May 23, 2007 at 10:33 am #1223355
@tarbubbleLocale: dirtville, CA
well, it seems like we backpack in to Hoegee's at least once a year
now. it's really a perfect place to take kids backpacking. it's a
loop in the Angeles National Forest, just over 2 miles in and about 2.5 miles out. not too much
elevation gain, there's water along the lower portion of the trail and
at the campground, there are pit toilets and picnic tables, and the
whole place is beautifully shaded.
Paul, who is 5 now, walked the whole way. Since we hiked in on a
Friday night we got to the trailhead later than we would have liked
(darned LA traffic) and ended up hiking the last half hour or so in
the dark. Paul loved hiking with his headlamp on, while
semi-paranoiac me kept sweeping behind us with my headlamp on its
brightest setting, just waiting for cougar eyes watching us. never
saw any. phew! I took the rear position and would occasionally say
"go Paul, go on." Eli, who is almost two and rode on my back, would
mimic me, "Go go Paul!"
Paul did very well on the creek crossings and refused help on all but
the last (at almost 9:00 he was tired). He loved using his new Leki
Jr. hiking poles (his birthday present) and carried his sleeping pad,
fleece pants & top, warm hat, paperback book, 20 oz. of water and a
few snacks in his Camelbak Scout pack. Because of the poison oak that
liberally blankets portions of the ravine, we had Paul hike in jeans.
i need to sew him a pair of Supplex hiking pants. he's too skinny
for any commercial hiking pants, and they are overbuilt for a boy his
size anyway (too many pockets & features to fit on a waist that small).
we made it to Hoegee's just after 9:00 and for a Friday night the
place was full of people! there was a group with a fire going in the
old stone cabin (just waist-high stone walls and a stone chimney – the
wooden part of the cabin is long gone), and in the dark it seemed most
of the spots were taken. Hoegee's on a Saturday is a madhouse of
scout groups, so i guess we weren't the only ones who thought Friday
night was a good idea.
Dan pitched the sad, sad tipi tent i sewed four years ago, while the
boys and i sat on a sadly abused picnic table and had our bedtime
snacks. we've pretty much stopped cooking on overnighters. i had
promised Paul a special surprise when we got to camp and had hidden a
glowing plastic skull with LED eyes in his backpack. it was a huge
Paul was exhausted and wanted in the tent as soon as it was up. he
fell asleep quickly, but not before quite pathetically asking us all
to be quiet and turn off the lights. Eli was of course not tired at
all. he was indignant when we turned off the lights and let us know
by rolling over us several times. he is a very active sleeper and
migrated throughout the tent most of the night. Paul migrated as well
and several times during the night I moved him back onto his sleeping
in the morning we ate pop tarts (which we only get to eat on
backpacking trips) and the boys got to throw rocks into the creek that
flowed by the campground. Eli said "oooh rock!" pretty much every
time anybody threw one in.
Hoegee's is in the middle of an extremely popular loop trail, so all
morning we had day hikers and mountain bikers coming through. we took
our time getting packed up (well, Dan did most of the packing) but
were still on the trail out by a respectable time. going out, we
crossed the creek 2 more times and then began to climb above the camp
and walk on a fairly narrow trail pretty much cut into the
mountainside – steep wall on the right, steep drop on the left. we
had promised Paul that he could climb rocks and such on the hike out,
since we had been so pushy the night before (trying to get to camp
before dark). So every gully that the trail wound into, we would
usually let Paul goof around on the rocks for a few minutes. Eli
would comment from the carrier, "Paul rock!" or "Paul backpack!"
Eli would NOT keep his sun hat on, but i had attached it to the
carrier so that we wouldn't have to pick it up off the ground over and
over again. we also pinned his pacifier (binky) to the carrier. Eli
passed the time by singing songs to his binky, pulling on my hat, and
rubbing his slobbery hands along my upper arms.
Paul was his usual slow self, the only time i got any speed out of him
was when Dan had to go back to look for his watch and i told Paul we
should find a place to hide & scare Daddy. he was a little speed
demon then! Jumping out and saying "boo" to Daddy is a favorite
pastime of the boys right now.
we got back to the parking lot, which on Saturdays (and i assume
Sundays as well) is just jammed with people and cars. the parking lot
is small and many people park along the road that leads up to the lot
as well. WE had tacos at the pack station (there are 82 private
cabins and a private camp in the Big Santa Anita canyon area, and the
pack station services them) and headed home. it was a fun trip, but i
do kind of want to find another good spot to take the kids. Most
places in the San Gabriel mountains just have too much elevation gain
for Paul.May 23, 2007 at 5:16 pm #1390077
Doug JohnsonBPL Member
@djohnsonLocale: Washington State
Thanks Colleen! I always enjoy hearing about your family's adventures and experiences and learning tips along the way!
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