This was my daughters first trip. Emily did awesome, I found her a used REI UL 45 pack. She carried her sleeping bag, pad, and clothes, plus snacks. I carried our tent, cookware, meals, first aid, etc. I've been waiting 13 years to take her up in the mountains. Even as a child I always, and quickly, showed signs of altitude sickness, I'm glad it skipped a generation because she had no issues whatsoever.
To be safe we stayed 2 nights in Estes Park, about 7000 feet, to acclimatize. I also take Diamox, lessons learned the hard way.
I think our weather was much nicer, mid to low 70's during the day and low 40's at night. Pretty cloudy and stormy looking each afternoon, but the last day it poured on us from about 2 in the afternoon until early in the AM.
We didn't make it to Gourd Lake.
Started at Mitchell Lake trailhead, up and over Buchanan Pass to spend the first night in Coney Flats. Not the prettiest campsite but we were trying to find some where relatively low at about 9700 feet.
Next day we moved to Fox Meadows. Lovely wide open area, with flowing streams everywhere.
The 3rd night we stayed pass the Cascade Trail Junction up above the main falls. We found a nice spot about 50 yards off the trail. There are hidden campsites all along the way.
4th night was at Crater Lake. We slept on one of the lake south edge designated sites. The east side of the lake sites had lovely views but terrible water access.
5th day was up and over Buachana Pass and out to Long Lake Trailhead with about a 10 minue walk to the car.