Backpack Trail Suggestions w/ 12 year old?

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
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madrone
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Backpack Trail Suggestions w/ 12 year old?

Post by madrone » March 19th, 2016, 9:03 pm

Hi, this summer my 12 year old daughter and I hope to take two or three backpacking trips, each between 3-4 days long. I am interested in any trail suggestions that you might have. She is moderately fit. I'm looking to give her a fun first backpacking experience that will keep her motivated to do more. She finished Dog Mountain in the Columbia Gorge with me a few weeks ago, but I would prefer a less demanding backpacking route for her first time out. Ideally we could find some places to go swimming and some nice views.

Thank you very much for any suggestions!

Madrone

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Peder
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Re: Backpack Trail Suggestions w/ 12 year old?

Post by Peder » March 20th, 2016, 5:21 pm

I am not an expert camper, but one possibility would be a couple of nights at Panhandle Lake. With some kind of flotation device, your daughter could paddle around the lake (assuming she can swim) and the fishing could be interesting. There is fresh water not far from there... You should probably wait till August, to ensure that all snow is melted on the way in (6 miles, 2.000' EG) and that the lake is not freezing cold.
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jdemott
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Re: Backpack Trail Suggestions w/ 12 year old?

Post by jdemott » March 21st, 2016, 7:52 am

Take a look at the area southwest of Bend along Century Drive, past Mount Bachelor. There are many small to mid size lakes and lots of interconnecting trails that are fairly easy walking (e.g., Six Lakes trail) so you should be able to put together some sort of a route that meets your goals for mileage and difficulty. Scenery is lovely. You probably should plan for August to be sure snow is melted

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BurnsideBob
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Re: Backpack Trail Suggestions w/ 12 year old?

Post by BurnsideBob » March 21st, 2016, 8:42 am

Jefferson Park from the Whitewater trail head--about 6 miles and 1500' one way. The trail goes thru very dramatic country with several different plant associations. In the park you can swim, fish, day hike to all the lakes, flower/mushroom hunt, and climb to the Jefferson Park Glacier.

This is where we took our children for their first backpack, a 5 dayer--my daughter was 9 at the time. My wife and I kept our 4 kids engaged with different activities. Showing the kids how to catch grasshoppers, and then fish with them, kept them awesomely busy and attentive. Catching fish also gave our kids a sense of success-in-the-wild that fueled their interest in all future trips--and even now as adults they occasionally backpack with us.

If your daughter has a friend who is interested in the natural world you could invite her along. Co-discoverers can share their excitement while giving you a little space to attend to meals and other mundane but necessary tasks.

I've read that camping in Jefferson Park will be by paid permit only summer of 2016. Don't forget the bug spray!
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Markh752
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Re: Backpack Trail Suggestions w/ 12 year old?

Post by Markh752 » March 21st, 2016, 9:59 am

I took my boys to the Goat Rocks from the Snowgrass trail head for a few nights when they were 8 and 9. We found a spot to set up a base camp and day hiked from there. I found that a base camp about 5 miles from the trail head with day hikes was a good way for my kids to start out. They didn't spend all of their time hiking with a loaded backpack.

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Markh752
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Re: Backpack Trail Suggestions w/ 12 year old?

Post by Markh752 » March 22nd, 2016, 12:39 am

I wanted to throw this out there for the parents of young children. I have often come across parents that have seen my kids hiking/backpacking that have said... I should take my kids hiking/backpacking. YES! Yes you should. My kids started day hiking at 5 & 6. They started backpacking at at 7 & 8. My kids are currently 12 & 13. In the past they have day hiked 18 miles. They have also been on multiple multi night backpacking trips. I'm not saying this to brag. I'm saying this for all of the parents that have seen my kids on the trail and given them words of encouragement.
My motivation was a question I posted on the Seattle hikers website. Note Hulksmash's links! Who can resist seeing a little boy on a roped team? 8-)

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CampinCarl
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Re: Backpack Trail Suggestions w/ 12 year old?

Post by CampinCarl » March 22nd, 2016, 6:37 am

Markh752 wrote:I wanted to throw this out there for the parents of young children. I have often come across parents that have seen my kids hiking/backpacking that have said... I should take my kids hiking/backpacking. YES! Yes you should. My kids started day hiking at 5 & 6. They started backpacking at at 7 & 8. My kids are currently 12 & 13. In the past they have day hiked 18 miles. They have also been on multiple multi night backpacking trips. I'm not saying this to brag. I'm saying this for all of the parents that have seen my kids on the trail and given them words of encouragement.
My motivation was a question I posted on the Seattle hikers website. Note Hulksmash's links! Who can resist seeing a little boy on a roped team? 8-)
Image

I'm working on this, my kids have been hiking since they could walk, about a mile per year in age for dayhikes. I'm planning to take my daughter on her first backpack trip this summer, too. :D

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