Week long trip with a 6 year old

9:16 p.m. on January 28, 2018 (EST)
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This summer when my kid is on summer break from school I want to take a week and go away on a trip somewhere. I am just starting to research potential places. Here are some things I am trying to find, any input would be greatly appreciated

Time frame available to choose from would be say the last week of june to the first week of august

1)I would like the drive to be within 6 hours of Connecticut preferably, but am open to say up to 10-12 hour drive max.

2)My son will be 6, and while tough and used to backpacking can probably only manage a few miles a day in hilly terrain. I would like to try and keep the daily mileage to under 4 or 5 and relatively mild terrain wise for the average of the trip.

3)Trip would more than likely be 8 days, 1 day on each side of which would potentially be travel, so lets say 6 days on trail. Would be great if car camping or trailhead camping was legal/possible to better facilitate driving there. Ideally would have a bailout point or two along the way.

4) Hammock friendly preferred

5) Have potential for a fishing option at a few points along the way

 

Any input is welcome! And, if any fellow trailspacers with kids around that age have any interest in meeting up for a trip, I would be interested.

 

10:35 p.m. on January 28, 2018 (EST)
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How about a trip down to Virginia?  Stop by Dolly Sods Wilderness (West Virginia) for an overnight or two (my kids got excited by the prospect of bombs on the old range although it isn't really an issue)...drive down to the Shenandoah's for some great views and camping with day hikes, then finish up at Grayson Highlands State Park for more fantastic open views, lots of camping options (although crowded in the summer weekends) and wild horses!  Throw in a WV state park for camping and fishing (and maybe a tour of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory nearby) on the way back...could be too much for a week though.

10:51 a.m. on January 29, 2018 (EST)
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From Conn I would head for Maine without any hesitation.  It is still a great place.  The further north you go the fewer people.  Plenty of lakes, mountains, forests, and berry picking. Great fishing.  I would consider a canoe trip on flat water.  

11:01 a.m. on January 29, 2018 (EST)
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He is just now getting alot better at swimming, i think he would probably be ok on a canoe, but I don't feel comfortable having him on the  water life jacket or not until he can consistently swim well without a flotation aid. Funny enough if he has a snorkel and mask on he can swim like a fish, take it off and he struggles some. I think a canoe trip would be awesome, but will probably hold off on that for another year Or at least wait to see how much he has improved this summer once we open up the pool.

Ppine, would you have any suggestions in Maine? I have only been up that way a handful of times myself.

Phil, th dolly sods or grayson highlands definitely came to mind. I took a trip down to the cranberry wilderness a few years back with my brother and nephews and had an amazing time.

11:23 a.m. on January 29, 2018 (EST)
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Just picked a random spot in CT to find Google says New Haven is 9 hours of driving time to the north gate at Baxter. Lots of options on the north side of the park for short days of a few miles between sites. You can do a series of short trips which lets you restock packs each time you move the car or one big foray into the woods. We have done a lot of trips with our little one over the years when she couldn't do more than a few miles at a time.

I've posted a lot of Baxter trip reports over the years, but check the ones that mention family for the ones my daughter has gone on. If you book LT sites they will tell you that tents are not allowed there. Since they don't say hammocks are prohibited, my solution has been to not ask and so far no one has written me up for it.

https://www.trailspace.com/people/lonestranger/?content=trip-reports

9:23 p.m. on January 29, 2018 (EST)
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Lonestranger, i was actually looking at baxter earlier today. Is there a time period that you think would be better or worse up there(Late june to early august)? I assuming probably not around july 4th, but other than that?

2:27 a.m. on January 30, 2018 (EST)
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You did not mention if your son has done prior long trips.  I would be hesitant to take a 6 YO out for a week, especially if not with a friend, and lacking activities boys love (e.g.fishing, rock climbing, boating, etc).  I found adults  love scenery may be enough to please adults, but children often find hiking just a lot of work unless non-hiking activities await them in camp.  Additionally 5 days may be too much of a good thing, especially if mosquitoes are an issue or he gets chapped lips.

Ed

6:25 a.m. on January 30, 2018 (EST)
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@TR Speaking in generalities; June is buggy and muddier with more rainy days, July and August will still have mosquitoes, but the black flies should have abated. The rains are less frequent but the storms can be bigger, again, speaking in generalities. With Baxter you have to make your reservations and then take what you get when the time comes heh. The nice thing about the north side of the park is that it is much less traveled. You camp alone in quiet forest, see less folks on trail, and can often book a trip at the last minute if needed.

You know what your guy can handle, but we did a 6 day trip with our 6 yo last year and she loved every minute of it except when we wouldn't let her jump in the lake on a 40° day. Like any trip, planning is key, but you said you two go all the time and I know you know what you are doing.

If you haven't yet, look at Long Pond and the Fowler Ponds. You might want to get a walk in tent site at Trout Brook for the day you arrive to make things easier. There are two tent sites across the brook about 100yds or so and an LT down by the brook on that side. Another option would be to continue on from there the next day and hit Frost Pond, but that is closer to a 5mi hike so maybe more than you want at this age.

Ask here or PM if you want more info. Between family and solo trips I've covered that area quite a few times and know the trails and sites very well.

9:31 a.m. on January 30, 2018 (EST)
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@whomeworry , The longest trip he has done so far has been 4 days/ 3 nights, and plenty of overnights and 2 night trips. I don't think the length of the trip will be an issue. Provided there are sticks, rocks, dirt, bugs etc he is a happy camper. He also really loves to fish, which is why I was looking at a place with a potential spot to do so a couple times through the course of the trip.

Excessive mosquitos could very well be his breaking point though, as it is certainly mine too at times!

10:29 a.m. on January 30, 2018 (EST)
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Rangeley Lakes is one idea. 

10:30 a.m. on January 30, 2018 (EST)
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Rangeley Lakes is one idea. 

Mooselookmaguntic is one large lake that is easy to find on a map.

10:42 a.m. on January 30, 2018 (EST)
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Personally I like both Ideas for a trip...To throw Virginia in their Rambler you could fish in shenny with an out of state fishing license..I don't know if its catch and release have to check the NPS website..But LS has had some really awesome trips with his daughter...

1:21 p.m. on January 30, 2018 (EST)
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The ponds I've mentioned all have canoes and fish available. We are factoring that more into our family trips now that we can keep our little one in the canoe longer. Planning on a two phase trip with a couple nights at Frost Pond to catch fish, then heading over to Long Pond for a few nights with a Barrel Ridge day hike.

As for the bugs, bring nets no matter what month you go. A good head net is the only thing that will save your sanity when the black flies are blooming and they keep the skeeters out just fine. We didn't need the much last year, but always have them with us.

5:03 p.m. on January 31, 2018 (EST)
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I learned that lesson long ago! The only trip I have ever bailed on was one at thirteenth lake in the Adirondacks shortly after I met my now wife some 13 or 14 years ago now I guess. It was her college spring break, and we were there car camping. The black flies were sooooo crazy that I swore I would never go into black fly territory again in the prime spring black fly season. I remember us driving out to this little tiny gas station type place and buying some head nets and a large plethora of "bug repellant" aka black fly attractant and fertilizer lol. Still carry that head net on every trip I go on.

6:42 p.m. on February 18, 2018 (EST)
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Anyone have any experience with pharoah lake wilderness? Its fairly close, but is a new area to me. Alot of the area seems fairly mellow terrain wise, alot of camp sites, and lots of opportunity for fishing.

7:48 a.m. on May 5, 2018 (EDT)
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From CT I'd suggest the White Mountains in NH or Acadia National Park in ME. My wife and I are middle aged and try to find easy to moderate trails when we're in both areas. We try to keep our distance to 2 miles or less round trip or loop and there's a ton of trails fitting these requirements in both areas. 

Try Diana's Bath, Sabbaday Falls, Saco Lake, and Elephant Head in the Whites and the Kane Trail, Cadillac Mountain Summit Loop, and Day Mountain in Acadia. Hope this helps.

11:05 a.m. on May 12, 2018 (EDT)
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I just remembered a week long canoe trip on the Green River in Utrah with a 7 yo and a 9 yo.  We kept them busy playing and got them tired.  A couple of times they got a little wild but quickly calmed down. They were raised in the outdoors.  I enjoyed their enthusiasm and wonder.  Better than some adults I have taken on trips. 

9:46 a.m. on May 13, 2018 (EDT)
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It got really rough one afternoon with a lot of wind. Surprisingly the kids went to sleep in the bottom of the canoe. Never made a peep. 

July 19, 2019
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