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Re: HSCs with a small person - trip report

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HSCs with a small person - trip report
July 22, 2013 01:30PM
We recently did the hike from Tuolumne Meadows to Glen Aulin HSC and then onto May Lake HSC before hiking down to Tenaya Lake with our 7 year old. I got some really helpful advice from this forum so thought I'd post a trip report in case anyone else is considering doing this with kids and might find it helpful.

We parked at Dog Lake and used the bear boxes there and then caught the shuttle bus down to the Lembert Dome trailhead. This was very easy and the kidlet enjoyed seeing the mules at the stables on our way past. We got off to a fairly slow start as there was so much to look at - she loved trying the water at Soda Springs and seeing butterflies in the meadow. On the whole the first days hike to Glen Aulin (5.7 miles) was pretty easy going as the scenery was fantastic and we found a great picnic spot by the river with a log to sit on and space for her to play in the water.

By the time we arrived at Glen Aulin she was declaring that Yosemite was "better than Disneyland" and really enjoying the experience. We had a swim under the waterfall (poor kid found it a bit cold - being from Australia she is used to warm water!) and enjoyed reading our books and chatting to other campers. She loved the ravioli for dinner and being able to buy postcards to send out by mule. The camp staff said she was the littlest camper yet this season carrying her own pack (obviously not a big one - we took a lot of her stuff) and so she was pretty proud of herself.

The second day was a bit of a rocky start. The 4 miles from Glen Aulin towards May Lake through the woods is very buggy, which she didn't like. Plus she isn't a big breakfast eater. One of our big lessons on this trip was to provide very regular snacks - 'oreo power' proved very good through the tough spots. The walk was also less interesting to her than the day before and so my partner ended carrying her pack for about an hour. Once the bugs started to clear and the views opened up she was much happier and blazing ahead in front - it was interesting what she found most exciting. We made it to near Raisin Lake for lunch (to our surprise after the rocky start) where we'd planned to swim but decided it was a bit buggy. She especially loved the vistas in the last half of the hike. Made it to camp and enjoyed showers and a yummy salmon dinner. Sadly the campfire was rained out.

The third day we walked down to Tenaya Lake having promised her the beach. We were a little confused about shuttle stops and didn't realise West Tenaya Lake and Sunrise trailhead shared a stop, so walked past that one looking for the West Tenaya Lake shuttle stop before stopping to swim. Obviously there isn't one so we ended up doing an extra mile or so along the road to the second stop. This was hot and frustrating so a lesson learned! She loved the beach though and a well deserved hotdog from TM grill later on.

Overall it was a fantastic trip and definitely worth doing if you have an active kid who likes the outdoors. She was actually pretty disappointed when she found out that there were more camps we weren't visiting - we have promised next time we will try to do some more! The choice of GA and ML were good for us - the second days hike was challenging but not overkill and over the 3 days she carried her own pack except for about an hour on the second morning.

Things we found helped her enjoy the hike

- Giving her her own pack with things she might need in the day like her camera, jacket, lunch and water
- The platypus hydration tube was a winner
- Putting her in charge of snacks - so when we stopped and what we had was a great way to make sure she was eating lots
- Giving her a camera to take photos - she also took some hilarious video blogs that she is excited to show her class
- Taking the junior ranger book and doing a bit each night
- Going through the route each morning and at lunchtime and showing her where we were on the map

Tips for packing

- We found the Sawyer family Picardin insect repellent really good. The bugs were pretty thick through GA - ML but I only got a couple of bites and it was much gentler on her skin than DEET
- A headnet was great for her as she got quite freaked out at things flying around her head
- Kids get through more clothes than grownups on these things - don't assume they can rewear the way we can
- Even though the weather was quite mild we were glad we had a light down jacket for her up at May Lake
- Lots of snacks your kid is familiar with - we bought some stuff with us from Aus and it was definitely worth it

Finally - get them excited beforehand - she knew what we were doing and was rearing to go and that helped a lot. Best family trip ever!
Re: HSCs with a small person - trip report
July 22, 2013 02:01PM
Wow! Thank you so much for the trip report! I have dear friends who currently have a 9 month old, 3- and 5-year olds. All girls, and we've been taking them to Yosemite for camping a week at a time since each was 3 months old... and we've been grooming them on short day hikes... and Thanksgiving when they can swing it. This summer, the mom indicated she wants to do her first backpacking trip! Once we get her settled in, we'll see if we can roll the 5 year old into the game. The father is ready to try, too, but mom piped up first, and one of them needs to man the fort with the other two rug rats, so... Plan is to alternate the adults and roll the kids in as quickly as possible.

One thing caught my eye: you mentioned the Platy hydration... The kids have all already learned how to use the hydration valves and seem to really enjoy using them! And they are getting quite good about asking for water (adults are still packing the bags), which is a relief to me!

I'm noting all your tricks! Great stuff and so happy you had a great trip!!! Do let us know when you return!
avatar Re: HSCs with a small person - trip report
July 22, 2013 03:54PM

The kids have all already learned how to use the hydration valves and seem to really enjoy using them!

No surprise there. Sucking comes naturally to kids. wink

avatar Re: HSCs with a small person - trip report
July 22, 2013 03:02PM
Berry Kewl

Would love to see some of the faux toes ur daughter took.

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: HSCs with a small person - trip report
July 22, 2013 06:05PM
Glad you had a great time. It was nice meeting you on the trail.
Re: HSCs with a small person - trip report
July 22, 2013 06:39PM
What a sweet report! I don't have kids but I love to hear stories about young ones catching wilderness fever like this (and it's SO much better for them than the types of fevers kids that age normally catch!). After having had a less than stellar day today, reading your TR just put a big smile on my face so thank you! grinning smiley
Re: HSCs with a small person - trip report
July 22, 2013 07:11PM
Great trip report. Thanks for posting.
Re: HSCs with a small person - trip report
July 22, 2013 07:44PM
I sounds like you had a great trip. Your daughter will be talking about this for years as my son does about all the parks that we have visited starting when he was 3 months old.
avatar Re: HSCs with a small person - trip report
July 22, 2013 09:12PM
Glad it all worked out so well. Thanks for posting.
avatar Re: HSCs with a small person - trip report
July 23, 2013 09:31AM
Glad to hear you had a terrific trip. Perhaps by the time your child reaches her late teens she will be ready for through hiking the Pacific Crest Trail! It's great that she is getting introduced to this at such an early age.
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