Kearsarge Pass to Little Pothole Lake with kids?

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bobby49
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Re: Kearsarge Pass to Little Pothole Lake with kids?

Post by bobby49 » Fri May 11, 2018 8:47 pm

sambieni wrote:
bobby49 wrote: Some kids need to carry their stuffed animal.
you say that as if that comes with some kind of age limit! [-X :p
Even at my advanced age, I like to go with a stuffed animal. Her name is Mary, and she is 45 years old.








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oakboy711
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Re: Kearsarge Pass to Little Pothole Lake with kids?

Post by oakboy711 » Sat May 12, 2018 11:21 am

Harlen wrote:bobby49 wrote:
Make sure that every little kid has a pack to wear. Now, it should not be heavy at all, because you do not want to exhaust them.
I don't know about that- our practice has long been to over-pack the kids at a very young age. This will increase their portering capabilities, and it immediately serves our desire to carry less ourselves. Here's our young porter- and son- carrying about 90% of his weight. :nod:
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Pietro257
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Re: Kearsarge Pass to Little Pothole Lake with kids?

Post by Pietro257 » Sat May 12, 2018 2:54 pm

Just my two cents, but I would not do this. That is a grueling hike. If the 6 and 8 year old have a very bad time, which can happen, you may turn them off backpacking forever. It's better to introduce kids to the joys of backpacking an inch at a time. Six and 8 is awfully young.

If you do go, leave very, very early -- the crack of dawn. There are very few shade trees on that hike, you're exposed to the east, and you will be excoriated by a rising sun.

Again, just my two cents, and good on you for introducing kids to backpacking.

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Re: Kearsarge Pass to Little Pothole Lake with kids?

Post by zacjust32 » Sat May 12, 2018 5:30 pm

@Pietro Grueling hike? It's 1 1/2 miles to the first lake.
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davepctjmt
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Re: Kearsarge Pass to Little Pothole Lake with kids?

Post by davepctjmt » Tue May 15, 2018 12:09 am

Slightly late contribution to this, but I did this with my kids in 2016; they were 6 & 9 at the time so very similar age to the kids in question. We carried on to Flower Lake for the first night, as part of a longer hike from OV to Mt Whitney.

Looking back at my GPS log, it took 1h12m for us all to get to Little Pothole Lake (1.4mi, +700ft), 30mins more to Gilbert (total 2.1mi, 1300ft) and 15 mins more to Flower lake (2.5mi, 1400ft) - Gilbert was probably the nicest lake from a scenery and swimming perspective. We started at 11am on a hot day and were unacclimatised (we'd spent one night at the portal campground after arriving from sea level).

Conditions aside (snow etc.) I wouldn't hesitate to give it a go. As many others have suggested, lots of mental distraction, word games etc. work very well at these ages. The initial climb is nice because it's got good open views back to the car park so provides a relatively rapid sense of accomplishment as you look back to toy-sized cars. The kids were fine with it all, and even with over 20 person-days of food on my back I didn't find it too grueling!

(edited to add distance/elevation to each lake)

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Re: Kearsarge Pass to Little Pothole Lake with kids?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue May 15, 2018 4:25 pm

Harlen- I bet you loaded that kid to slow him down because he was going faster than you! They do have an amazing amount of energy.

6yrs and 8 yrs old are two quite different ages. Weight down the 8 year old so the 6 yr old does not overdo trying to keep up. Brothers are very competitive and you do not want the younger one to run out of energy half way there. Be sure the 8 year old does not tease the 6 year old for anything the younger one cannot do as well (or visa versa if the young one takes to backpacking easier). Try to minimize the brotherly competitive aspect.

It is not so much that younger kids cannot carry the weight, but their backs/bones are growing and heavy packs can damage them (think daily school bags, not one backpack trip). Kids are all different - one can see a heavy pack as a challenge, another as a chore and get discouraged from ever backpacking again. Be very attuned to their enjoyment and abilities. I usually gave my kids (at 5-7 years old) bulky but light items, such as cook pots and sleeping pads. That made their packs look impressive without the added weight.

Be sure to have a safety talk with them before you start. Exactly what they should do if they get lost. Importance of staying together. Water safety. Do not tell them what to do all the time, but set the safety rules and if they ignore them, turn around and come out. Safety is non-negotiable. At that age, I never let my kids run out ahead so that I could not see them. Kids this young need clear boundaries; they rarely see even the most obvious dangers at that age. Think about the small stuff too- I made my kids wear sunglasses all the time so they did not get poked in the eye whey they played with sticks. Do not forget the sunscreen.

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Re: Kearsarge Pass to Little Pothole Lake with kids?

Post by Pietro257 » Thu May 17, 2018 9:46 pm

zacjust32 wrote:@Pietro Grueling hike? It's 1 1/2 miles to the first lake.
My bad. I thought he wanted to go over the pass.

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Re: Kearsarge Pass to Little Pothole Lake with kids?

Post by Harlen » Fri May 18, 2018 10:22 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Harlen- I bet you loaded that kid to slow him down because he was going faster than you! They do have an amazing amount of energy.
You bet I loaded him! :)
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Re: Kearsarge Pass to Little Pothole Lake with kids?

Post by phonewentwest » Tue May 29, 2018 9:25 am

Just wanted to update those who helped on how the trip went.

We arrived as early as possible on Friday (5/25) afternoon and found the best site we could in Alabama Hills. After setting up camp we caught the end of an amazing sunset through the wind and clouds. The moon was nearly full. It was a windy night, which kept my 1-year old daughter awake too often, but fortunately my wife is a trooper and she helped manage the necessary extra effort made from camping with an infant. My friends' 6-year old daughter in the tent next to us apparently loved the windy excitement.

Saturday (5/26) morning we explored the hills before and after breakfast and then went on up to Whitney Portal. We checked out the water fall and hiked about a mile up the trail before returning for lunch and some fishing in the pond there by the store. It was a great warm-up hike and a fun introduction to fishing for the 6-year old, made even better with no mosquitoes (at least while we were there). Back at camp in AH we ate an early dinner. The winds died considerably just before sunset and a few super small bugs started flying around. For better or worse, the wind soon picked up again and they were gone. No bites for any of us the whole trip.

Sunday (5/27) we packed up camp and drove up to Onion Valley where we hiked to Lower Pothole Lake. I had hoped we would have energy for the 30 minutes more to Gilbert Lake, but we felt a few drops from above we thought it best to keep this positive so we turned 'round to head home.

For a while a thought there was no way the 6-year old would make it to LPL, but somehow my friends sweet-talked her through some rough times. It was hilarious to hear her voice mood swings! "I LOVE camping!" "I HATE camping! She went back and forth throughout the weekend but I am confident we ended on the positive and expect we will all return for more exploring soon.

Can't thank the members of this community enough for your words of wisdom.
Until next time...

(Attached photo is of me and my 1-year old daughter on the switchbacks below LPL.)
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."
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