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Trip Suggestions for Father and 8 y/o Son
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Brian Camprini
(bcamprini) - MLife

Locale: Southern Appalachians
Trip Suggestions for Father and 8 y/o Son on 02/26/2010 07:12:28 MST Print View

I need some help planning a backpacking trip this summer with my 8 year old son. Some preferences, in no order and off the top of my head:
1. Approx 1 week (flexible on this) while school is out for the summer
2. Relatively easy to access (flying from Atlanta, GA).
3. Preferably in the Western US or Canada
4. Dramatic scenery, but not overly crowded
Thanks for your suggestions!

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Trip Suggestions for Father and 8 y/o Son on 02/26/2010 09:41:55 MST Print View

How strenuous a trip (miles, elevation change, etc)? Have you already done shorter trips near home? Are you willing to do mild off-trail hiking? Finally, what's "not overly crowded". Is this you might see someone every few days. You might cross paths with people one or twice in the day but will have an attractive campsite all to yourselves, you will see a hiker or small group every hour or two, and your campsite will have people within say 200ft of you.

My generic recommendation is the sierras because you have some of the most mild alpine weather combined with magnificent scenery (big rocks, big views, and big trees).

You would have three transportation options to the sierras:
Fly to LAX or Bay area and then have a multi-hour drive. Fly into Tahoe and have a 1+ hour drive. Fly connecting through LAX to MMH via Alaska/Horizon air. From there, taxi/bus could get to you a decent trailhead.

--Mark

Edited by verber on 02/26/2010 09:42:41 MST.

Brian Camprini
(bcamprini) - MLife

Locale: Southern Appalachians
Re: Re: Trip Suggestions for Father and 8 y/o Son on 02/26/2010 10:09:16 MST Print View

Thanks Mark. I guess some more info is in order...I'm still trying to figure out his limits, but he keeps surprising me. He's a pretty tough littly guy and he handles lots of weekend hikes in and around the southern AT (usually 6-12 mpd--I feel he could do more, but I don't push). He did a very steep day hike a few weeks ago up 2000+ feet and back down with temps in the low teens (F) and high winds with no complaints.

I agree on the Sierras being a great choice--I appreciate your suggestions for logistics. I don't mind (heck, even welcome) some other hikers, but I just don't want to share campsites every night with Yosemite Valley type crowds. Advice on when and where to avoid mosquitos would help too.

Any other areas that might be easy to get to? Seattle area? Is there decent access to the San Juans, Wind River Range, Yellowstone, Glacier, etc.? Prefer mountains for this trip than, say, Grand Canyon.

Again, thank you!

Aaron Armstrong
(traderaaron) - F

Locale: Colorado
Airport to Trailhead on 02/26/2010 14:47:03 MST Print View

In Colorado probably the top Airport to Trailhead trip is the Four Pass Loop in Aspen. There are shuttles from Denver International to Aspen and in Aspen there is a shuttle right to the trailhead and you can rent a locker I believe at the rec. center for storing extra stuff and shower up after your trip.

The San Juans have generally good access for air travelers with Airports in Durango and Montrose. Direct flights service Montrose from Houston and Dallas. From Durango you have the D&S Narrow Gauge Railway to access wilderness trailheads at Needleton and Elk Park. Montrose accesses the northern San Juans. (trips from the railway stops are pretty strenuous)

There is also a bus service that runs from Denver's Union Station to Buena Vista, Salida and then Gunnison but I am not sure that is still operating on all stops/routes. Buena Vista has good access and trips on the Colorado Trail to 14ers or to the Continental Divide Trail.

With shuttles from Denver to Summit County/Copper Mountain/Vail you could make a trip from Silverthorne or Copper Mountain/Wheeler Flats up to the Gore Range on the Wheeler trail over the pass follow Gore Creek (side trips or side loop up to Gore lake and Deluge lake) back down to Vail and take a shuttle back to Denver (or in reverse).

Just some ideas...

not myrealname
(icthy) - F

Locale: CO Front Range
Trip Suggestions for Father and 8 y/o Son on 02/26/2010 14:51:23 MST Print View

Brian,

Your kid is way more burly than my 7 year old. Any hints on how you got there? I took my son and daughter on a winter hike last month and they complained no end. I'm guessing the key is to hike regularly, but any insight would be appreciated!

Brian Camprini
(bcamprini) - MLife

Locale: Southern Appalachians
Re: Airport to Trailhead on 02/26/2010 15:05:28 MST Print View

Excellent info--thank you. I didn't realize that shuttles could get me directly to the trailheads--I hadn't really thought about it. I assumed car rental was necessary, but that would be nice if I didn't have to deal with it. I'll do some research on these areas and might hit you up for more details later.

When you say "top airport to trailhead trip" in regards to the Four Pass Loop,do you mean easiest logistics, best scenery, etc? What makes it tops in your opinion? Showers definitely are a luxury ;)

Brian Camprini
(bcamprini) - MLife

Locale: Southern Appalachians
Re: Trip Suggestions for Father and 8 y/o Son on 02/26/2010 15:22:48 MST Print View

My first overnighter with him was a flat, riverside, 4 mile hike to a waterfall in perfectly nice weather. He was six. He started with the "are we almost there's" after about 1 mile. I just kept taking breaks and telling him he was doing great (feeding him M&Ms helped), but what really got him going was when I let him lead. He really got into that and I eventually had to rein him in since he was enjoying making me run to catch up. Every kid's different though. He has his times when a short day hike is a challenge. I'm no expert, but just being flexible and letting him do what he wants to some degree really makes things easier. Much online stuff I found recommends getting the kids involved in the planning, but I find that doesn't work for me. At least with the route planning. Gear, food, etc, it's ok to involve him. But if I leave the destination up to him, I just end up having to tell him why we can't go here or there and the final destination ends up being a compromise in his eyes. Now he asks me, "What mountain are we going to climb next?". That makes the less than perfect trips worth it. Just getting out and having fun out there is what it's about though. I think George Carlin summed it up about just letting a kid play with a %&#@ing stick every now and then (if you've ever heard that one--warning it's offensive to most folks)!

Looking forward to going this summer with some of his friends and their parents. So now I get to be the guy I used to hate with the noisy rugrats!

not myrealname
(icthy) - F

Locale: CO Front Range
kids on 02/26/2010 15:49:29 MST Print View

Thanks, Brian. Once we get some temps up in the 50s and the snow melts I'm going to try and take the kids hiking more regularly. It's been remarkably snowy and cold up here in CO this year.

Brian Camprini
(bcamprini) - MLife

Locale: Southern Appalachians
Re: kids on 02/26/2010 16:09:13 MST Print View

I'm jealous that you are in CO even if the weather is a little more tame here this time of year.

This idea just occurred to me: REI has some cool kites--real high tech ones that would be great in wide open spaces. Our mountains here have too many trees, but out there it might be a good motivator for them to get to a destination so that they can break out the kites:

http://www.rei.com/search?query=kite&button.x=0&button.y=0

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Yosemite/Kings Canyon on 02/26/2010 16:38:15 MST Print View

I suggest that you hike off of Tioga Road in Yosemite. A couple of options: Vogalsang area from tuolumne meadows, ten lakes or The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. You can make some great trips and vary the length according to ability or desire>

You can also fly into Sacramento for a very straight-forward drive into the area.

Another option is Kings Canyon. Some great hikes and Fresno airport is only 100 miles away from Roads End or you can go in via two different lakes from the west, edison and ?.

Edited by gg-man on 02/26/2010 16:44:25 MST.

Brian Camprini
(bcamprini) - MLife

Locale: Southern Appalachians
Re: Yosemite/Kings Canyon on 02/26/2010 17:41:39 MST Print View

Greg--those would be great areas and pretty easy to get to as well. When do you think would be the best time to go?

I assume I'd rent a car and drive--any shuttles or other public transport to either of these areas from the airports?

Thanks!

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Re: Trip Suggestions for Father and 8 y/o Son on 02/26/2010 17:42:56 MST Print View

If you want to avoid I car (I would) and want to hit the sierras, taking a flight that connects from LAX to MMH would be the ticket. There might be a shuttle, if not use a taxi to go the ~7 miles to Mammoth. From Mammoth is a shuttle that would take you to a number of trialheads near Devil's Post Pile. Plenty of places to explore that way. You could take also take the bus into Yosemite. If you aren't in the valley, go more than 2-3 miles are the crowds disappear except in the designated high sierra camps.

> Advice on when and where to avoid mosquitos would help too.

Varies year to year depending on snow pack levels and a variety of other factors. My general rule of thumb is take they are gone from all but the worse sites by mid August. October (not really an option for you) is my favorite time because the rains typically haven't started, but mosiquitos are normally gone, as are the crowds.

--Mark


--Mark

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
mosquitos on 02/26/2010 17:50:05 MST Print View

In the Yosemite region, mosquitos tend to be fairly temperature-dependent. You might see them buzzing in thick clouds in one warm sunny spot, and then 10 yards away they will be missing from a cool shady spot.

I camped near a lake of the Cathedral Range, and I could see maybe three or four camps of people around the lake. I could see them constantly swatting at mosquitos, and they were all covered with netting and stuff. I was camped about 150 feet vertically from the lake, and about 300 feet away, and my camp was devoid of bugs due to a slightly cool breeze.
--B.G.--

Brian Camprini
(bcamprini) - MLife

Locale: Southern Appalachians
Re: Re: Re: Re: Trip Suggestions for Father and 8 y/o Son on 02/26/2010 17:57:06 MST Print View

Great info. I suppose I need to find out what my trail options are in that area, get maps, permit info, bear canister info, etc. Can you suggest a good book, website or other source of info on how to put this together if I choose that area? I'm not the type who enjoys endless hours of planning; more the grab my pack and go type, but with my son I need to have things fairly well thought out before we get on the plane. If it's easy to just arrive and figure it out from there, we could do that, but mama might not be happy =) Trying to get her to join us, but it'll probably be a guys trip.

Brian Camprini
(bcamprini) - MLife

Locale: Southern Appalachians
Re: mosquitos on 02/26/2010 18:05:04 MST Print View

Good to know because I hate skeeters!

Site selection makes such a difference, huh?...and not just for bugs. Where I hike in the humid Southeast, just moving a few vertical feet away from a water source can be the difference between waking up soaked or completely dry.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Trip Suggestions for Father and 8 y/o Son on 02/26/2010 18:09:33 MST Print View

Just a warning that some children may be more susceptible to altitude sickness than adults, or so I've read and experienced. Try to find a place where you start low and have a net gain of approximately 1,000 feet between camping sites each day, or where you can drop to lower elevations for sleeping.

Brian Camprini
(bcamprini) - MLife

Locale: Southern Appalachians
Seattle? Vancouver? on 02/26/2010 18:19:02 MST Print View

Anyone have any suggestions for me in the Pacific Northwest? Seems like that area would have tons of options with easy access. I've been all over the world, but that's one area I've never had much of a chance to explore other than a ski trip to Whistler many years ago.

Brian Camprini
(bcamprini) - MLife

Locale: Southern Appalachians
Re: Trip Suggestions for Father and 8 y/o Son on 02/26/2010 18:22:41 MST Print View

Good advice. I've had some mild, but not very fun, experience with altitude sickness myself. I'm wondering if the Cascades might be a little easier in that regard over, say, the Sierra???

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Trip Suggestions for Father and 8 y/o Son on 02/26/2010 20:36:51 MST Print View

It would be pretty hard to do any of the good backpacks in the Cascades or Olympics without a car; many involve a long drive from the nearest city to the trailhead. Even the PCT between Stevens and Snoqualmie Passes no longer has public transit at the Snoqualmie end. I could recite fantastic backpack locations almost without end, but I can't think of one you could do without a car.

If you do the gradual acclimatization bit I suggested, a Sierra or Rockies trip should be OK. Just plan to take it slower the first few days. It may be that the 8-year-old will run your legs off--you never know!

Glacier NP is a possibility since you can take the Amtrak train to East Glacier and then catch park shuttles to most places in the park.

Brian Camprini
(bcamprini) - MLife

Locale: Southern Appalachians
Re: Trip Suggestions for Father and 8 y/o Son on 02/26/2010 21:59:15 MST Print View

I could rent a car, but it's just a hassle, expense, and liability. Plus it would possibly necessitate a out and back or loop trail, rather than an end to end type thing. That's a shame there's no public transit to trailheads in the Cascades or Olympics. Not a deal killer though.

My son would probably love the whole train adventure--as long as Amtrak got us there in one piece! Glacier is certainly on my "must see" list too. I'm going to look into this. Thanks for the suggestion.