Page 1 of 1

TR East Lake (Hoover Wilderness) 5/28-29

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:17 pm
by DLeikam
First time backpacking and first trip report :D

I was planning on taking my daughters (7 and 3) to East Lake for two nights, ended up staying one night. This was my first overnight trip so I've never packed for an overnighter, let alone for two others. My pack was 45 lbs, which I thought was heavy, but I guess others regularly pack more than that. I don't understand how, any more than 45 and it would have required two people to get onto my back/shoulders.

Car camped the night before in the dispersed area around Green Creek. My daughters were super anxious to get hiking and suggested setting the alarm for 4:30am so we could hike using the headlamps. I compromised and set the alarm for 5am, Friday morning. Coffee drank, oatmeal eaten, and actually hiking by 6:30am. I let them lead so they could set the pace and so I didn't push them too hard, and to my dismay they didn't slow me down. I was shocked that a few times I had to ask for a quick break.


Made it to Green Lake by 10:00am and enjoyed a nice long break (probably 20 minutes?). For YEARS I have looked at creeks and thought, "I bet you taste good" but never had a filter and never wanted to chance it. My first backpacking investment was a platypus gravity filter and I was anxious to start enjoying water right out of the creek, so we loaded up on FRESH COLD water. I can finally confirm: the water does taste as good and fresh as it looks from the trail.


Back on the trail to East Lake and the day was starting to warm. Kids loved to play in the creek crossings on the way up (times 3?) and dunk their hats, splash faces, etc. About the last 1/4 of the way up, my 3 year old started slowing down and wanting breaks every 10 minutes. We obliged and made it to East Lake at noon on the dot.

Creek crossing on the way up to East:

Arriving at East Lake:

We set up camp on "the peninsula" (thanks for the advice in a previous thread!), made some PBJ sandwiches for lunch and everyone took a nap. Thunderstorms rolled in from about 2-5pm. No heavy rain but it was steady light and we didn't really bring any back up clothes so we basically stayed in the tent to wait it out. It's hard to entertain an freshly napped 3 year old in a tent for that long.


After the thunderstorms, it cleared up beautifully and we explored a little bit to the west towards Nutter lake but not very far. Back to camp for pasta dinner, a little fishing in the lake, and it was bedtime. I was wiped out and so were they. "Bedtime" for them was 8 and they didn't settle down so I climbed in with them. Apparently I fell asleep and so did they, so in one fell swoop, I missed two of my favorite things: the stars at night and the way the Sierras glow on the east side in the morning sunrise. We slept till 7am.

After breakfast we dayhiked to the west, headed for Hoover lakes. Back side of East:


Passed Nutter Lake, cute little lake with a great looking camp spot on the rocks overlooking the water (photo is from the way back down).


Passed Gilman and scurried down to the inflow of Gilman for some fishing at the inlet. Fished for 30 minutes or so and didn't catch anything.

Outlet side of Gilman:

Inlet of Gilman:

Ran into a ranger making the rounds and he suggested that even if we managed the inlet crossing, there are a few snowfields on the way to Hoover that would be a little treacherous for the kids, so we decided to head back to camp after hanging out at Gilman for a while.

Naptime for all after another PBJ lunch. Around 1 Ipm saw clouds forming and I made a snap decision: time to pack up camp and head back a day early. It was difficult to entertain the 3 year old in the tent for a few hours the day before and even if the tstorms didn't materialize, the mosquitoes don't make for relaxing "hanging out" at camp. So we packed up and headed back down the trail, on the way by 1:15. Speaking of mosquitoes.....they ranged from biblical plague to slightly annoying, with the majority of the time being towards the biblical plague end of the spectrum. I guess it has been a while since I've camped in any sort of mosquito population higher than a slight annoyance. Both daughters (3 yo especially) look like they have chicken pox and I'm not much better. I think it's time to invest in some netting or something. Made it back to the car in 5 hours, by 6:15 and headed to Bridgeport for a few burgers. The last 1/4 mile my 3 year old was at the raged edge of her limit. She was complaining her foot and leg was hurting and she slowed WAY down. I never carried her though, we just slowed down (to the mosquitoes delight) and took our time. Did some more fishing on the E. Walker and got absolutely clobbered again by mosquitoes. On the road by 9pm, home by 1am. Carried kids to bed and collapsed on the bed myself - after a quick shower so my wife didn't kill me. All said and done, almost 11 miles in 2 days and I'm super impressed with the girls. On the way back down I thought to myself, "glad I got that out of my system, probably won't hike for a while now". That didn't last though, already planning the next adventure and eyeing the loop over to Virginia Lakes area very hard.....

Re: TR East Lake (Hoover Wilderness) 5/28-29

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:38 pm
by maverick
Wow, thank you for sharing this wonderful TR and pictures with you daughters.
Here is a previous thread that may help with mosquitoes: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7828&hilit=mosquito+avoidance" onclick=";return false;

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:30 pm
by sheperd80
Thanks for the TR, and great photos! In my experience 45 lb is a lot! But when carrying for others thats understandable. For an overnighter and splitting a 2 man tent Im usually well under 30 total including food and water.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Tapatalk 4 Beta

Re: TR East Lake (Hoover Wilderness) 5/28-29

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:47 pm
by soquelca
Wonderful report. Thanks for posting...

Re: TR East Lake (Hoover Wilderness) 5/28-29

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:26 pm
by SSSdave
Your young daughters how wonderful, I envy you.

All you need to do is read some threads on the board about dealing with mosquitoes and wet weather and you will be fine. The weather is easy. Just get some inexpensive rain gear, learn about being safe during thunderstorms and you won't need to be tent bound. Generally by August levels of mosquitoes are much lower. June and early July are often when they peak. Until the 3 year old grows a bit more, you probably ought to limit backpacking distance to 2 miles or less. Good choices for short short backpacking are out of Saddlebag Lake road into 20 Lakes Basin and up Rock Creek at Mosquito Flat into Little Lakes Valley.

Looking at your pictures of your wonderful daughters I see all that skin showing. The classic t-shirt, hiking shorts, and baseball cap is a certain formula during early season in the Sierra for an unpleasant experience. You need to have clothing mosquito probosci cannot poke through that covers up as much skin area as possible plus repellent that deters the flying draculas from what remains, face and hands. If you are a person that won't use DEET but are determined to visit before August then you are going to be attacked and bitten. I've been backpacking at this time of year for decades and often don't get bit at all even though squeets are everwhere.

Re: TR East Lake (Hoover Wilderness) 5/28-29

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:17 pm
by KathyW
Yes, very nice report. As David said, just wait until August and mosquitoes won't be much of an issue in most areas.

Re: TR East Lake (Hoover Wilderness) 5/28-29

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:48 pm
by DoyleWDonehoo
I can't think of a better place to take kids on a backpack.

Re: TR East Lake (Hoover Wilderness) 5/28-29

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:46 am
by Vaca Russ

Thanks for the great report and pictures. It could inspire others to get their young ones on the trail.

Keep going on backpacking trips and posting reports!



Re: TR East Lake (Hoover Wilderness) 5/28-29

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:03 am
by DLeikam
Thanks for the replies and advice. It was a post maveric had linked to viewtopic.php?f=9&t=5921&hilit=first+backpacking" onclick=";return false;) in a previous thread that made me decide to take the kids up and it was worth every second of it. My wife asked me if the kids had fun and I replied that the kids MADE the trip, wouldn't have been the same without them. But yes, obviously have something to learn about mosquito management and yes, I don't think we will be doing that long of a trip with the youngest again. We used repellent (DEET) liberally and it helped but required frequent reapplications. Thanks again, it was a wonderful trip!

Re: TR East Lake (Hoover Wilderness) 5/28-29

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:47 pm
by giantbrookie
Nice report and what a great debut trip with your kids! Your daughters are much stronger hikers than my kids at the same age. Mine are 7 and 11 and I'm not sure I could get them to East Lake even now.