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#151391 - 06/12/11 03:31 PM Beginners with special needs kid.
rm56 Offline
member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 60
Loc: Northern CA, Placer co.
I'm looking for easy short (less than 1-2 miles)overnight backpacking with my wife and son. My boy has Klienfelters and his balance is not that good. He can carry a light pack, but we recently tried Hetch Hetchy and he tripped, fell and hurt his knees. We were headed to Rancheria Falls but had to turn back. The whole trip was canceled. We also tried to just stay at the backpackers camp in Yosemite but that did not happen, camps were full. We ended up driving home late that night almost 200 miles. We live near Sacramento and are looking for an area were we can hike in say 1 mile, camp overnight and then hike out. My son can't do a long 5 mile plus week long trip. Any suggestions to short trips for newbies would be nice. Thank you

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#151393 - 06/12/11 07:04 PM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: rm56]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
What about Donner Lake? I've only been there recently in winter, but the trails are wide and flat and it's easy to get to-straight up 80. It's right at Truckee, so if you forget anything, just a short hop into town.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=503

Looks like you have to make reservations, but that's true of most parks these days.

I'd also suggest getting your son a pair of trekking poles to help him with his balance. If you aren't familiar with them, they are basically like telescoping ski poles. Go out enough and you will see people using them all the time. They are good for people with bad knees or backs too.

REI has a pair for kids for less than $50, but they can be had cheaper at stores like Sports Authority or Big 5. Check out the REI in Folsom, off of 50 or the one in Roseville at the big mall along 80 if you haven't been in one yet.
www.rei.com

Also, check at REI or a local bookstore for guidebooks on hiking in Northern CA. I know there are a number of them.


Edited by TomD (06/12/11 07:21 PM)
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#151395 - 06/12/11 07:38 PM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: rm56]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
How old is your son? How heavy? How tall? I ask because if you are willing to use bike friendly trails there are many forms of ADA accessible ways to do it - where you would push him. (Consider this - you can get jogger strollers rated to 75 lbs and up!)

Also, search online for 4WheelBob and what he has done - he is in a wheelchair and goes many crazy places in CA. smile

Also...since his balance is a serious area - my suggestion is no backpack for him. None. Does he use trekking poles for any help?
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#151398 - 06/12/11 08:22 PM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: sarbar]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
How about getting a campground space at Folsom Lake, park your car at the BLM Water Education center and walk up the bike trail (half mile or so) to the campground. This would be a good learning experience. Backpacking also requires camping skills- this allows you to work on camping skills with just a little walking. Being a little away from the car will make it more realistic. Then when you do a backpack, he at least will have some familiarity with camping. This area is open year round. And if things do not work out it is a 10 minute drive home! With a balance problem I would start out on old roads or very well groomed trails.

A suitable "real backpack" would be at Point Reyes- from parking lot to Coast Camp.

A Winter-Spring hike would be Henry Coe Park from the visitor center to Manzanita Point.

I have a granddaughter with Angleman's syndrome, and hope to take her on a simple backpack some day. Hopefully she will walk by the time she's 5 years old. Even when she walks she will have serious balance problems and lots of other issues. I remain hopeful that I can at least give her one outdoor experience in spite of this very severe disability.

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#151406 - 06/12/11 11:41 PM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: TomD]
rm56 Offline
member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 60
Loc: Northern CA, Placer co.
I have one trekking pole. It doubles as a tent pole for our Tarp tent ultra light tent. I have handed Nick my pole but he also has a weak grip and he would just drop it.

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#151407 - 06/12/11 11:50 PM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: sarbar]
rm56 Offline
member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 60
Loc: Northern CA, Placer co.
My son is 11, weighs about 105. He's about 5 feet tall. He's normal size for his age. He spends too much time watching TV. We bought him a bike but he's afraid of it, can't ride yet. He also is on this damn computer too much. I like technology but in his case its a hinderance. We go for walks but like the doc said before he was born, "he'll never play sports." He's in the scouts, last week they did a run, situps, pushups. My son can't do one. He tried to run but he also was born with lung desease so I had to coach him to get him to try. I'm 54 and thanks to an idiot who rear ended me my running days are over, so I wont be pushing him with one of those jogging buggys.

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#151409 - 06/13/11 12:00 AM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: rm56]
rm56 Offline
member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 60
Loc: Northern CA, Placer co.
I'm experienced I have backpacked solo in Desolation, Trinity and Redwoods up in Humboldt. My wife did 1-2 trips many years ago. Next weekend my sons boy scout troop is going to Point Reyes but I think they are going 6 miles. Thats about what Hetch Hetchy was, not good, too far for him. Donner Lake is not far but theres snow there still. I live close to Folsom went there once, I wont go there anymore. You do know its close to a federal Penn right?

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#151410 - 06/13/11 12:02 AM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: rm56]
rm56 Offline
member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 60
Loc: Northern CA, Placer co.
Maybe I should find a site to put $1,000 worth of brand new hardly used gear up for sale. Thanks

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#151415 - 06/13/11 02:49 AM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: rm56]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Folsom is actually a state pen. I used to know a guard there. What about car camping? Not quite the adventure of hiking, but you will be outdoors. I remember camping at Icehouse and Shasta as a kid. We had a small travel trailer and a station wagon. There are lots of places around Sacto that should be accessible for car camping either along 80 or 50, especially up towards Tahoe.
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#151423 - 06/13/11 10:40 AM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: TomD]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
I am of the belief that it is safer next to a prison than in your own neighborhood. At least the felons are locked up! You sound frustrated. Sorry for that. But do not take it out on us. We are just trying to help.

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#151424 - 06/13/11 10:44 AM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: rm56]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
My only advice is get him out as much as you can - no matter how much he looks down his his at you (or up his nose, up at you!).
My oldest son is an Aspie child - and can get manipulative - it is easy to feel bad pushing a child with issues - but we are doing them no favors by not.
If you can I suggest daily walks. Every day. They need not be long, but he learns he has to - and it builds strength. The computer will survive for an hour without him. I am laughing becuase my oldest is the same way!
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#151427 - 06/13/11 10:59 AM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: wandering_daisy]
rm56 Offline
member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 60
Loc: Northern CA, Placer co.
Sorry I did not mean to sound like I'm taking anything out on people here. I have a popup camper, we've been to Sly Park, Ice House, New Malones among others. I'm trying to find a hike like I did once up at Redwoods State Park near Orick. It was less than one mile each way, but it was steep. Anyone know of an area where we can drive in close and maybe walk about 1 mile with our gear, then camp overnight? Also what about other threads on this board? Perhaps another site? I'm also considering carrying my son's gear or just have him use a day pack. Between my wife and I we could carry the heavy items. I saw a young guy followed by a girl who only had on a day hike pack. He must have had all their gear. Maybe that would work out so he could go? Thanks.

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#151483 - 06/14/11 01:50 PM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: rm56]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
I would get in touch with the Sierra Club. Here is the website for the Norther Cal Chapter-
http://motherlode.sierraclub.org/
They organize all kinds of outings and will likely know where almost every trail and campsite is in the area. Also, the people who work at REI are usually hikers and campers, so they often know where to go.
I would also look online for websites for Northern Cal. If you Google "northern california hiking trails" a lot of sites pop up.
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#151523 - 06/15/11 11:37 AM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: TomD]
rm56 Offline
member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 60
Loc: Northern CA, Placer co.
Tom, Thanks, I sent a message to the Sierra Club. I think I found a great place to go this weekend. Its not too far to drive, it has two hike/bike walkin camps that are first come first served. Theres Bear lockers (so we don't have to rent a can). I called them up yesterday, the guy told me we could park on the road for free then walk in 1/4 mile to the site. There's also two lakes there, a historical site and guided scavenger hunts for kids. Sounds perfect for us. Oh and my wife likes the part about showers and a toilet LOL. Yeah a far cry from real backpacking, but this way I can show them how to use the gear. The funny part is I've driven by it several times and never even considered it. Thanks again for the tips folks, I'll let you know how it goes.

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#151561 - 06/16/11 01:05 PM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: rm56]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 829
Loc: Torrance, CA
Tom Sienstra's book would be an excellent resource for you:

http://www.tomstienstra.com/books-html/cal-camp.html

I don't have my copy on me right now, but he lists many walk-in campsites. These are usually campsites that are a short distance from the parking lot (1/4 - 1 mile). It is usually over flat ground so I think it would be perfect for you needs.

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#151573 - 06/16/11 07:30 PM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: BZH]
rm56 Offline
member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 60
Loc: Northern CA, Placer co.
BZH, I took a look at that book. Thanks it might be a resource for places we have overlooked, forgotten about or never heard of. I'm born and raised here, and I have found a few "small jewels" with just a little looking. We are heading out again in the morning. I own a F-150 and right now my Four Wheel popup camper is in my driveway. I'm 54 and love my boat and small camper, but I want to show my family the fun of having your "home" on your back and maybe going somewhere were not everyone can go. Does that sound crazy? I have not named our destination on purpose, its actually not far from an interstate. But from what I can see on line, it is a very beautiful park. I'll report on it next week. Thanks again.

RM

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#151612 - 06/17/11 11:06 PM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: rm56]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
No, not crazy in theory, but if it prevents you from going out at all, then yeah, crazy it is. I like to winter camp and I've only gone to two places, Yosemite a few times and up above Palm Springs, where I took the tram up then skied into the forest. I could have done it on snowshoes as well. At Yosemite, I parked at Badger Pass and then skied or snowshoed down the road. Was I out in the wilderness? Not really, but once the day snowshoers were done, I may as well have been almost anywhere with snow from the pictures I took.

My point is, the "adventure" you have is all in your perspective.
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Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#151619 - 06/18/11 07:00 AM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: TomD]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I'll second that. I tend to avoid nearby state parks during the summer, when they're jammed with vacationers, day users, and cars. But when it gets cold, they're a delight, even with roads and buildings to encounter occasionally. When you've got the whole place to yourself, even a couple thousand acres of forest can be paradise.

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#151698 - 06/20/11 12:54 PM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: Glenn]
rm56 Offline
member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 60
Loc: Northern CA, Placer co.
We stayed at Donner Memorial State Park. I had been by there many times on the way to Tahoe or Reno. Our original plan had been to park out on the road and then walk to a hike and bike site which are first come there. We drove up Friday morning, you can park on the nearby roads free, but I found out from two people working there that many cars had been broken into by creeps. They trashed one guys car just for the change he had in his console..nice. I decided to pay more and get a car camp site where I could watch my truck. We hiked to Donner Lake, checked out the museum about the ill fated Donner party of 1846. And I fished a little in a stream. I also hiked up Cold River Canyon and got video of a train going through the pass (I like trains). We drove to Trukee on Sunday for lunch. I saw several people packing big black square looking things on their backs. I did not ask them what they were, but they were huge. My guess, some kind of shelter or raft. They looked like a folding table from a distance? We had a good time, I got to show my family how to use some of our gear even though we did not pack in like we had planned originally. I hope my son's scout troop plans a trip he can do. And I would like to check out that book you mentioned about places to hike. One final note, due to my son's condition we picked up a disabled discount pass. Good for half off on all state park fees.
R


Edited by rm56 (06/20/11 12:59 PM)

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#151713 - 06/20/11 07:38 PM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: rm56]
Steadman Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 510
Loc: Virginia
Something to think about... and I don't know the extent of your son's disabilities, so it may not be appropriate... there are troops that are organized to serve special needs kids.

A discussion with one of the Scout Executives at your council might be a big help on this to see if there is (a) one near you and (b) if you son would fit in with the kids in the troop.

Sounds like you had a great trip!!

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#151729 - 06/21/11 01:20 AM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: rm56]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Those were probably rock climbers. They go practice and take those "crash pads" to put at the bottoms of the shorter faces.
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#151731 - 06/21/11 02:47 AM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: rm56]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
That's exactly where I suggested you go and where I suspected you went before reading your last post. wink
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#151733 - 06/21/11 09:09 AM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: rm56]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By rm56
I got to show my family how to use some of our gear even though we did not pack in like we had planned originally.


Heck, don't worry about the car camping - you got out! the more you get out, the better it gets.

move on from using the gear to short trips. heck, find a place with "walk in" campsites where you pack the stuff a few hundred meters from the car. you needn't go that far.
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#151791 - 06/22/11 12:51 PM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: sarbar]
rm56 Offline
member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 60
Loc: Northern CA, Placer co.
I have a set of free weights, last night we both started working out. I had him just do the bar at first with no weights on it, about 25 lbs. Then I had him do some leg extentions both front and back and helpped him do 10 crunches on my sit up bench. He did real good and I was proud of him. We both could stand to loose some pounds around the middle. My wife is a good cook and it shows LOL.

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#151795 - 06/22/11 01:19 PM Re: Beginners with special needs kid. [Re: rm56]
rm56 Offline
member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 60
Loc: Northern CA, Placer co.
I just ordered that book by Tom Stienstra. Hope to find some places not too far away were we can pack to and camp. Last weekend we camped at Donner Lake SP. Its a nice spot with a lot of beautiful hikes. We walked to the Lake and back and the next day I soloed up Cold River Canyon to record one of the trains going through the pass. The river was LOUD! I met a couple from St.Paul on the road back. We talked about the Donner/Reed party. Too bad they did not know how to ice fish for trout? They made too many bad choices. Starting late, taking the Hastings cutoff, not having tried and true wilderness guides or natives with them. The base of the monument is 20 feet high to show were the snow was in 1846. When you stand there it kind of gives you goose bumps. No one could get through snow that deep. Thanks for all the tips and have a nice summer.
Rick

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