1 Night Beginner Backpack?

Backpacking and camping basics and other general trip planning discussion for the uninitiated. Use this forum to learn where to look for the information you need, and to ask questions, related to the beginner basics of backpacking and camping, including technique and best practices.
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sambieni
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Re: 1 Night Beginner Backpack?

Post by sambieni » Tue Aug 11, 2020 10:30 am

jlweinberger wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:55 am
There are already tons of great ideas here, many of which we have done with our kids (currently 9 and 11). To throw in my two cents for an easy hike in Yosemite, Polydome Lake, off the Murphy Creek trailhead, is another good one. It's ~2.5 to 3 miles with ~600 feet of elevation gain. We went several years ago in September and only encountered one other family camped at the lake. The mileage in is pretty short, which is good for getting used to carrying a pack, but once you're at the lake you can climb Polydome and get some views of Half Dome and into Yosemite Valley.
Thank you for the suggestion; yea, I have been there myself. I don't love the area, but do get could be a great first time backpack. May put it as a permit option to Yosemite. Thanks!








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Re: 1 Night Beginner Backpack?

Post by giantbrookie » Tue Aug 11, 2020 10:47 am

I second the recommendation of the Saddlebag Lake area, and this recommendation comes with some personal experience because the Saddlebag Lake area was the focal point of my earliest days of Sierran hiking (starting when I was about 7 or so and my brother was 4). The hikes are short, with amazing views, and the elevation gain is minimal too (less than 500 feet for almost anywhere you want to go).

The Saddlebag + Tioga Pass region has a number of hikes to gorgeous locations that are short and suitable for kids' first trips. In addition to Saddlebag itself there is a short trail that leaves the Tioga Pass road at Tioga Lake and heads for places such as Bennetville (old gold mine), Shell Lake, Fantail Lake, Spuller Lake (in increasing distance). The hiking distances are short without steep climbs and the scenery is stunning. Then there are two short hikes that are steeper that can be appealing depending on how strongly your kids hike. One of these is Gaylor Lakes and vicinity, reached by the trail that heads west from Tioga Pass. It is short (a bit over 1 mile to the first Gaylor) but steep (about 700' of gain), but the view cresting out over the shoulder of Gaylor Peak is amazing as are the southward vistas from the Gaylor Lakes. There is the short (1 mi) but super steep (800' of gain and very very steep trail) that leads to Gardisky Lake which tends to see amazingly few people (steep climb scares them off) but has one of the best views in all of the Sierra: the westward view looks across the headwaters of LeeVining Creek to the high peaks of Mt Conness and White Mtn whereas the view in the opposite direction is down Lee Vining Canyon. My wife and I have taken our kids to all of the above locations. They were very young when we did Gardisky (oldest, Lee, was probably about 6 or younger?) and the oldest needed a partial carry over my shoulder whereas my wife carried the youngest (Dawn 3 or younger) in a kid carrier (little did we know that Dawn would grow into the strongest hiker we've ever seen for her age).

Weaver Lake, mentioned earlier in this thread was one of the places where we took kids on backpacking trips when they were little. The west side destinations such as Jennie Lakes Wilderness, Kaiser Wilderness, or Dinkey Lakes Wilderness won't have as nice alpine scenery as the Tioga Pass area, though. However, coming up from Fresno (now in Bay Area) my wife and I used the "home team advantage" to do the very first backpacking trips with kids out of those trailheads (mostly Hwy 168). The very first backpack trip was to a trailless lake just outside of the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness. It required about 1.5 mi of hiking with 900' of gain and, given that it is off trail, is not recommended as a normal beginner's trip. Dawn was carried in entirely on my wife's (Judy's) back and we rigged up various "attachments" so that Judy carried other items attached to the child carrier--her pack weight was a mind-blowing 45 lbs (she weighed a bit over 90lbs) as personal high, as was my totem-pole like external frame set up that weighed in at about 85 lbs (I weighed about 170 lbs at that time). We returned to that place several times over the years and the kids still have fond memories of that spot. Dawn (now 14 going on 15), even after having been with me on off trail backpacks to some of the most remote places in the Sierra, still speaks fondly of the location of that first backpack and says we should go back there. She also speaks very highly of the Gaylor Lakes (first place where she had fishing success).
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" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: 1 Night Beginner Backpack?

Post by whttiger25 » Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:37 pm

mckee80 wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:06 am
sambieni wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:37 am

1) May Lake. Just 1 mile hike in from trailhead off of Tioga Road. Super easy, short hike. Way shorter than I would like, but as a first time backpacker, may be right to make her feel comfortable and at ease and not worry too much about the hike.
There is a lake just east of May Lake, maybe 2.5-3 miles from the same trailhead, all on trail. Looks pretty nice from a trip report I saw a while ago. Never made it there, but it is a little longer and maybe less people.
Raisin Lake. I've stayed there 3x, on the ten lakes loop, I volunteered with Big City Mountaineers and we did 3 trips on the Ten Lakes Loop, always stayed here our final night. Highly recommended.
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sambieni
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Re: 1 Night Beginner Backpack?

Post by sambieni » Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:53 am

Is the circled lake Raisin Lake?
raisin lake.JPG
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Re: 1 Night Beginner Backpack?

Post by grampy » Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:09 pm

Yes

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Re: 1 Night Beginner Backpack?

Post by sambieni » Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:15 pm

I think this sounds perfect if i can get the permit. 2.5 miles in/out. She'll love it.

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Re: 1 Night Beginner Backpack?

Post by wildhiker » Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:56 pm

Just a couple of notes...

The Twenty Lakes Basin behind Saddlebag Lake is really an easy place to backpack with spectacular alpine scenery, but it is all above 10,000 feet elevation, which sounds like it might be a concern for you.

We just did the backpack hike up Green Creek in the Hoover Wilderness in late July. The trailhead is at 8,000 feet elevation and big Green Lake at 9,000 feet is about 3 miles in. There were even some places to camp at about the 2 mile mark on granite benches just after passing through an aspen grove with multiple small streams. There are lots of colorful red metamorphic rock peaks here as well as granite ones. Also, we stayed the night after our trip at the Green Creek campground just beyond the trailhead. Actually a very nice spot. I was surprised to see half the sites (5 out of 10) still open on Saturday at 5 pm, but they did eventually fill. Lots of people were also "dispersed camping" along the creek lower down. You have to get your water from Green Creek and I would filter it because there is an active beaver dam just upstream (beaver are believed to carry giardia).

The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest has put half of their trailhead quota up for advance reservation on recreation.gov, but the other half is still available the old-fashioned way: you go to the "walk-up" window at the ranger station in Bridgeport. I think you could get it the day before your backpack and then go up and car camp the first night. Green Creek has a 40 person per day quota, half of which is reservable, and the other half is walk-up.

-Phil

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Re: 1 Night Beginner Backpack?

Post by sambieni » Mon Aug 24, 2020 12:27 pm

Just scored a permit for 2 to May Lake! My daughter is so excited. She's most excited for a night at her "private" Raisin Lake.

Now just really wishing for the wildfires to tamper down so it remains healthy to hike.

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