Late September Backpacking with Kids

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Gozerian138
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Late September Backpacking with Kids

Post by Gozerian138 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:42 pm

Coming up from SoCal for 3 nights in Little Lakes Valley last weekend of September. I have 3 beginner boys (one first backpacking trip ever) on the trip and i am afraid of freezing temps making for a bad experience. Does anybody have any advice if this is bad timing for LLV? Too late in the season? What is overnight temps I can expect and Chickenfoot Lake?

If I change to lower elevation, any recommendations for South Sierra/lower elevation coming up from SoCal? Would like to keep mileage to around 6-10 miles RT thereabouts, with base camp for exploring and fun. . Nothing strenuous, hence LLV was ideal for mileage..

Thanks in advance








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balzaccom
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Re: Late September Backpacking with Kids

Post by balzaccom » Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:38 pm

It all depends on the weather report. It could warm, it could snow. NOAO is your friend. If the weather is nice, it's magic time to visit the Sierra.
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Re: Late September Backpacking with Kids

Post by hikerdude87 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:54 pm

Just keep an eye on the weather report daily. Because we are approaching fall, weather models will do a lot of back and forth with weather forecasts. Good example is a cut-off low forecast for next week (Mon-Wed). At one point the system was going to bring dry and windy weather to the Sierra and tonight's model run is showing rain/snow in the Sierra. It has been going back and forth for several days now. So check the weather often and make your plan accordingly. It will definitely be cold in the Sierra and I think temps are running down to 30s at 10,000 ft. Mosquitoes probably won't be a problem by then, I hope!

If weather is going to not be great in Little Lakes Valley then I would recommend backpacking is the Lower Kern, north of Lake Isabella. The River Trail is right off Johnsondale Bridge and a great beginner backpacking spot. You could try Forks of the Kern but that does have a descent that you will have to climb 2mi/1300ft on your way back.

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Re: Late September Backpacking with Kids

Post by Gozerian138 » Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:40 pm

Great thanks guys! I am leaving options open for now and will probably make decision next week. It seems that Forks of the Kern would be a bit more scenic just from the old internet searches. I am not familiar with that area. What is the trailhead for Forks o’ the Kern? River crossing not an issue this time of the year?

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hikerdude87
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Re: Late September Backpacking with Kids

Post by hikerdude87 » Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:03 pm

Gozerian138 wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:40 pm
Great thanks guys! I am leaving options open for now and will probably make decision next week. It seems that Forks of the Kern would be a bit more scenic just from the old internet searches. I am not familiar with that area. What is the trailhead for Forks o’ the Kern? River crossing not an issue this time of the year?
Forks of the Kern is the name of the trailhead and you start hiking down into the valley there the Little Kern and Kern River Merge. The river crossing this time of the year should be relatively simple. Last year when we were down there in October the Little Kern was more like a creek so it was easy to cross. After you reach the Kern River, go north and the trail stays mostly flat. There are many areas you can camp along the way and a lot of great fishing spots.

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Re: Late September Backpacking with Kids

Post by oddtiger » Sat Sep 21, 2019 1:42 pm

For shoulder season I usually carry a couple of down throws for my daughters and dog, in addition to the sleeping bags. I got them from costco last year and each down throw is only 1lb. It's not too late but be prepared for the cold. LLV is perfect for kids with easy fishing, sweet wild berries in the fall, different bugs and busy-haying picas. The north shore of Chickenfoot is the prime campsite with perfect reflection in the morning.

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Re: Late September Backpacking with Kids

Post by Gozerian138 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 6:21 pm

I decided to move my trip to next weekend, being that rain was moving in and out of the forecast. Option 1 is Jennie Lake in Sequoia. Backup plan is Forks of the Kern. I like the idea that campfires are allowed both places since it will be a bit chilly at night. Weather looks promising, Crossing my fingers it holds somewhat steady.

Driving up Thursday afternoon, overnight at a local developed campground and then hit the trail Friday morning.

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Re: Late September Backpacking with Kids

Post by Gozerian138 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 6:26 pm

And thanks for the tip Oddtiger. Good idea to bring some down throws for extra warmth, minimal space and weight.
I had a friend who once secretly hauled a gigantic queen comforter on our backpacking trip. I was horrified when he unpacked it in camp, but was thankful to borrow when temps plummeted on the trip and kept me toasty.

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Re: Late September Backpacking with Kids

Post by Gozerian138 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:12 pm

I made it out to Jennie Lake this past weekend with my 9 and 13 year old sons. The hike in was a bit more strenuous than I had intended for my youngest, but he hung tough, especially over Poop Out Pass. I think we made the hike up to Jennie in 5 hours, not a world record but the pace was appropriate.
The weather was perfect, absolutely zero mosquitos and relatively few people camped with us around the lake. Perfect timing for the trip. I am making a solemn vow to always plan a mid/late September backpacking trip from here on out. It certainly is a ‘magical time’ to be up in the Sierra!
Despite all of my research about Poop Out Pass and scoffing at comments about people losing the trail, we did lose the trail once we got over the pass and ended up scrambling down slabs and boulders on the way down. We found the trail just fine on the hike out.
We hiked out of Fox Meadow TH instead of Big Meadow TH in order to shave off a mile or so. However, it did not really seem to be worth it, as the dirt road up to the Fox Meadow TH was a bit rough and slow going. In hindsight, I think that I would have preferred the extra mile of hiking and parked at the more developed Big Meadow TH.

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Re: Late September Backpacking with Kids

Post by Harlen » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:52 am

Congratulations on getting out there with the kids. We'd love to see some photos if you have them. Great job Gozerian!

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