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Need kids first backpack trip ideas

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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Re: Need kids first backpack trip ideas

Postby trailbunny » Wed Apr 16, 2008 4:30 pm

Great ideas!

Gotta confess, my toddler is on the large side: a 17-yr old 5'10" princess who thinks perspiration is a indicative of a character flaw. So... why am I chiming in on this thread about littlies on the trail? Because when my dot was a bitty one, she hiked with abandon. Early experiences were good, but when I over-estimated her abilities and she became frustrated, everything changed. She still loves the wilderness and primitive camps, but she gets grumpy before she even leaves the TH. My word to the wise: Keep it even e a s i e r than you think it needs to be!

That said... The princess and I will be holding court at Gem Lake (Morgan Pass, out of Rock Creek) in the next week or two. Its about 4 miles and 1000' gain to 11K el. Easy, breezy and she won't even sweat. Its a gorgeous route and has some spectacular views, so a crowd pleaser for tots of all ages (and heights). When my g'babies (3 and 5-yrs old) hit the trails in another year or so, this will be the first bpack I'll take them on.

Happy trails!

TBunny



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Re: Need kids first backpack trip ideas

Postby tim » Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:47 pm

Any other suggestions for 3-4 day backpacking trips with kids in the Yosemite/Tahoe area (west side) in the summer? Preferably fairly high up but without too much ascent.
I was wondering how tough a 3 day/2 night trip via from Tuolumne-Cathedral Lakes-Sunrise-Tenaya would be for my 8 1/2 year old twins (in mid-late August). For comparison last year we went from Echo Lake-Lake Aloha (with water taxi), stayed there two nights (with a day trip to Heather Lake) and went back out the same way, without too many complaints (and of course they are a year older now).
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Re: Need kids first backpack trip ideas

Postby TehipiteTom » Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:08 pm

I took my son to Granite Lake in Mokelumne Wilderness (out of Blue Lakes trailhead) for our first backpacking trip. He enjoyed it so much, we did 3 more trips into that area. Grante Lake is 2 miles in, 500' gain, so it's very kid-friendly. Lots of nice country to explore in the vicinity. If you're up for easy cross-country, Evergreen Lake and Devil's Corral are both nice destinations.
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Re: Need kids first backpack trip ideas

Postby markskor » Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:39 pm

Been there myself. First hikes with my then 6-year-old son...Saddlebag , 20 lakes area, Next year, Matlock Lake fishing (Onion Valley TH...easy and fun), then a trip out of Echo Lakes...water taxi...short hike to Ralston...nice. Finally a 3 day trip down Yosemite Creek- one night in the middle, another at the falls, and down.
The next year did a loop: Cathedral Lakes via the fisherman's path, up from Tenaya (~1 1/2 miles), second night Upper Cathedral, then Sunrise Lakes camp, and down, back to Tenaya.

Remember to keep it short and sweet, and always camp next to water/lake, and they will do fine... figure in lots of rest stops.
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Need kids first backpack trip ideas

Postby balzaccom » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:18 pm

I agree. Make sure there is water to play in, fish in the water (or pollywogs or crawdads) and you'll be fine. If you are really brave, let them bring a friend!

Remember that the focus is not the hike, but the destination. Get there, let them play, and you'll have a great time.
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Re: Need kids first backpack trip ideas

Postby giantbrookie » Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:15 pm

Interesting that this thread has revived, but since it has and I noticed I posted before I took my kids on their first backpack, I figured I'd chime in. My two kids (3 and 6 then) had been on multiple primitive car camps in years past, but this was their first backpack last summer. I chose an off trail (surprise surprise) destination that required only about 1.4 mile of hiking (800' of gain). Beautiful place. We had it to ourselves. Lots of fish and of decent size. My son caught his first trout, a plump 10-inch brookie (overall fishing was rainbows and brookies to 13") and he was jazzed. This was a campfire legal area and we had a nice fire for fish bbq and such. The kids had a great time. We have this marvelous giant 4-person tent that weighs only 8lbs. Good thing we saved a bit of weight there. My wife carried the 3-year-old in a kiddie carrier and strapped some extra stuff on it--estimated weight 45 lbs and my wife weighs 88! My rig had to be seen to be believed (brought my long retired external frame pack out of retirement and strapped all sorts of stuff on it). Estimated weight: somewhere between 80 and 90 lbs (this I know because I've carried a scale-weighed 70lbs on a trip once and it wasn't even close to as heavy); I weigh 165. This coming year the littler one (whom I think may be a better hiker than the older one) will go in self propelled and our packweights will drop correspondingly. We will return to our special place (and I hope to spend more than one night there) but we have plans to do at least one and probably two more. One of the other trips will probably be Little Lakes Valley.
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
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Re: Need kids first backpack trip ideas

Postby paul » Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:11 pm

tim wrote:Any other suggestions for 3-4 day backpacking trips with kids in the Yosemite/Tahoe area (west side) in the summer? Preferably fairly high up but without too much ascent.
I was wondering how tough a 3 day/2 night trip via from Tuolumne-Cathedral Lakes-Sunrise-Tenaya would be for my 8 1/2 year old twins (in mid-late August). For comparison last year we went from Echo Lake-Lake Aloha (with water taxi), stayed there two nights (with a day trip to Heather Lake) and went back out the same way, without too many complaints (and of course they are a year older now).

Sounds like a winner for the kids. plenty of lakes (essential to have water features), easy terrain. Also plenty of people, it's a very popular area. If you get just a little off trail from that route, you can go to Matthes Lake, supposed to be gorgeous and you'll probably have it to yourselves.
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Re: Need kids first backpack trip ideas

Postby AldeFarte » Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:57 pm

This is a subject that is on my horizon. The oldest is already asking why I don't get her a motorhome. I know I will have to start out small with something that will keep the interest up. I will figure it out when the time comes, but it strikes me as weird that when I was a kid , The worst trip that could have happened would have been just fine with me and my brothers, as long as we were backpacking or camping. We had more of a hunger than I see nowdays. I only hope I can instill some of our love of the sierra's in my younguns. jls :)
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Re: Need kids first backpack trip ideas

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:17 pm

AldeFarte wrote:I will figure it out when the time comes, but it strikes me as weird that when I was a kid , The worst trip that could have happened would have been just fine with me and my brothers, as long as we were backpacking or camping. We had more of a hunger than I see nowdays.

I was pretty much like what you remember. My dad taking me to the High Sierra was the highlight of any given year and 35-40 years later those trips stand out as the highlights of my childhood. I didn't do my first true backpack until age 8, and I really didn't carry a pack. I tried, but eventually found that even a little bit of weight was too much (hiked fine with no weight). The destination on that first memorable trip was Pear Lake in Sequoia NP and it was a fall trip. It was very cold, with frost on the sleeping bag, but my dad, who was into a bit of overkill, had us in minus 20 bags, so I was quite cozy. We climbed Alta Peak on the next day. My brother actually did a few things a tad earlier than me, given that he was the younger one. The whole family (brother, mom, dad, plus an aunt and two cousins) did Iceberg Lake and the Mountaineers route on Whitney when my brother was 8 (I was 11); that may have been his first backpack trip. My bro never quite got into it to the degree I did, but he still enjoyed it and he still likes the outdoors.

The flip side is that I know of some people who were "dragged" on trips as young kids and found the experience miserable--an experience that has kept them out of the mountains since. I also know of spouses, girlfriends, or boyfriends that had this happen to them. It is for this reason that I advise caution to others and was reasonably conservative with my own kids, although doing an off trail backpack as a debut for my kids last year is hardly conventional.
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
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