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Re: Need advice on hikes

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Need advice on hikes
May 12, 2009 06:50PM
Hi,

I will be in Yosemite this Saturday - Thursday and was looking for some advice on the different hikes. I have a 4 & 5 year old and was wondering if they would be able to do the Mist Trail, also will the hike to Sentinel Dome be ok for them or will there still be too much snow. Any other tips you have for keeping my kids entertained would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you so much!
Annie
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 12, 2009 07:02PM
Annie,

The Mist trail might be O.K. for children of that age but I would be very surprised if they got any further than the wooden bridge well below Vernal Fall, but at least you can see the fall from there.

Sentinel Dome is a pretty fair distance for children of that age but possibly doable if you pace yourselves. In either case bring plenty of water and something to snack on. This sounds like it may be the first time for the kids tackling this kind of altitude so don't be surprised if they poop out on you. You might want to just concentrate on something like driving to Glacier Point and forget hiking the kids at that altitude.

The Sentinel Dome trail will probably be pretty much clear of snow but there are no guarantees; could be some snow patches in the trail. Master Eeek may have more info on expected snow condition at that location.

Jim



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/12/2009 07:03PM by tomdisco.
Re: Need advice on hikes
May 12, 2009 07:04PM
Thanks Jim,

You bring up a good point about altitude, I had completely forgotten to take that into account!
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 12, 2009 07:11PM
Sentinel Dome will probably have too much snow patches.
Just bring them up to Washburn Pt. and Glacier Pt. and walk around...

I'd also suggest bringing them to Lower Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil.
Both of those are pretty short and relatively flat (and paved).

Have fun
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 12, 2009 07:16PM
Annie,

Sentinel Dome is about 1.1 mile hike (one-way) starting at about 7,650' and climbing 472' to 8,122' altitude.

Vernal Fall bridge is about 1.0 mile hike (one-way) starting at about 4,000' and climbing 750' to 4,750' altitude.

Sentinel is by far the easier trail but is offset somewhat by the altitude effect.

Jim
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 12, 2009 07:55PM
Camping?


1. In the category of cautions: you will want to avoid the Merced River as I suspect it is high and very cold.
2. The Visitor Center has an Indian Village, I believe, that they might find it fun.
3. Hiking is always a challenge with the young. If you search this forum for "Indian Caves" should find some discussion of the location of this collection of boulders in the Valley that could be fun to climb and explore if not wet.
4. You have probably heard of the Junior Ranger program. I don't know if it will work for the very young. Check at the visitor center.
5. One of the most popular books in the National Parks is "Who Pooped in the Park?" which is a good introduction to natural history and wildlife watching. (I think most of the big parks have a particular edition for that park) and could be part of a "scavenger hunt" to find evidence of different animals in the park.
6. You might consider a walk to Happy Isles Nature Center (flat and easy, short). There have been nature programs there, you would need to check.
7. There are mule rides at the stable for the adventurous (not certain of the age issue or whether you can ride double)
8. Take some sugar free Kool Aid or syrup to make snow cones, if there is still snow in the hills (don't eat yellow snow)
9. If you have boys, exploring swampy areas for frogs (they should not collect them) can be fun
10. Camping offers some opportunites for entertaining kids, PM me if you want some specific suggestions.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 13, 2009 10:21AM
Quote
tomdisco
Annie,

Sentinel Dome is about 1.1 mile hike (one-way) starting at about 7,650' and climbing 472' to 8,122' altitude.

Vernal Fall bridge is about 1.0 mile hike (one-way) starting at about 4,000' and climbing 750' to 4,750' altitude.

Sentinel is by far the easier trail but is offset somewhat by the altitude effect.

Jim

Altitude effect at only 8,000 feet? Didn't know it had an effect until beyond that.
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 13, 2009 01:31PM
Quote
dqniel
Altitude effect at only 8,000 feet? Didn't know it had an effect until beyond that.

Altitude effects seem to start around 3-4000 feet. High altitude athletic training is done around 5-7000 feet, like the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. I have a coworker who used to work in the Denver area. He indicated that he would get winded climbing stairs at first, but then adjusted. When he got to lower altitude, he said he felt really, really strong - like his lungs would never give out.

I actually felt like that after 3 weeks on vacation back in 2006. I spent my time at 4-9000 feet elevation, which took a few days to adjust to. By the time I got home my lungs felt great.
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 12, 2009 07:13PM
And Mirror Lake...
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 12, 2009 11:18PM
El Capitan Meadow is an idyllic setting, whether or not you choose to wander on its short trails. Same with the meadows by Curry Village and in front of Yosemite Falls. Though people that know me know that I love to hike, these meadows are among my favorite places...so serene, with incredible vistas. If the kids get tired they won't be far from "home".
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 12, 2009 11:30PM
Annie,
I didn't read all the suggestions so I may be repeating.

1. Crane Flat parking area up 120 a bit from the gas station and down to the Tuolumne Grove of big trees. It's a hike but not difficult at all. The trees are impressive.
2. Hetch Hetchy and O'Shaughnessy Dam. They can walk across the dam and through the tunnel and continue on up the trail along the edge of the lake until they decide they've had enough. Wapama Falls should be in full glory then.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 13, 2009 03:55AM
From the Yosemite NPS website ("For Teachers" section under the "Plan a Field Trip" link):

Resources

Self-Guiding Trails:

Pioneer Yosemite History Center
Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias
Cook's Meadow (begins at Valley Visitor Center)


Indian Village and Museum: A self-guiding trail winds through the Indian Village of Ahwahnee, where you can see demonstrations of various facets of Indian life. The Indian Museum displays baskets, clothing, tools, and jewelry along with demonstrations of beading and other crafts




My notes:
(1) the Pioneer History Center is located in Wawona
(2) the Mariposa Grove is much more easily accessible by foot and more extensive/impressive than the Tuolumne Grove that Mike mentioned
(3) driving down to the south part of the park and touring both of the above would take up the better part of one day




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/2009 04:09AM by szalkowski.
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 13, 2009 10:18AM
The Mist Trail is of course partly a set of stairs carved into the side of the rock, with variable step heights. Some of them might be a bit high for a 4 year old, but when I was a kid I loved high steps. It felt like I was scrambling up a mountain. It might also help to bring along a walking stick; kids seem to love carrying around walking sticks. Perhaps even hiking poles, although I'd worry about what little kids might do with pointy tipped sticks. Perhaps hiking poles with rubber tips.

Of course you might consider turning back if it gets too tough for the little ones. If they're not too big you (or perhaps another adult) might consider carrying one or both if they get too pooped to go on. There's plenty to do in Yosemite if hiking doesn't work out.
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 13, 2009 03:39PM
Annie,
Len is right about the trail to the Mariposa Grove being easier, it's 0.1 miles shorter (0.9 vs 1.0) and 64' less in elevation gain (317' up vs 381' up). You go down on the way in to Tuolumne and up on the way in to Mariposa.

The drive to Tuolumne Grove is about 14 miles shorter though. Could make up for the other differences.

I will argue though that the trees in TG are just as impressive. I find the TG to be much more cozy due to no crowds and I think it is a better woodsy experience.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 13, 2009 04:09PM
Quote
mrcondron
I will argue though that the trees in TG are just as impressive. I find the TG to be much more cozy due to no crowds and I think it is a better woodsy experience.

Redwood Mountain Grove in Kings Canyon is the largest giant sequoia grove in existence and is far different than the paved and/or fenced trails of Mariposa Grove. Giant Forest, or Grant Grove. One can go off trail and walk right up to the trees. It's not so much a problem since the trees aren't identified, crowds are low, and impacts are dispersed. If they had the largest tree in the grove marked with a sign, you might get way too many people impacting the area.

I took my avatar picture of the bear with cubs there. They're actually on top of a downed giant sequoia.

Probably doesn't mean much to the original poster, but I thought I'd say it.
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 13, 2009 04:12PM
Quote
mrcondron
Annie,
Len is right about the trail to the Mariposa Grove being easier, it's 0.1 miles shorter (0.9 vs 1.0) and 64' less in elevation gain (317' up vs 381' up). You go down on the way in to Tuolumne and up on the way in to Mariposa.

The drive to Tuolumne Grove is about 14 miles shorter though. Could make up for the other differences.

I will argue though that the trees in TG are just as impressive. I find the TG to be much more cozy due to no crowds and I think it is a better woodsy experience.


Get serious, Mike. You have to walk that mile to get to the Tuolumne Grove whereas the Mariposa Grove basically starts at the parking lot and the mile walk and elevation gain is to the far end of the grove. You're committed to the mile just to get to the TG; in the MG you can go as far as you want and turn around anytime that you want. That is a vast difference to a person with two small chilren in tow.

The times that I have been to both (definitely not in the peak tourist season), the number of people encountered walking in both stands was roughly the same. (Lot's of people too damn lazy to walk around in the MG - they take the shuttle tour.)
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 13, 2009 04:51PM
Quote
szalkowski
Get serious, Mike. You have to walk that mile to get to the Tuolumne Grove whereas the Mariposa Grove basically starts at the parking lot and the mile walk and elevation gain is to the far end of the grove. You're committed to the mile just to get to the TG; in the MG you can go as far as you want and turn around anytime that you want. That is a vast difference to a person with two small chilren in tow.

However - the parent in question is considering taking said children on the Mist Trail. I thought that was a far greater undertaking than either of these sequoia grove hikes.
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 14, 2009 06:22AM
Quote
y_p_w
However - the parent in question is considering taking said children on the Mist Trail. I thought that was a far greater undertaking than either of these sequoia grove hikes.

... and I could consider doing a Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim Grand Canyon dayhike in August - doesn't mean that I am capable of it.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/14/2009 07:30AM by szalkowski.
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 14, 2009 10:38AM
Quote
szalkowski
Quote
y_p_w
However - the parent in question is considering taking said children on the Mist Trail. I thought that was a far greater undertaking than either of these sequoia grove hikes.

... and I could consider doing a Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim Grand Canyon dayhike in August - doesn't mean that I am capable of it.

I don't necessarily think that taking a 4 or 5 year old up the Mist Trail is that difficult. As a 5 year old I had enough energy to drive my parents crazy.

My prime concern with kids that young is that they might not appreciate the severity of falling off the trail or the danger of getting too close to the water. The railing at Vernal Fall is designed for larger kids and adults.

The hike to Tuolumne Grove could be done by young children, but it would depend on the children. Of course there will be distractions and making an adult pace will be next to impossible. However - it could be a bonding experience.
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 13, 2009 04:56PM
I used the Grizzly Giant as a point of reference in the TG.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 13, 2009 05:27PM
annie,

I noticed you just joined this group yesterday. Are you overloaded with advice yet? We're a fun group.

Jim
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 13, 2009 05:56PM
Quote
tomdisco
annie,

I noticed you just joined this group yesterday. Are you overloaded with advice yet? We're a fun group.

Jim

The forum is like a "Rest Home for Yosemite-philes" -- a bunch of old geezers who get excited by newbies and basic questions !!



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
Re: Need advice on hikes
May 14, 2009 06:25AM
Wow, thank you all so much for the great advice and tips. I haven't been to Yosemite in probably 25 years and I am so excited for this trip. We will try out some of the hikes and if we have to turn around so be it. The kids will be just as happy crawling around in the dirt looking for bugs smiling smiley.

Thanks again
Annie
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 14, 2009 06:32AM
Annie,
Just listen to the goat... smiling smiley
He will never lead you off the trail... and he's so cute and cuddly...
Have a great trip!
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 14, 2009 07:00AM
Quote
bill-e-g
Annie,
Just listen to the goat... smiling smiley
He will never lead you off the trail... and he's so cute and cuddly...
Have a great trip!

Will never lead you off the trail? Really? The old goat is the consumate off-trail bushwhacker who bares watching less you find yourself lost without a compass.

Jim
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 14, 2009 09:05AM
When my son was six we hiked with him from Glacier Point to Sentinal dome, he didn't have any problems or feel effects of altitude (we live at sea level.) We made several Sierra Club group trips ["toddler tromps"], including T Meadows, Arches & Canyonlands, and Mt. Lassen. On Lassen, I think almost all the kids completed the hike to the summit, from start point at 8,000' to summit at 10,000'. My daughter made it, and she was four and a half at the time.

Our Sierra Club leaders had some great methods for keeping kids happy. One was carrying a bag of M&Ms at the front of the group, and every 20 or 30 minutes or so she'd dole them out one by one, so each kid had to move up to the front of the line to get their treat. Kids were happy. We'd usually be on the trail from 9 or 10 until 2:00, with a stop for lunch. On Lassen we adults took turns telling a made up story, all in one long narrative; the kids stayed focused on the story, and we tried not let them think about hiking in terms of miles.

I think the challenge of getting a five year old to complete a five hour hike is more psychological than physical - just find ways to keep them entertained, fed and hydrated. Find things to anticipate - like a creek side stop for throwing rocks, etc. Have fun!
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 14, 2009 05:43PM
Thank you all.



Old Dude
Re: Need advice on hikes
May 21, 2009 09:41PM
Hi Everyone,

After all of your great advice I thought I would give a quick report on our trip. We had an amazing experience! The weather was perfect, our campsite was perfect, I didn't find the park overly crowded. I decided to try the mist trail and the kids were absolute troopers. We made it to the base of the falls where I started to seriously doubt my parenting judgement, we had death grips on the kids, who were perfectly happy to continue by the way, but the force of the water coming at us, and the water pouring down the stairs started to really freak me out. I decided it was time to turn back but was really proud we made it as far as we did. After that hike I decided Sentinel Dome would be a piece of cake, all I can say is what a view!

We also biked to Mirror Lake, all around the valley floor, and of course to have a well deserved drink at the Awahnee.

Can't wait to go back!

Thanks again for all your tips and suggestions.

Annie
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 21, 2009 09:44PM
Quote
annie
We also biked to Mirror Lake, all around the valley floor, and of course to have a well deserved drink at the Awahnee.
Annie

Annie! You just made my day!

Glad you LOVED It!
avatar Re: Need advice on hikes
May 22, 2009 10:18AM
Annie,

Great to hear the kids took to it so well. You are sewing the seeds for some future backcountry hikers some day. Way to go!

Jim
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