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TR: Paradise Valley with kids, 5/25-5/27

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TR: Paradise Valley with kids, 5/25-5/27

Postby tim » Wed May 29, 2013 7:47 am

We had much better weather this Memorial Day weekend to take my younger son (now 7) backpacking again, compared to last year's snow. His elder brother (age 12) came too, but his sister is getting ready for her dance performance next weekend so couldn't join us. We drove down to Kings Canyon on Friday afternoon and were very pleased (and not a little surprised) to have a good choice of campsites when we arrived at Cedar Grove at 7.30pm. Apparently, the late opening had put a lot of people off, as we were told it is normally full much earlier on the Friday of a holiday weekend.

Saturday morning we were up bright and early and after a cooked breakfast at the lodge, we were on the trail by 10am, heading up towards Mist Falls. My younger son did really well with the climb (1600ft, 6.5 miles) after deciding he wanted to beat his brother to the top!

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Climbing to Paradise

The river was not particularly high, though the falls were quite pretty. There was no snow visible anywhere, except for a few north facing slopes above 10,000ft. It was a very pleasant temperature for hiking, and completely bug free. As we approached Paradise Valley, it started to change from dry and dusty to somewhat green, although flowers were pretty scarce. It looks like some will be out in the next couple of weeks, but I doubt they will last long.

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Mist Falls

We finally reached Lower Paradise Valley at 2.30pm and got a decent tent spot in the trees near the river. There were quite a few day hikers around, but they headed off by about 4pm and we settled in with a nice fire, which the kids always enjoy. We met an older guy and his son: he had been coming up to this spot with the family every Memorial Day weekend since 1987 (when his son was 8), some years in sunshine and other times in snow!

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Lower Paradise Camp

Next morning we decided to take an easy day hike up the valley to Upper Paradise. We wandered through some fairly lush meadows, seeing very few people, and hoping we'd spot a bear (but as usual we didn't!) and after an hour and a half we stopped just short of Upper Paradise, with a great view of Arrow Creek falls.

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Paradise Valley

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Arrow Creek Falls

We headed back to camp and spent a restful afternoon there. I didn't summon up the courage to jump in the river, although quite a few other people did - the temperature was surprisingly reasonable for May. Monday morning we woke up early and headed down at 6.50am, hoping that we'd get to the lodge before they stopped serving breakfast at 10.30am. We managed it quite easily, reaching the trailhead by 9.30am and after loading up on "proper" food we were on our way back home.

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Heading back down

Driving down from Grant Grove we were treated to a wonderful view all the way across the Central Valley to the Coast Range - something I've never seen before. I'm sure anyone who climbed Alta Peak on Monday would have been in for a great treat. Overall a perfect way to spend Memorial Day weekend - none of the crowds of Yosemite and very little traffic in either direction either - we did the drive from the Bay Area in less than 5 hours each way.



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Re: TR: Paradise Valley with kids, 5/25-5/27

Postby Scouter9 » Wed May 29, 2013 8:22 am

Very cool and great photos.
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Re: TR: Paradise Valley with kids, 5/25-5/27

Postby maverick » Wed May 29, 2013 9:48 am

Thank you very much Tim for sharing you wonderful TR and pictures of you and
your kids. Woods Creek looks quite low for this time of the year, would you have
a shot of it taken from the Upper Paradise crossing area?
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Re: TR: Paradise Valley with kids, 5/25-5/27

Postby tim » Wed May 29, 2013 11:27 am

maverick wrote:Thank you very much Tim for sharing you wonderful TR and pictures of you and
your kids. Woods Creek looks quite low for this time of the year, would you have
a shot of it taken from the Upper Paradise crossing area?


We didn't quite get that far. Here is the Kings about 1 mile below the junction with Woods Creek. Certainly fordable in places even there (no more than 3ft deep). This is around midday and in fact the water was 6-12 inches lower in the afternoon: we saw a fisherman who had waded across at Lower Paradise in the evening and was only wet up to his crotch.

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Kings River below Upper Paradise
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