TR: Family's first trip - Winnemucca Lake

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efinley
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TR: Family's first trip - Winnemucca Lake

Post by efinley » Sun Jul 30, 2017 11:07 pm

As you might have seen in some of my other posts this was my family's first backpacking trip since we had kids. The kids are now 7 and 9 and very excited to try backpacking. After consulting this group we decided on a weekend trip to Winnemucca lake, we left Friday July 28 and returned July 30. Here we are at the start:
start.jpg
The hike up was quite beautiful and the kids had lots of fun with the snow:
snow balls.jpg
Shortly after Frog Lake and probably 3/4 mile from Winemucca lake my right boot started to show some issues. Now I should say that these boots are at least 10 years old but I have been wearing them again lately to test them out.
boot.jpg
So we patched them up and they made it the rest of the way. Once at the lake I noticed the other boot was doing it too. I ended up walking out with both boots taped up like this:
boot tape.jpg
Not exactly my finest hour. I suspect the boots couldn't handle the extra weight of the pack because we've done equally as rocky hikes before and they showed no sign or wear.

OK back to the main story. :)

We encountered limited snow on the trail, it was just enough for the kids to really have fun with
snow play.jpg
We got to the lake and it was incredibly beautiful. As we hiked along the trail we found a sign pointing to our first come, first served campsite that we had picked up at 9am Friday morning. The sign was a simple 4x4 post with a #3 and an arrow pointing to a side trail. We took the side trail and 10 yards later we found the site, nice little flat spot with a tent spot, looked perfect, beautiful view etc.
camp1.jpg
After dinner the kids went down to fish and on his 6th cast my son hooked a 6" brook trout, he was very excited. Little did we know that would be the last fish he'd hook at the lake.
Saturday morning we slept in until 7:30 or so and cooked breakfast. We were amazed that by the time we'd finished eating we'd already seen 20 people! Then a nice park ranger came along and explained to us that we weren't in site #3, it was 75 yards down the side trail! So we spend the next hour moving camp, it is amazing how much stuff you have once it all comes out of the packs!
I expect we saw probably over 150 people at Winnemucca on Saturday and probably close to that on Sunday, it was crazy! I had no idea it was so popular, on one hand it was cool to see so many people out enjoying the wilderness, on the other hand get off my lawn! :) The upside of the crowds was that everyone was very encouraging to our kids and I think it gave them a boost of energy and morale. That said I think our next trip will be to someplace a little less popular. I think it was a great spot for our first trip and I wouldn't change it, but man that was a lot of people!
The fishing proved to be pretty slow, I caught another 6" brookie on a castmaster and then a 13" fat brookie with my flyrod. That trout was the most beautiful fish I've caught in years and it was the only time all weekend I didn't have a camera with me when we were fishing.
Our Saturday plan had been to head up to Round Top lake but my boot situation precluded that plan, instead I was sporting my Keen water shoes with black wool socks, not a good look I'm afraid.
Since the fishing was pretty slow we decided Sunday morning to pack up and head back to the car. The hike out was good, although my daughter was complaining about sore feet, I don't know if she was just tired or if the feet really hurt, but she made it all the way back to the Carson Pass trailhead with her own pack and under her own power. Here we are at the end:
finish.jpg
The rangers had given the kids an activity packet on the first day, and they completed the packet and turned it back in when we got back. The rangers gave them a sew on patch, a ranger badge and a certificate of completion, it really got the kids excited and any tiredness my daughter had was gone and she was excited about the next time we go hiking!
On the way home we stopped at the runner up destination, the silver fork of the american river, hiked up 1/2 mile, ate lunch and did a little fishing. My son was excited to try fly fishing so I gave him some lessons. In the course of that I hooked 2 6" rainbows and then just as we were finishing up for this recon mission my son hooked his first fish on a fly rod! I was very impressed and he did a great job after only about an hour of fly fishing, half of that with me holding the rod.
Overall the trip was a resounding success. We had a couple of hiccups like:
1) the magic self destructing boots
boot flop.jpg
2) the new tent I bought turned out too be too small for a 6'9" dad so I schlepped the 16 lb rei basecamp 4 car camping tent
3) the above tent is probably 15 years old, we pitched it on the floor at home, but left the rainfly alone. So of course when we pitched the tent at Winnemucca we noticed that the plastic panel on the fly was cracking and had holes and some of the taped seams were failing. Anyone want a nice tent without a rainfly? :)

Given the forecast for next weekend being over 100 degrees we're going either to the coast or the mountains. Right now we're thinking about heading back to silver fork of the american river and hiking to where FeetFirst suggested. The fishing there had more action and I'm hoping it will be less crowded. However today the parking lot above the bridge today was jam packed but I suspect many of the people were hanging very near the bridge, I guess we'll find out next weekend unless you guys sway me somewhere else. :)

I really appreciate all the help and guidance from this forum. I would have never picked this lake without you guys, everyone had a ball and it was so nice to get back to backpacking again after all these years.

-Eric
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gary c.
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Re: TR: Family's first trip - Winnemucca Lake

Post by gary c. » Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:56 am

What a great trip with the family.
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Re: TR: Family's first trip - Winnemucca Lake

Post by rlown » Mon Jul 31, 2017 3:36 am

Nice TR! At least you got to test out your equipment, so to speak. :) Just enough snow left to make for some fun for the kids and beautiful pictures. Gotta love tape for emergency repairs.

That area was my first backpack trip 40 years ago. How were the skeeters?

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Re: TR: Family's first trip - Winnemucca Lake

Post by kpeter » Mon Jul 31, 2017 5:19 am

I'm glad you and your family had a good trip, delaminating boots and all! My kids played in a snowbank at Winnemucca too when they were little. Winnemucca is a very pretty little lake--perhaps with a more dramatic rocky backdrop than Round Top. But yes, on the weekend especially you get a lot of dayhikers coming from the area campgrounds and South Lake Tahoe.

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Re: TR: Family's first trip - Winnemucca Lake

Post by efinley » Mon Jul 31, 2017 7:26 am

The skeeters weren't too bad. They'd come out in the morning and evening but gone during the day. Even when they were there it was manageable and we never had to retreat to the tent or tie the children down to stop them from being carried away by the swarm. :)

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Re: TR: Family's first trip - Winnemucca Lake

Post by giantbrookie » Mon Jul 31, 2017 7:29 am

Nice report. I was wondering where you would go. In spite of the difficulties--this delamination thing has become chronic with so many brands of boots today--it looks like a great trip. Most important, I think the kids will want to go on another one.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: TR: Family's first trip - Winnemucca Lake

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Jul 31, 2017 7:36 am

The boot delaminating reminds me of one of my trips! I have a crazy backpacking friend, who if dropped into anywhere, could survive and fix anything. (He also drives a car that cannot be started with pliers). On one of our trips, his boots (which he salvaged out of a dumpster) started to delaminate. Shortly, with his eagle-eye for finding stuff, he spotted some wire at an old horse camp, and wired his boots together, and it lasted for the next six days! Honestly, I have a fear of shoe problems because other than high water time, I do not carry camp shoes.

Kids and snow always add up to fun! Just like kids and puddles and kids and sticks. All you need is a few dogs to add to the family outing.

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Re: TR: Family's first trip - Winnemucca Lake

Post by efinley » Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:37 am

Speaking of dogs I was amazed how many dogs were at the lake. I must have seen 20-30 dogs per day. Amazingly I didn't see any dog waste, it's amazing what good owners can do. :)

Also in defense of my boots, they are pretty old, I would guess 15 years... Sure I wish they hadn't delaminated, but that is a long time. The issue of course is now I need to find new ones in a size 16, REI has 3 to choose from, and none in stores. So it looks like I get to try on boots by credit card. :(

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Re: TR: Family's first trip - Winnemucca Lake

Post by Jason » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:11 am

That looks like a fun trip! I've been there a few times, but always as a dayhike. Of the three times I've fished it (twice from a float tube fly fishing, once from shore with lures) we always caught a couple fish, but one time was considerably better. There are definitely a bunch of people though. I haven't been there in fall, but the east end of the lake has a nice sandy beach with a drop-off that might make for a nice fishing spot once the water level drops a bit, you could hang out on the beach and (if I remember correctly) there's a decent amount of room for casting. Now it's got me thinking about October sometime when the fall colors are going........ hmmmmm. Thanks for the trip report.

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Re: TR: Family's first trip - Winnemucca Lake

Post by rlown » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:16 am

efinley wrote: Also in defense of my boots, they are pretty old, I would guess 15 years... Sure I wish they hadn't delaminated, but that is a long time. The issue of course is now I need to find new ones in a size 16, REI has 3 to choose from, and none in stores. So it looks like I get to try on boots by credit card. :(
or.. https://www.2bigfeet.com/dun_8016dbr.php still credit card, but another option. Sure you don't want to wear that Sasquatch outfit with the big feet instead ;)

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