Jul 2, 2013 at 1:49 pm #1304884
Hey All…Bear with me.
It's been awhile since I've posted here…or done anything related to hiking/backpacking. I had a great JMT trip planned a few years ago that was canceled because of a badly broken ankle that didn't heal well. Not long after that I found out that my then 9 year old son had brain cancer. Fast forward almost 3 years and an unreal amount of treatment and time in hospitals and he's now 12 and doing very well. Long term prognosis is still spotty but right now he's as close to "normal" as he may ever be. About 2 years ago I signed a "contract" that he created promising to take him on what he calls the Master Hike (and being my son he is a gear freak…so the contract of course included me purchasing all needed gear) when he was strong enough. I've learned not make long term plans so I'm thinking it's now or possibly never for this hike. Here's my question….
We live near Sacramento and I need a fairly level but also remote/wild trail that will have us out for 2-3 nights.. He's very adventurous and would go completely off trail if he could. I know Tahoe is full of hikes and the TRT first came to mind, but I don't know the trail well enough to know if there is a 3 night hike that doesn't include a lot of elevation gain. He's a strong kid, but is looking more for an experience than a slog if you know what I mean. We're willing to travel a bit…yosemite maybe.
Thinking September when it cools a bit and the bugs calm down. Would love to avoid crowds and have a true wilderness experience. A lake or 2 would be great.
If anyone has any suggestions they'd be greatly appreciated. Also suggestions for lightweight, kid sized gear would be great.
BryanJul 2, 2013 at 1:56 pm #2001775
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
There are a lot of peaks surrounding the Tahoe Basin. Some are easy and some are tougher. Start with the area around the Desolation Wilderness since it has lots of lakes.
–B.G.–Jul 2, 2013 at 2:21 pm #2001780
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
An ocean hike might be good. Lost Coast Trail? I'm thinking low altitude and less uphill.Jul 2, 2013 at 2:49 pm #2001789
Ocean hike would actually be great. We just came back from Gold Beach Oregon and did a little hiking in the woods around there. How much of the lost coast trail is trail…and not sand?Jul 2, 2013 at 3:13 pm #2001795
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Never been there, but there is a ton of info here and the Web in general. Google will keep you busy for an evening or more.Jul 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm #2001800
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
The tough part for you, the planner, is to find a trip that is just within your son's capabilities without overstressing him too much, so it would be worth a discussion with his physician.
Closer to Carson Pass, there are some old mine entrances and things. Back when I was a kid that age, I would have loved to stumble upon some old gold mine. Even if it was too risky to enter it, finding it would thrill a lot of kids.
–B.G.–Jul 2, 2013 at 5:07 pm #2001841
One suggestion would be Emigrant Wilderness. Have a look at the
Crabtree Trailhead on the map
The following lakes are nicely lined up
– 2.5 miles to Camp Lake
– 2.5 miles to the next lake
– 3 miles to Piute Lake
– 1.5 miles to Gem Lake
– 1 mile to Jewelry Lake
– 1 mile to Deer Lake
and you have three opportunities to decide to go south to either Grouse Lake or Buck Meadow Creek or Wood Lake to make it a loop back to the Crabtree Trailhead. There is climb involved – around 600 feet to get to the first lake and another 600 feet to get to the next lake, etc. If your son gets too tired after the climb to Camp Lake, you can go the second day north to Bear Lake and then return on the third day. If your son is up to it, you can continue to the second lake for the second night and go on day three mostly downhill from there via Piute Creek to Grouse Lake for your third night. If your son thinks 2-3 miles per day is not enough, you can make the 4 day/3 night trip all the way to Deer Lake and back via Wood Lake and Grouse Lake for a total of 23 miles.
The gear my kids use is listed here under Hannah
The Osprey Exos 46 in small worked great for my 12 year old on the JMT. The REI Subkilo sleeping bag is sized for an adult, but worked also great. Fishing with a Tenkara pole was a highlight during many stops on the JMT.
ManfredJul 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm #2001856
@simauliusLocale: Bohemian Alps
I can't give you any route info, but pm me if you would, please.
Thank-you!Jul 3, 2013 at 10:56 am #2002086
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Gosh, this is a difficult subject. Of course, we don't know your son's personality and what he is seeking in the "master hike."
I can't give you specific trail suggestions.
I would pick the gear he wants to carry and try to minimize it, carry as much as I could. My goal would be to spend time with my son and to try and meet my son's desires and expectations. My ultimate goal would be to spend quality time with my son, while he experiences a great trip. I would carry a 100 lb pack if it meant my son viewed the trip as a success.
Hoping for the best for you and your son.Jul 3, 2013 at 12:35 pm #2002140
Great suggestions. I'm looking into the Lost Coast and the Tahoe routes. These are very helpful! If we can make it happen this summer, I'll be sure to post a trip report and pics.
Thanks for the gear help as well. I do plan on having him carry a minimal amount. A light pack with snacks and maybe his sleeping bag and a clothes just to fill it out a bit. 6-8 pounds max. I go pretty light already and came from a heavy load background so won't be a big deal to load myself up. It is indeed about the experience and I don't want to take away from it with a burdensome load.
Thanks again!Jul 8, 2013 at 10:12 am #2003722
This trip sounds perfect! Unless something changes…a loop starting at Crabtree will be the plan. Seems to satisfy all our needs…wilderness…lakes…the opportunity to do some exploring. Do you know what mosquito's are like in late Aug/early Sept? Seems like all that water might keep them around a little longer than usual.
Thanks for the excellent trip recommendation!
BryanJul 8, 2013 at 10:35 am #2003733
We just spent the weekend along that loop (and extended it to Buck Lake, Emigrant Lake, Blackbird Lake, Marshall Lake and Huckleberry Lake). We swam during the day in Camp Lake and Gem Lake and had no issues at all with mosquitoes. We then continued to Deer Lake for the night and were eaten alive by them – and they didn't stop all night. So it differs from lake to lake – depending on several factors (for example swampy areas around one lake vs. granite all around another lake). Usually mosquitoes are not a big problem by late August/early September and things should start to die down now that the snow has melted so early. But since this is your big master hike, you might want to take on the extra weight of an inner tent to guarantee a mosquito free night.
ManfredJul 8, 2013 at 1:48 pm #2003800
Couple more quick questions…
Are bear cans required or is hanging acceptable?
Do you know the status of cell phone coverage in that area?
Thanks again!Jul 8, 2013 at 2:22 pm #2003809
Hanging is allowed. This weekend at Deer Lake we found bear tracks the next morning in the sandy area close to our camp. The bear didn't even bother to play with our bear canister but kept going — I'm not sure whether it would have tried to explore a food hang.
My cellphone (T-Mobile) didn't work at the trailhead and I left it in the car. I can't say whether it would have worked anywhere along the trail, but my assumption is that there is no cell phone coverage. We always carry a Delorme inReach which allows for sending and receiving emails and SMS messages. It also sends a tracking point every 10 minutes which enables other people to follow our progress on the internet.
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