Need suggestions; 5-7 day trip with ? fourteen-year-olds

9:09 a.m. on April 27, 2010 (EDT)
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I would like to plan a trip for my youngest son and several of his friends--at least five days in the backcountry, but maybe up to seven days.

And so I am looking for suggestions!

*It doesn't have to be a single, continuous trek; a week around Ouray, for example, might be pretty cool. Part of me wants for it to be one trip, however, if only to add to the coming-of-age element that is inherent to such challenges.

*Elevation is a consideration - all of us live at sea level and I don't want to find out the hard way that one of the kids can't handle it. (Well there goes that RMNP-Long's Peak suggestion!)

*Probably needs to be in North America, though I would consider something farther away. We will do several fundraisers for the trip; if the right idea were in Europe, then I suppose we could just do a few more fundraisers.

Anyway, that's the challenge; I hope y'all can help!

Thanks

10:50 a.m. on April 27, 2010 (EDT)
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Well for starters where are you located? Perhaps we could offer up something somewhat close to home. But otherwise here are a few ideas over on the east coast. The Vermont Long Trail, a section of the
AT, the adirondacks have several trails you can check them out at http://www.adk.org/Hikes Here is a link for alot of trails in Mass http://www.mass.gov/dcr/recreate/hiking.htm I could rattle off places until I turn blue in the face, but if you gave a little more information I could probally be of more help. Any preference to a geographical region? Prefer mountains, forest, desert etc?

11:20 a.m. on April 27, 2010 (EDT)
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I know of a scoutmaster in California who took his kids on a cattle drive in Oklahoma (also available around Big Bend NP in Texas, a guy with the Texas parks service told me the other day.)

8:53 p.m. on April 27, 2010 (EDT)
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Sierra Nevada, California. Start outside of Lone Pine. Fly into Los Angeles. 5 hour drive to trail head.

************* (shuttle/hitch)

Horseshoe Meadows Trail head 10,000'

1 Muir Lake in Cottonwood Lakes area (about 10,700') 6 mi in

http://www.topo.com/explore?lat=36.49766522073184&lng=-118.21514892578125&level=6&type=topo

2 Rock Creek crossing near bottom of creek near Ranger Station (could catch Mt Langley on the way over Old Army Pass out of Lake 5. Could stop at Soldier Lakes and take in the Miter.

http://www.topo.com/explore?lat=36.515522824164435&lng=-118.2939453125&level=4&type=topo

3 Crabtree Meadows on back side of Whitney or even Guitar Lake if enough energy

http://www.topo.com/explore?lat=36.57519813522643&lng=-118.30328369140625&level=6&type=topo

Day Hike Mt Whitney from 'back side'

4 Crabtree Meadows/Guitar Lake that night again

5 Tyndall Creek

http://www.topo.com/explore?lat=36.65079252503471&lng=-118.417236328125&level=4&type=topo

Rest day (or Mt Tyndall at 14,000+ is a short day).

6 Tyndall Creek

7 Over Forester Pass to Middle Vidette Meadows

http://www.topo.com/explore?lat=36.76534081200388&lng=-118.39697265625&level=6&type=topo

Either Kearsarge Lake or out to Onion Valley (by mid day). Shuttle or hitch (chancy or risky hitch from Lone Pine to Horseshoe) to Lone Pine.

********* (loop)

Or reverse that trip going in at Onion Valley (Independence, CA) to Vidette, over Forester Pass to Tydall and take in some of the most grandious scenery in the Sierra. You could plan Mt Whitney the third/forth day and then return over Shepherd Pass 5th/6th day and down to trail tail and walk 3 mi to catch an easy (100% sure) hitch back up to your car at Onion Valley. SPECTACULAR as well

*******

Another loop which is lower in altitude but another classic is from South Lake to North Lake (you might catch an easy hitch from North to South Lakes).

http://www.topo.com/explore?lat=37.20349818925452&lng=-118.6142578125&level=4&type=topo

South is lower right, North is upper left on map.

Starting at South Lake over Bishop Pass to Dusy Basin

http://www.topo.com/explore?lat=37.10640214017267&lng=-118.55133056640625&level=6&type=topo

Down to La Conte Canyon

http://www.topo.com/explore?lat=37.23441040729031&lng=-118.70458984375&level=4&type=topo

Then to Evolution Valley and up through Humphrey Basin and finally to Sabrina and the short hop over to South Lake.

*****

Ray Lakes loop is another popular one (for some this is the gem of the Sierra) beginning in Kings Canyon (western side of Sierra) and up Bubbs Creek.

http://www.topo.com/explore?lat=36.796969268351845&lng=-118.56103515625&level=4&type=topo

To Ray Lakes

http://www.topo.com/explore?lat=36.83117391574063&lng=-118.446533203125&level=4&type=topo

and then over Glenn Pass down to catch Bubbs Creek near Vidette Meadows and out back to Cedar Grove to your car.

Plan on 10 mile days at 10,000'. July/August temperatures range from 20F to near 100F. Afternoon local thundershowers. Plan on mosquitoes and bring DEET, long socks for night (they love ankles) and a hooded parka. Plenty of water along all trails above.

Most people who do this trip are from sea level. Could be an unlikely altitude problem but will find that on first overnight out. Most are only affected by lack of oxygen not the AMS of a bad adaptation. Take it slow and enjoy the reduced pressure and all of the photo ops.

11:35 p.m. on April 27, 2010 (EDT)
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Wow, thanks for all the input...keep 'em coming.

TheRambler....I'm in East Texas, almost Louisiana; but getting away from our area is part of the allure of this trip, so in a sense farther is better.

Speacock...thanks for all the Sierra Nevada trail beta. You must live near there, lucky dog! I'm going to sort through your info in the morning. I'm solo hiking the JMT this fall and it looks like some of your ideas cross it. For my own benefit, do you have any favorite side-hikes along the JMT (summits or otherwise) that you would recommend? I am skipping Tuolomne area and instead leaving Little Yosemite and crossing over Vogelsang before rejoining the JMT in Lyell Canyon. Also thinking about a side-trip to Darwin canyon after leaving Evolution Valley. Any other thoughts? (Hmmmm....sounds like I need to start another trip-planning thread).

As for the trip with the kids, one trail that is already on my short list is the West Coast Trail in the Vancouver, Canada, area. 70 ladders, 140 bridges, 4 cable cars, and a hamburger stand, under a tarp, right on the trail. Does that not just scream teenage boy!? Has anyone hiked it?

Also would consider something in, say, Costa Rica, but haven't seen a lot of info on well-maintained trails there. Also don't want to introduce security issues. But monkeys, toucans, parrots, and jungle? Again, it just screams teenage mutant good times.

Keep the ideas coming...

7:30 p.m. on April 28, 2010 (EDT)
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Check us out at www.gcranch.com We are a Guest Ranch/Working Cattle Ranch in SE Arizona. A lot of great horseback riding in the mountains, overnight pack trip, 1 or 2 nights out under the stars. Help feed and groom horses, maybe a chance to move some cattle. Grapevine Canyon Ranch

10:04 a.m. on April 30, 2010 (EDT)
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I have to put a shout out for the Citico and Slickrock Wilderness areas. The Citico Wilderness is part of the Cherokee National Forest in TN and extends up to the crest line of the Appalachians, reaching over 6500ft. The Slickrock Wilderness is part of the Nantahala National Forest, companion to the Cherokee on the NC side of the mountains. The Cherokee NF alone covers 600,000 acres of wilderness, and the Nantahala NF is comparable in size on the NC side, together they comprise some 1,000,000 plus acres of wilderness. There are many natural Balds and overlooks, as well as an abundance of lush vegitation, beautiful waterfalls, and streams that provide some of the most excellent trout fishing.

12:27 a.m. on May 1, 2010 (EDT)
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Skillet, best to hit upon a few who have done it recently. Will have to grab my log from then (its someplace).

Check here:

http://www.backpacker.com/cgi-bin/forums/ikonboard.cgi?act=SF;f=603107219

and specifically look for posts from (or questions to)

Alisaoutdoors

High Sierra Fan

as well as here:

http://www.highsierratopix.com/community/viewforum.php?f=1

Lots of more specific Sierra information passed back and forth.

SnowNymph did it over a 30 day period. She is a moderator there.

I think that subject has been asked (JMT things to see) before in both forums - perhaps last year. You can search for the topics you are interested in.

Most of my sidetrips (successful and unsuccesful) were usually not on trails but just likely looking places of interest up canyons/creeks or tops or lakes. You will spend a considerable amount of time above tree level. You can just trek to places that might interest you until you get beyond your capabilities.

Secor put out a book of Peaks and Passes of the Sierra. (or something similar). you can take a look at his suggestions along the JMT.

You are definitely hiking one of the nations jewels. A bit tarnished with probably more company that you might like, but if you get tired of chatting with same people walk faster or slower and you get an entire new set for a few days that you will be leap frogging. Sometimes just pushing a couple miles longer on one day will get you into a new group of hikers. September most things are shades of brown with only a few flowers left around what is left of raging creeks earlier.

The Wonderland Trail around Rainier is a crime to do it in only 7 days, but 7 days would give you a peek into another area that you might want to come back to. Best early September.

There is a steam train out of Durango Colorado that drops you off at a trail and then will pick you up a few days later at a different part. That trip is outlined in the first link in the Rocky Mountains forum. You would need a few more benefit activities to pay for the train ride. But that one goes into the GEE WHIZ category.

Colorado has an amazing number of trips such as the Collegiants. Trips near Harvard, Yale, Missouri, and others are simple 14'rs. Missouri Basin comes to mind. A four day trip along here:

http://www.topo.com/explore?lat=40.307458106822324&lng=-105.73876953125&level=4&type=topo

Starting near Bear Lake up to Flat Top, then Ptarmigan Pass and down the Tonahutu Creek to Grand Lake to pick up a cache sent to you General Delivery at the Post Office then up the North Inlet trail to Andrews Glacier and down to the Loch and back home.

1:49 p.m. on May 1, 2010 (EDT)
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White water rafting the Grand Canyon. High point bragging rights for any boy to claim.

----------------
SPeacock mentioned the South Lake to North Lake loop out of Bishop Ca. The loop was listed by a leading outdoors magazine as the best hike in California. Perhaps. But at sixty miles this loop is on the ambitious side, while most boys that age just want to have fiun. I suggest a base camp instead, where you can relax, and they can day hike to various nearby detinations. One of the most scenic legs of that trip is South Lake to the basin below Bishop Pass, a hike of four or less miles, depending on your exact stopping point. You'll get up pretty high, but that will be tougher on you than the kids. The basin contains many lakes, and what young man doen't like to fish? There are also some tall peaks locally, that are accessible boulder scrambles. Mt. Goode at 13,500' gets for example, you up there, yet is not technical. Cloudripper at 13,525 is about as tough as you can get without being technical, however, potential rockfall precludes taking kids up that route. Other safe but adventurous side trips are there for the taking.


Bishop Pass, low on horizon, Viewed from Long Lake. Mt. Goode is on horizon at right side. (summit of Goode can be had coming up the back side.)

View looking west from the shoulder of Cloudripper. Ruwau Lake at left, Margaret Lake (above Ruwau), Long Lake (to the right of Ruwau), Chocolate Lakes (lower right) draining into Bull Lake. Hurd Peak is center frame, just above Long Lake, with Mt Goode just out of view at left of image. Cannot recall all the peaks in the distance, but they include Blackcap Mountain (center left on horizon), almost eighteen miles away.

--------------

Another venue SPeacocki mentioned was Cottonwood Lakes. The hike is slightly longer at 6 miles, but very doable, and the lakes very pretty. Cottonwoods Lakes are quintessential East Side Sierras. Most of the Cottonwood Lakes hold the native Golden Trout. Most of the lakes are catch and release, while fishing is not permitted in others. Mt Langly, at 14,025’ is a day hike side trip to one of the tallest peaks in the Sierras, accessing it a vigorous hike over an old unmaintained trail.
Ed

4:53 a.m. on May 2, 2010 (EDT)
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whomeworry brought up the idea of a base camp and day hikes from there. This brings to mind BearPaw Meadows from Crescent Meadows on west side of Sequoia. From Bearpaw you can do Elizabeth Pass, Tamarack Lake, Hamilton Lake and from there up to Kaweah Gap. Spectacular scenery.

On the west side there is Mineral King. End of road is a parking lot that has scenery starting from the the time you get out of car. A hike that you could wrap out from the basin over any of a number of passes (eg., Blackrock to Big/Little Five Lakes).

and on and on and on. Don't get me started on Canada .. geesh!

10:20 a.m. on May 3, 2010 (EDT)
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Yep, Bearpaw is another goodie, as is Mineral King. More mosquitoes, however, so bring head netting in case they are bad.
Ed

September 17, 2014
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