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Backpacking trip with my son

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Backpacking trip with my son

Postby Bronco » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:31 pm

Does anyone have any suggestions for a backpacking trip that my 12 year old son and I can try out. I would like to keep the trek to trails with no cross country. I thinking it would be good for this trip to be around 40-50 miles (more if the terrain isn't too strenous) roundtrip or loop. We're thinking of taking our time and being out for about 7-8 days. Any kind of trails will do, whether it is mountain, forest or lakes. This will be his first backpacking trip and I would like for it to be one he will remember forever and inspire hime to continue backpacking for years to come. I still remember my summer of 12 years old, climbing Pikes Peak and later hiking the Narrows. Anyhow, I was planning on doing the High Sierra Trail, but I'm thinking that this might be too difficult for him as it's 70+ miles ending by topping Mt. Whitney. He is a very active kid and doesn't shy away from hard work, but he's still young. Any input on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!



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Re: Backpacking trip with my son

Postby rlown » Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:00 pm

any fishing involved?

Welcome to the HST!
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Re: Backpacking trip with my son

Postby maverick » Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:27 pm

HI Bronco,

Welcome to HST!
Rae Lakes Loop is 46 miles long with a few day hike possibilities to Sixty Lakes
Basin or up to Dragon Lake. Doing this loop trip clock wise will allow you to
acclimate a couple days before reaching high point at just under 12000 ft (Glen Pass).
Here are some TR's that will give you an idea of what to expect, but one thing you
can count on if you go in the summer besides gorgeous scenery are mosquitoes, so
be prepared.
http://www.highsierratopix.com/communit ... kes#p64925
http://www.highsierratopix.com/communit ... ley#p32749
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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Re: Backpacking trip with my son

Postby paul » Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:27 pm

Most likely you will not be limited by your son's physical abilities, but by his motivation. A motivated and active 12-year old can do a lot of hiking, but If this is his first backpacking trip you want to err on the side of attractions per mile rather than miles per day, in my opinion. Get him hooked now on a really fun trip and then he'll be raring to go next year on something more challenging.
I'll make a suggestion on an area - Start from Wishon Dam and head up into Blackcap Basin/red Mtn Basin. Lots of lakes, great views, not too crowded, lots of options once you get in there. A little easy cross-country on a side trip will feel like a major adventure to your boy and I highly recommend it - Blackcap basin is a great place for that, Blackcap mtn is a very easy walkup and getting to the top of something is always fun for a boy of any age.
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Re: Backpacking trip with my son

Postby schmalz » Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:02 pm

The Rae Lakes Loop is very good advice based on your preferences.

Although I question whether such a big trip is a good idea for a kid's first backpack. Are you sure you might not have a better chance of success with a shorter trip? Perhaps one where you could establish a base camp where you could do day hikes and/or fish?
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Re: Backpacking trip with my son

Postby maverick » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:00 pm

Now after rereading this request it sounds like maybe something less ambitious
would be more suitable as an introductory backpacking trip which is what this
should be and not a full blown backpacking trip IMHO.
Something like Little Lakes Valley or 20 Lakes Basin which is very easy, has big
mountain scenery, lots of places to explore, and to have fun, where most of the
emphasis should be on not mileage, especially if you want him to be hooked
on backpacking. Rae Lake Loop can be another trip later on down the line when
he is ready to put in some mileage, and has a few trips under his belt. You do
not know how he will deal with the altitude, bad weather, a heavy backpack, or
swarms of mosquitoes which are a sure way of turning him off from backpacking
for good.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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Re: Backpacking trip with my son

Postby rlown » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:10 pm

Has the boy been out before overnight, and what experience does he have? Packwise, etc.
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Re: Backpacking trip with my son

Postby Timberline » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:20 pm

Howdy, Bronco, and welcome to HST!
Not sure what your expectations are for you and your son based on your initial request, but I think Maverick's 2nd suggestions are excellent options. I would add consideration of Pioneer Basin as another possibility, tho there's Mono Pass to cross early in the hike distance if you approach from the east. Absolute great scenery and lots of options for a base camp/day hike agenda. Is east side or western approach an issue? If you go in on the east side, suggest you allow time to stop by and pay a visit to the ghost town of Bodie. Should be of interest to a 12yr-old (it was true in my case with my son) and offers altitude (8,000 ft +/-) to help one acclimatize.

PM me if your interested to hear our story about that introductory Sierra backpack with my son.

Happy trails!
Let 'er Buck! Back in Oregon again!
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Re: Backpacking trip with my son

Postby oldranger » Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:10 pm

Bronco

I would not be comfortable introducing anyone to backpacking on an 8 day trip. You just don't know how people will respond to being away from civilization or how they will deal with the effort of carrying a pack and things like mosquitos. I would suggest starting with a 3 day weekend trip, probably an out and back. Vandeburg or Jackass Lakes s. of Yosemite and Seville Lake in Kings Canyon are appropriate w. side trips. 20 lakes basin and the other E. Side trips are also approriate. So plan your long trip but do a short one first and you will sort out a lot of problems that could be a deal killer on a longer trip. If the weekend trip goes well the Rae Lakes loop in 8 days would be relatively liesurely.

Mike (with a little experience taking kids, friends, and now grandkids on their "first backpack trip."
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Backpacking trip with my son

Postby Bronco » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:25 pm

Thanks for the warm welcome and thanks to everyone for the fantastic suggestions! I'm really excited I stumbled onto this web site.

Just a little more background. My son and I have done a handful of camping trips (out of the car) with day hikes along the way. Our longest time out was for 6 days camping in Kings Canyon and he loved being away from everything and being outside. And we are planning on at least two 2-3 day trips in Angeles NP prior to our big summer trip.

In regards to the other questions posed, we live in the Lancaster/Palmdale area so coming up from the south and then heading to either the west or the east work out good. I have only fished a couple times before and by no means have any skill in this area, but it might be a great time to try it out with him. So I'd love any further thoughts on that.

In summary, based on everyone's suggestions, I think the best approach will be to gauge his enthusiasm for backpacking on a shorter hike with lots of day hikes and cross treking on the side. I would love to look more into the hikes mentioned. Does anyone have a good suggestion on maps and other good information to research these trips and share with my boy to get him excited. Thanks again for all the input!
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Re: Backpacking trip with my son

Postby austex » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:38 pm

First of all trip reports on here and as far as maps that are online and free: http://mapper.acme.com/ it has satellite, hybrid, map, topo and terrain features which you can toggle through. Also it will keep your markers for place names to go back to w/o doing a full search again.. In the lower right box type in a place name in the white box and hit "search" . The magic begins. Try something local like "Wrightwood"? it's in ANF and close by you with camping/hiking.
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Re: Backpacking trip with my son

Postby Ikan Mas » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:03 pm

I'm a recently retired scoutmaster and the Troop we were in usually have 50-milers for either a younger crew (13-14) or an older crew (15 and up).

Typical younger crew trips:
- Lassen National Park
- The Lost Coast
- PCT I-80 to Highway 50
- Marble Mountains, see:
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4687&hilit=+Marble
These trips don't have any particularly high passes

A couple of harder trips for older boys:
- Onion Valley/Kearsarge Pass to Mt. Whitney
- Hoover Wilderness/Northern Yosemite Loop starting at Twin Lakes
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