solo boys camping

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gswan
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solo boys camping

Post by gswan » Feb 22 2013 10:41 am

A friend and I are wanting to give our 2 13 year old boys a "coming of age" solo for 48 hours. I have hiked Sedona and other areas many times but am not very familiar with other places. WE are hoping to give them a SAFE experience but with a sense of being alone together - near a river or stream so they can bathe, fish etc. Some have discouraged me from doing this but I would cherish this experience for my son -despite the naysayers. If you have some ideas in Coconino Forest or Verde River or Superstition or Mcdowell Mountains I would love to hear from you.

many thanks Graeme Swan

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SpiderLegs
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Re: solo boys camping

Post by SpiderLegs » Feb 22 2013 11:09 am

What a great idea, sounds like something out of the "Dangerous Book For Boys". One of my old employers in college grew up a mile or two south of where Shaw Butte and North Mountain are back in the 50's. He told me that he and his friends would ride their bikes up 7th Avenue or Central with a .22, a tent and a night's provisions to go hunt and camp up where the North Mountain Preserve is now. Boys don't get to experience things like that anymore. Hope you can find a good spot for them.
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chumley
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Re: solo boys camping

Post by chumley » Feb 22 2013 11:13 am

The location would depend on the time of year you are planning on sending them out there.

My recommendation would be to send them somewhere that you have all been to together before so they are familiar with their location and surroundings. A "warm-up" trip where you go along, but let them lead the way and make the decisions may also be a good idea, depending on their level of experience with backpacking and hiking in Arizona.

If the weather is warmer, a good plan might be the Horton Creek Trail. There are places to camp on the east side of the creek, while the trail is on the west side. It will give them the opportunity to be a little bit away from people who are day hiking, but still close to a very well-traveled trail that features the safety of easy access. Unfortunately, the creek here is shallow and doesn't offer too much in the way of fishing or bathing.
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Tough_Boots
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Re: solo boys camping

Post by Tough_Boots » Feb 22 2013 11:21 am

Bathing? :D
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nonot
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Re: solo boys camping

Post by nonot » Feb 22 2013 1:36 pm

Cave Creek and Superstitions will be nice until maybe late April. Cave creek will have more water than the superstitions after another month. Verde River camping, such as near Sheep Bridge is pretty remote, but obviously would have water. There's more bears there though. Areas of the Highline trail are nice, but avoid Horton Springs as it gets pretty rowdy. Like Chumley suggests - along the trail before you get to Horton Springs would be better. Camping out at at trailhead at See Canyon is pretty nice, and gives an easy bail out option (drive to the campsite), they could pack in there from 260TH or perhaps the Horton Springs TH.

I would be more concerned about whether your boys are experienced in navigation? Getting lost and taking a wrong turn will be the biggest issue. A practice trip might be useful.
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DBmooner
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Re: solo boys camping

Post by DBmooner » Feb 22 2013 3:11 pm

west clear creek is a nice place might be a little cool right now but you are able to camp close to the creek and fish and if you go deep enough in the canyon you dont really see very many people. haunted canyon is a nice one too it is short but parts of the trail are over grown and the creek only runs for a couple weeks after a good rain
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rally_toad
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Re: solo boys camping

Post by rally_toad » Feb 23 2013 1:19 am

So am I the only one on this forum who has met multiple 13 year olds?? Lots of recent posts on HAZ have me thinking "Natural Selection". Sorry guys but 13 is not coming of age, I can say this looking back at 13 year old rally_toad. There is a world of difference between 13 and say 16. Wait a few years or risk some child endangerment charges.
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azbackpackr
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Re: solo boys camping

Post by azbackpackr » Feb 23 2013 6:41 am

I respectfully disagree with rally toad, although I do see his point. Maybe he's right that in today's world people don't generally let their kids do things like that. Remember the big deal in the news a while back about the 9 year old kid who was riding the subway in NY by himself? I remember thinking, "Huh, what's the problem with that?" When I was a kid, lots of kids rode buses and subways all the time. It was just what you did. When I was 13 I went to Europe with my parents. I remember in Copenhagen, by the second day, being thoroughly tired of moldy old art museums. I complained. I wanted to go to the zoo! They gave me bus money and a map, and off I went, on the bus, in a foreign country where not everyone speaks English. No big deal. I took the right buses (yes, I had to transfer), got to the zoo, saw the animals, took the correct buses back to the hotel. And remember, there were no cell phones back then, either!

Not all 13 year olds have the same level of maturity. So, this guy wants his to go camping. I think he knows his kid better than we do, and has probably already thought out all the possibilities. If he wants more of a leash on the kids, maybe find a place where there IS cell coverage. Or camp nearby, within a mile or so.
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RedRoxx44
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Re: solo boys camping

Post by RedRoxx44 » Feb 23 2013 7:32 am

Come on Alf, I said to my older brother, Lets go climb Mt Peale, the one the cowboys talk about. We asked our folks. It's a long way in a day, said mother. We can camp overnight in that empty cowboy cabin at the mountain said Alfred, who was 11. Yes, said Dad, I'll give you a team of horses to hitch to the old two wheeled cart. Take me too pleaded Melvin, our younger brother who was 6. All right I agreed. I was 8.
Don't let the horses get away or they'll come back home our parents cautioned
From My Canyonlands by Kent Frost. Mt Peale is over 12K and at that time peak access was off trail. The little boys made it drinking from snow melt. A cowboy friend gave them a 44-40 carbine to protect them from bears. 1924.

Ranch kids grew up fast on the responsibility meter. And yes, they went on their own without parents or adult companion.

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big_load
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Re: solo boys camping

Post by big_load » Feb 23 2013 10:18 am

rally_toad wrote:So am I the only one on this forum who has met multiple 13 year olds?? Lots of recent posts on HAZ have me thinking "Natural Selection". Sorry guys but 13 is not coming of age, I can say this looking back at 13 year old rally_toad. There is a world of difference between 13 and say 16. Wait a few years or risk some child endangerment charges.
It could be OK if done right. I did my first backpack at 13 with a friend of the same age. Our parents knew where we were going and when we were coming back. It was somewhere we had been before and friends of theirs lived nearby. It was an experience whose memory I'll cherish forever.

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rally_toad
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Re: solo boys camping

Post by rally_toad » Feb 23 2013 4:02 pm

I just feel like if this does work out it would be a great experience for the boys. However, it takes more on your part then just dropping them off for 48 hours. You should camp nearby for the entirety of the trip. If other hikers run into two 13 year old boys alone the woods questions will be asked, rangers will be called, and you have the potential to get in a lot of trouble. I know as a Ranger if I am hiking in the desert and run into 2 young boys with no adult supervision I would be liable to call dispatch and notify law enforcement rangers.

Also given that the original poster is unfamiliar with a lot of the terrain and regulations in certain areas (backpacking in the McDowells?, bathing/fishing in a creek in the superstions or McDowell Mountains?) I doubt that his children have the ability to read topographic maps, treat water, start a fire responsibly in the desert, etc. I am speaking this as someone who works with children regularly and someone who was 13 a lot more recently than most of you. I was nearing completion of my eagle scout at that age, and I could hike for miles, but looking back I was not responsible enough to plan and carry out a solo backpacking trip at 13.

In response to Big_load... this situation does not seem similar to your experience. The OP lives in Vancouver and is himself asking for information about the terrain, the boys won't be familiar with the area unless several pre-trips are made.

In response to Red_Roxxx... Again these kids grew up on a ranch and were familiar with the terrain as was their family. In this case a poster from BC is asking about the terrain himself and is looking for a camping situation that simply doesn't exist in Arizona. This is 2013. These kids were born in 99 or 2000. I work often with this age group and 99.99% of kids this age are not ready for something like this. I understand that most parents simply believe their child is ultra responsible and nothing would ever happen (the not-my kid syndrome), but this is simply not the case. Visit some 7th grade classrooms and see for yourself.

All in all I think the best case scenario is that OP gets in big trouble because other hikers find it strange that 2 young boys are alone in the wilderness and notify the authorities. Worst case scenario is that something really bad happens.
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RedRoxx44
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Re: solo boys camping

Post by RedRoxx44 » Feb 24 2013 7:24 am

@rally_toad
You have a good point. I know every situation is different, as every person is different in their experience and view of life and it's difficulties. I would hope that the parents know the children in a reasonable light, not clouded over by projecting their desires on the child, or giving into wild whims by the same.

Why does some kid get into technical mountaineering, or do stuff like this regularly http://www.bogley.com/forum/showthread. ... ramid-Peak; yes with dad but my point is you don't see the average 10 year old doing this because they don't get the exposure. Who knows what the background is of these kids of the thread originator?

Caution is always good. Good information is good. Planning is good. And how to you get experience without having the experience?? Personally, I think it would be fun to camp nearby just to see if they could detect you or were totally oblivious to surroundings. Be interesting to move some things around if they walked out from camp and see how observant they were. But that's just my sick sense of humor ( I had this done to me one time when I was young and did not think it funny, but it proved a point.)
Also sort of unrelated us oldsters can remember when you rode horses and bikes without any helmets, pads or anything. I regularly went to school bruised, cut up etc and it wasn't even noticed because most kids were the same. Rode in the back of the old pickup truck with no security ( and bounced off into the road one time when riding on the tailgate over a rough area). Sometimes I think we are overprotective and this leads our kids to be more unprepared to make certain decisions until later on. Sometimes I think some of the rules move in the right direction, given changes in society at this time. My uninformed and useless .02 worth. :D

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johnlp
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Re: solo boys camping

Post by johnlp » Feb 24 2013 7:49 am

If the kids have some outdoor experience, they should be fine for 48 hours in a somewhat controlled situation. I backpacked with friends at that age. I remember my 11 yr old brother not bringing any food on one trip. The other two of us shared and we made due. Good way to learn to be self sufficient. :M2C:
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azbackpackr
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Re: solo boys camping

Post by azbackpackr » Feb 24 2013 8:34 am

A lot of good points here. I hope the original poster will come back and read them all. Sometimes, you know, we get these new members, and they forget to check back.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
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rally_toad
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Re: solo boys camping

Post by rally_toad » Feb 24 2013 9:41 am

@johnlp

Yes my point is that it needs to be in a somewhat controlled situation. There should be adults camping near by, if only for the kids to say "My dad is camping 1/4 mile away" when a hiker approaches them as to what they are doing alone in the backcountry.
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CannondaleKid
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Re: solo boys camping

Post by CannondaleKid » Feb 24 2013 10:06 am

azbackpackr wrote:A lot of good points here.
And a lot of knee-jerk reactions... I say that because the original poster hasn't yet responded with answers to the questions about previous, experience, maturity, etc. Without us being privy to that information we are all shooting in the dark.
azbackpackr wrote:I hope the original poster will come back and read them all.
Why would they want to step into the hornets nest that seems to have sprung up over, heaven-forbid, allowing 13 year-olds to experience camping out overnight?
And what's this about child-abuse?? The original poster doesn't seem to be anything like the old codger who forced the three boys to go without food and water in the Grand Canyon, so let's not paint folks we know nothing about with the same paintbrush. Shame on us!
And further, why would a parent genuinely trying to provide a lesson in self-sufficiency be practically branded as a child abuser?
Especially after the OP posted on such a family-oriented site as HAZ?
Doesn't that tell you they are concerned enough to ask for assistance in providing the right environment for the boys?
azbackpackr wrote: Sometimes, you know, we get these new members, and they forget to check back.
Ha! Forgetting to check back??? I refer back to the hornets nest above. As much as some folks here provided genuine information to assist the objective of the original poster, I daresay there has been as much, if not more negativity in the responses. Why this overkill?

Not to :bdh:
But in a somewhat related new-post thread I felt the same was done to Peter Medal... responding so negatively before even gathering the basic information about him. Yes, I'll agree, my first random thought upon seeing the posting was "this is nuts" but then again, that's simply because I won't even attempt the Mother Lode on a good day. But just because I wouldn't have the skills, the conditioning nor the experience to try it doesn't mean others should not. After all, Four Peaks is not Mt Everest.

How about welcoming new members with possibly a bit more tact, responding to their questions with more of a genuine interest in their quest... in this case, the noble one of teaching some self-sufficiency to an adolescent.

:M2C:
'Nuf said... so I guess it's time I jump off the :SB:
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SuperstitionGuy
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Re: solo boys camping

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Feb 24 2013 10:31 am

The kids would most likely be safer in the wilderness for two days without adult supervision than left at home without adult supervision with a computer that can view anything available on the web. :scared:

Just saying...... :M2C:
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Sredfield
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Re: solo boys camping

Post by Sredfield » Feb 24 2013 11:04 am

RedRoxx44 wrote:
Ranch kids grew up fast on the responsibility meter. And yes, they went on their own without parents or adult companion.
This post reminded me of the book "Footprints on the Arizona Strip" and the stories about kids growing up fast. They'd all be in jail for child abuse in today's world, but like you say, they had to grow up fast for the whole family to survive.
Last edited by Sredfield on Feb 24 2013 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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outdoor_lover
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Re: solo boys camping

Post by outdoor_lover » Feb 24 2013 11:07 am

@CannondaleKid
Welcome back Mark! :D
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gummo
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Re: solo boys camping

Post by gummo » Feb 24 2013 11:31 am

Aravaipa Canyon would be a good place to do the solo camping trip. It's along a stream that's walkable and shallow, but I don't think you can fish there. It's an 11-mile stretch of wilderness and it's a hard place to get lost. The dangers to Aravaipa is drowning and mountain lions and rattlesnakes. There's no phone service, also, but it's rich with wildlife and very scenic, and they would get hooked on nature if they did it. I recommend you seeing Aravaipa for yourself and see if it is appropriate for them.

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