SEKI
western sierra start or eastern start ect.)? See below
Will you be hiking with a dog? YES, which I realize limits where we can go (No National Parks, but National Forests are ok, I think).

So, in July we will be backpacking in. I have limited the places we can go to the below locations based on the number of wilderness permits per trailhead (we will have a pretty large group).

I believe on all of these trailheads, we can bring our dog, although I am willing to be corrected.

We will have several kids, ages 8+, most of whom have only backpacked once before, when we went to Little Lakes Valley. LLV was perfect because to Chickenfoot it was only 2.5-3 miles in, and the elevation change was minimal. I was wondering if there was another trip starting from one of these trailheads that had fairly easy elevation change, and was not much longer than 3 miles to a nice lake/camping spot.

BigPine North Fork 15
Bishop Pass 22
Blackrock – Unl
Cottonwood Lakes 36
Cottonwood Pass 24
Duck Lake 18
Haiwee – Unl
Kearsarge – Onion Valley – 36 –
Kennedy Meadows/Wildrose – Unl
Lakes Canyon – Unl
Little Lakes Valley – 15
Lundy Lake – Unl
Olancha Pass –Unl
Piute Pass – North Lake – 18
River Trail – Agnew Meadow – 18
Rush Creek – Silver Lake – 18
Sabrina Lake – 15
Saddlebag Lake – Unl
Shadow Lake – Agnew – 18
Trail Pass – Unl
Warren Fork – Unl

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Chris



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Re: Hiking Advice needed for my family

Postby maverick » Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:05 pm

Welcome to HST, Chris!
The easiest, and probably the prettiest is LLV, then Saddlebag Lake (which is even
easier if you use the ferry to get across the lake), Duck Lake area is pretty, Lundy
is not as scenic as 20 Lakes Basin (Saddlebag), and Bishop Pass, Cottonwood Pass
Kearsarge Pass, Rush Creek should not be on your list for new backpackers & kids.
Sabrina Lake up to Blue Lake is pretty, and the upper lakes are where the scenery
explodes, like Emerald Lake, Midnight Lake, Sailor Lake.
River Trail is just a trail to get to 1000 Is Lake area, and definitely not a destination place.
BPNF is also pretty with quite a few emerald green lakes that you can visit with big
mountain scenery (Palisades)and might be a place to consider.
The others shouldn't even be considered on your list.
But saying all that, LLV, Saddleback Lake, and Duck Lake should be at the top of your list.
Also do not forget to acclimate, and be prepared for a lot of skeetrz!
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Re: Hiking Advice needed for my family

Postby oldranger » Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:34 pm

Why just eastside TH? Some w/side trips can involve lower elevations which makes altitude sickness a lower probability than e. side THs.

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Re: Hiking Advice needed for my family

Postby chrisshorb » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:44 pm

Thanks Maverick and Mike!

Here's some background, which leads to more questions!

Before we go backpacking, we spend a week car-camping at June Lake (~7800ft or so), so we are fairly well acclimated. That's also why we look at Eastern Sierras, because we don't want to spend too much time driving all over - better to be spent hiking and enjoying! And in all honesty, there seem to be so many amazing trails and lakes and destinations, that I think my kids will be high schoolers (4/6 more years) before we'll start looking further afield.

Anyway, that brings up another question. Last year, after we car camped, we stored all our gear at our friend's aunt's condo. Well, auntie's neighbors weren't too excited about that, and complained to the management company - so we aren't allowed to store gear there this year.

Don't want to have all that stuff in car parked in bear country (like coolers, camp stove, etc) - so where do we store it? Is there someplace in Bishop/LonePine/Independence/MammothLakes that will temporarily store people's camping gear? If not, someone should start the business!

Chris
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Re: Hiking Advice needed for my family

Postby LMBSGV » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:15 pm

I also think Sabrina Basin sounds like a good place. My son did it when he was 6 and had a great time. Another possibility is Piute Lake below Piute Pass. During the day, those who want to stay and play at the lake should have a good time (if the skeeters aren't too obnoxious in July this year) while the more adventurous ones can go into Humphrey's Basin or Muriel Lake (use trail at the top of the pass).

I have no good idea on the problem of storing your gear since I don't know how much stuff there will be. I suggest calling the Bishop ranger station and asking them. Especially if you call in the off-season on a weekday, the ranger who answers the phone may not have anything better to do and so might be willing to stop and think about your problem and offer an idea.
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Re: Hiking Advice needed for my family

Postby oldranger » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:40 am

So you have solved the issue of acclimation. It is always a problem for me when combining car camping with backpacking or multiple consecutive bp trips. A couple of years ago after two weeks on the road I stashed all of my carcamping food and cooking gear in the bearboxes at Yosemite Creek while I went on a 9 day trip from White Wolf to Paradise Valley. I even had to park the 4 runner right on the side of Tioga Road because the road to White Wolf wasn't open to the public yet. After conscientiously putting everything (I thought) into the bear boxes I returned to the car to find I had left a banana on the dashboard in plain view. What a dummy! But a lucky one. Everything I left in the bear box was left intact--even the beer!

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Re: Hiking Advice needed for my family

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:00 am

Ha..ha! I've done the "banana peel" thing myself- thought I left it in the car at South Lake on a 10-day trip. When I came back I found it shriveled and black sitting on top of the car. But I worried the entire trip because I thought I had left it inside.

Leaving all your stuff in the bear boxes at the trailhead is not a considerate thing to do to others. The bear boxes have limited space and if everyone were to stuff all their car camping stuff inside, there would soon be no more room. A better idea is to plan food supplies so that little is left over. Same with toiletries. Have one small box or cooler to put in the bear box; rinse out the larger coolers and put in the trunk. I have left empty large coolers in front of my car - if worried about someone taking it, simply take a bicycle wire lock and attach it to the car, a post or tree. Your car's inside probably already has food odors, so putting washed dishes in the trunk should not cause problems. I cover stuff inside my car (stuff that does not fit into the trunk) with a large blanket - just to keep bears from seeing something they may percieve as a food container. I have had a coffee press stolen from a group bear box. I have never had anything stolen from my locked car.
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Re: Hiking Advice needed for my family

Postby oldranger » Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:40 am

WD

Agree about too much stuff in bear boxes in mid summer but this was early june and there were only 2 boxes with anything in at all. I also had to put a little stuff in the Curry Orchard boxes last Sept. and again there were many unused and much of what was there seemed to me to be abandoned! I did rinse out my bearikade that I did not need on the trip I was taking and kept in the car wrapped in plastic garbage bag inside sealed dry bag and under cover. All was ok.

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Re: Hiking Advice needed for my family

Postby quentinc » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:06 pm

I once ran into a family with two kids, aged 4 and 5, in the Big Whitney Meadow area. They had come in over Cottonwood Pass, and were planning on making it out to Horseshoe Meadows in an afternoon. The kids looked like they were having a great time. They were perplexed by my astonishment.
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Re: Hiking Advice needed for my family

Postby chrisshorb » Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:26 pm

@Wandering Daisy et al:

The big thing I'm worried about is our car-camping Coleman Stove. It's grease spattered and well worn, and I don't want to leave it outside for human vermin to steal. Great idea though about the coolers.

I called one of the gear shops in Bishop (Wilsons?) and he recommended the Rock Creek Lodge - haven't tried them yet however.

Great feedback so far from everyone, keep it coming! I'm going out of town this weekend (not hiking or camping sadly), but I think I will call the ranger on Monday and reserve my Wilderness Passes.

Thanks!

chris
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Re: Hiking Advice needed for my family

Postby East Side Hiker » Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:47 am

Go to Pacific Valley, off Hwy 4, flows north into the Mokelumne River above Hermit Valley. Great place to camp (if you don't mind horses or cows, or an occasional bear). You can hike all over the place. Bull Run Peak is a great hike for kids. Several trails.
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