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Ultimate Father & Son Trip Suggestions
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Mathias Gillum
(MattyG) - F

Locale: Midwest
Ultimate Father & Son Trip Suggestions on 07/29/2010 11:00:47 MDT Print View

We are looking for suggestions for the ultimate father & son backpacking trip.

We just finished Philmont. My son will finish his Eagle Scout and I'll be 50 by next summer.

We are looking for a week-long trip for summer (June-August)of 2011. Three season. Anywhere is US, Canada or Alaska. We are thinking Grand Canyon but open to anything/anywhere. We live in the mid-west.

We also like to fish, canoe/raft, shoot and climb.

We pack light and are working towards ultralight.

Suggestions appreciated.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Ultimate Father & Son Trip Suggestions on 07/29/2010 11:06:56 MDT Print View

The Grand Canyon is mighty hot, actually dangerously hot, during the period you mention (although many go there anyway).

How about my favorite, the Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier. 93 mile loop, about 20,000 feet of elevation gain/loss, with convenient USPS-accessible cache points along the trail. Among the most spectacular trails in the US.

I'd take a minimum of 10 days, although many do it in less, and I did it with my family in a very leisurely and enjoyable 13 nights in 2006. The closer to UL, the better, of course.

Note: permits required, contact Mount Rainier National
Park.

Another note: the picture at left of my wife and me was taken along the White River in the park.

Edited by ewolin on 07/29/2010 11:08:43 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: father-son trip on 07/29/2010 11:21:15 MDT Print View

I agree, Grand Canyon is waay too hot during the summer. Head for the hills!

#1: Glacier National Park grand loop
-Highline Trail, Stoney Indian pass, Ptarmigan Tunnel, Piegan Pass, Gunsight Pass, Sperry
90 miles, advance permits required. Mountain scenery, lakes, fishing, waterfalls, opportunity for scrambling and peak bagging. Ideal time is mid-July for max wildflowers and waterfalls.

#2: southern JMT
-South Lake to Whitney Portal
100ish miles, the best alpine scenery in the lower 48, high lake fishing, great weather. Ideal time is more late July to early August when the snow and bugs are mostly gone.

#3: south Yellowstone grand tour
-Thorofare, Trail Creek, Heart Lake, Lewis Lake, south Shoshone Lake, Lone Star Geyser, Old Faithful
70ish (?) miles, geysers and thermal wonders, wildlife, the largest alpine lake in the US, huge scenery, legendary trout fishing. Early to mid August once the rivers have fallen and the bugs are a little more mellow.

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: re: father-son trip on 07/29/2010 11:39:10 MDT Print View

David wrote: "southern JMT -South Lake to Whitney Portal
100ish miles, the best alpine scenery in the lower 48, high lake fishing, great weather. Ideal time is more late July to early August when the snow and bugs are mostly gone."

I feel a devilish urge to be contrary :-)

If they've never seen Yosemite Valley, it's definitely worth seeing. This is an argument in favor of the northern half of the JMT rather than the southern half.

IMO the southern half isn't more scenic than the northern half. It's just different. It's higher, and the geology is different.

There is no opportunity to resupply on the southern half. On the northern half, you can have a very low pack weight, because there are so many places to resupply.

In a typical snow year, early July would be fine. The disadvantage of doing it later is that that's when everyone does it, so you don't get solitude.

The OP specified a one-week hike. Most people take closer to 3 weeks for the JMT rather than 2, so doing half the JMT may not fit within their one-week time frame.

As a counterproposal, assuming they haven't seen YV, I would suggest the northern portion of the JMT from YV to Vermillion Valley Ranch, in early July. (If they've already seen YV, another possibility is Tuolumne to Muir Trail Ranch; a wilderness permit might be easier to obtain for this section.)

Edited by bcrowell on 07/29/2010 11:54:25 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: father-son trip on 07/29/2010 12:41:23 MDT Print View

Ben, no need to preface being contrary! Arguing over destinations is the highest form of backpacking discussion.

No arguments over seeing Yosemite. One cannot go wrong with the high Sierra. I do prefer the southern part to the north, but there are many compelling arguments to be made on both sides.

I also realize that some folks find 100 mile weeks beyond their desirable range. All of the suggestions I made can be shortened easily.

Mathias Gillum
(MattyG) - F

Locale: Midwest
Info on YV / North JMT on 07/30/2010 13:01:19 MDT Print View

Thanks for the feedback.

Looks like YV/North JMT is a candidate.

What about going from Vermillion to YV?

I'll search here and elsewhere but any suggestion on resorce information on a week-long trek in this part of the JMT?

Edited by MattyG on 07/30/2010 13:29:25 MDT.

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: Info on YV / North JMT on 07/30/2010 13:52:59 MDT Print View

Mathias wrote: "What about going from Vermillion to YV?"
Possible pros of going YV to VVR:
-slightly more gradual altitude acclimatization
Possible pros of VVR to YV:
-probably easier to get a wilderness permit
-probably more convenient transportation options when you exit
-If you're going to spend a night camping before you hit the trail, I'd consider the mellow atmosphere of VVR far more congenial than the backpacker's campground at YV.

"I'll search here and elsewhere but any suggestion on resorce information on a week-long trek in this part of the JMT?"
The JMT guidebook by Wenk is great. She gives info on transportation to and from, and on resupply. Tom Harrison has a very good series of 13 maps for the JMT. Most of this coincides with the PCT, and there are lots of good online sources of info on the PCT.

The big issue with wilderness permits is going to be that there are way too many people wanting to camp at Little Yosemite Valley. If you go YV->VVR, make sure to tell them you are *not* camping at LYV the first night. (And seriously, *don't* camp there. It's not a wilderness experience, it's a mob scene.) If you go VVR->YV, this may be less of an issue, because your wilderness permit will be issued by some other agency, not Yosemite NP.

If you do YV->VVR, earn yourself some points in heaven and don't drive a rental car into the valley. You can take the YARTS bus from nearby towns like Merced and Mariposa.

Edited by bcrowell on 07/30/2010 13:59:26 MDT.

Kris Sherwood
(Tuskadero) - F

Locale: Washington State
Re: Ultimate Father & Son Trip Suggestions on 07/30/2010 15:16:18 MDT Print View

Sounds like the making of an epic adventure. I cant wait until my 3 year old daughter is ready for week long treks.

Being a Washington guy, I suggest looking in to the Pasayten Wilderness in north central Washington.

It is high, endless terrain. You have hundreds of miles of options for roaming, many lakes, rivers, and peaks to bag. The weather is generally dry and warm. And the best part is it is lonely country. You will see very few people in your weeks there.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
BWCAW on 09/07/2010 23:09:15 MDT Print View

My dad first took me to the Boundary Waters when I was in seventh grade and we made it a yearly trip all the way through high school. Our last trip was when I was a sophomore in college and he had just turned 50. If you're strong paddlers and travel light you can really cover a lot of ground. You'll have to carry the canoe around which is not really 'light' but I'm sure it'll be worth it. There are hiking trails throughout the BWCA as well if you can't stand the thought of carrying a canoe.