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Old 09-20-2018, 12:24 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 127
Overnighter in Tongue Range

Or, why my kids hated me for a while!

I took my 3 kids, ages 11, 11, 9 for a one night overnighter in the Tongue Range. We took off when they got out of school on Tuesday, 9/18. Parked at the Clay Meadows lot and hiked up to the Fifth Peak lean-to area to camp overnight. Originally I had planned on hiking around a little yesterday (Wednesday) and maybe doing another peak on the Tongue Range, but discretion the better part of valor, decided we'd have a slow morning with leisurely breakfasts and wait to see the view when the fog lifted, and just hike back down from 5th to the car.

Gaia GPS has it at exactly 3.0 miles and a vertical gain of 1450', none of the gain within the first half mile. Basically, it ended up being too much of a 'climb' for two of the kids, we had to take a lot of breaks and ended up getting to the peak when it was getting VERY dusky. The cool part of the hike on the way up was that my youngest realized that a barred owl was looking down on us at one point, and the owl ended up flying ahead of us for about 5 'leapfrog' cycles as we walked along the trail.

Yesterday the view was very socked in from fog early, but we hung out and ate chili mac and pbj wraps, and the kids hung out at the couple great viewing spots from Fifth Peak while the fog was burning off, finally being able to see Black Mtn across the lake, and down to (I think) Bolton and the rest of the Range back behind the lean-to later in the AM. There were a couple of hawks hunting on the ridge for a while, later we saw them riding the thermals between the lake and the ridge.

We took our sweet time getting back down, since we had all day to return to the car. We saw a bunch of newts, toads, and two garter snakes on the way back down. Alas, NO rattlesnakes and no bears.

After having been pretty miserable on the way up due to the elevation gain and having a relatively short timeframe, all 3 kids were pretty thrilled with the experience on the way down, and with the trip overall. I think they'd even do it again!

Next time, if we are backpacking with either a short available time frame, or want to be close to home (or both), I think I would and should have chosen to do something like the Dacy Clearing to Fishbrook Pond trail. That hike looks to be 2.5 miles and around 850' gain, which would have been better given the time constraints. Even accounting for the possibility of not being able to park at Dacy, and parking at Hogtown instead, I think we would have been ok.

Edit add: or we could go to Lapland or Millman ponds coming from the Black Mtn. trailhead. Maybe next time...

Last edited by webby459; 09-20-2018 at 01:50 PM..
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