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TR: Great first time destination for kids (off I-80)

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TR: Great first time destination for kids (off I-80)

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:50 pm

A good friend and long-time backpacking partner and I decided to take our kids out for their first backpacking trip back on August 11th. We imposed a few restrictions in order to make sure it went smoothly:

• Easy access from I-80
• No more than 2 miles of hiking to get to the destination
• A modest amount of elevation gain

We decided on Salmon Lake—a small lake near the Loch Leven Lakes just south of I-80. It is easily accessed from a trail head on a forest road above Lake Valley Reservoir. The hike in is only 1.25 miles with 300 feet of gain—easy work for my 6-year-old and my friend's 7- and 9-year-olds.

We hit the trail around noon with some smoke in the air. (Unknown to us, the American Fire had started the evening before.) We kept the pace slow and stopped for a few rests, but by 2pm we were at the lake and the kids were swimming, fishing, and exploring. The lake obviously gets a fair share of visitors judging by the obscene amount of fire rings. We only saw a couple day hikers over the course of our outing and I thought that perhaps the Loch Leven Lakes attract more over-nighters. We were glad to have the lake to ourselves when the peacefulness of the area was disturbed by the yelling of wild boys. That night the smoke cleared and those that stayed up late (or woke up early) were treated to the Perseid meteor shower. After a lazy morning and a few small hikes around the lake we headed down the trail, getting back to the car in about an hour.

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The trail starts at meadow that surely looks better earlier in the season.

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Salmon Lake.

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The lake is filled with catfish.
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Plenty of open granite from where one can get a view.
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And lots of granite to climb.
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Unknown to us, the American Fire had started the previous evening and so the smoke wafted over.

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Our view of the smoke plumes from the American Fire. This is about 24 hours after it started.
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All in all, a great place to introduce my son to backpacking.
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The smoke from the American Fire was a minor annoyance, but everything else was great. The kids loved the lake, there is plenty to explore, and the Loch Leven Lakes (which have trout) are just over a half mile away. I highly recommend this spot to introduce someone to backpacking, but still be close enough to the car and civilization should you need to bail.
Wonder is rock and water and the life that lives in-between.



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Carne_DelMuerto
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Re: TR: Great first time destination for kids (off I-80)

Postby Vaca Russ » Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:45 am

Carne,

I'm looking for the road and trailhead on Acme Mapper. I see a road on the topo but no trail.

The satellite view shows a road, parking (three vehicles), meadow and trailhead. Is this the trailhead? Is the trail pretty straight forward to follow or is there some cross country? It looks to be less than a mile and almost no elevation change. :) :)

If this is true this IS a great place to take the little ones! :D

Thanks,

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Re: TR: Great first time destination for kids (off I-80)

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:56 am

Yeah, the Acme mapper doesn't show it since I think it's based off older topos. What you see on the Google satellite imagery is the trail head. The trail is very straight forward—it wasn't the best maintained (some downed trees, etc.) but easy to follow. The trail marker for Salmon Lake cutoff is gone, but there is a sign there that I think reads either "Loch Leven Lakes" or something else with an arrow pointing along the main trail. Before you reach the cutoff trail, you'll top out on a granite ridge. You could actually just go south on that ridge and follow it down to the lake on the open granite—the lake is easy to spot once you get 20 feet off the main trail.

Here's the Tahoe NF page with info (scroll down for Salmon Lake TH):
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tahoe/map ... rdb5323092
Wonder is rock and water and the life that lives in-between.
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Re: TR: Great first time destination for kids (off I-80)

Postby neil d » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:22 pm

Nice work sir. This looks like the perfect place to get the next generation started!
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Re: TR: Great first time destination for kids (off I-80)

Postby Vaca Russ » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:36 pm

neil d wrote:Nice work sir. This looks like the perfect place to get the next generation started!


I concur. :) This does look like an excellent, kid friendly, spot. How big were those catfish? Did you catch any?

I would go up there this weekend and check it out for myself but I have reservations for Deso. :)

Thanks again!

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Re: TR: Great first time destination for kids (off I-80)

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:46 pm

Vaca Russ wrote:How big were those catfish? Did you catch any?



They maybe topped out at 8" and there were lots of them. They swam up to any action on the shore almost as if they expected to be fed. I didn't bring any gear, but my friend brought a small setup with 3 lures that were too big for their mouths. His son did manage to foul hook one, though.

Have a good time in Deso—hope the smoke is not an issue.
Wonder is rock and water and the life that lives in-between.
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