Skip to content

Westy Trip 2016

August 24, 2016

In June we headed out on our fifth annual Westy Trip! For this trip we did something a bit different from previous trips, we still camped in our Westy with the boys and the dogs but we also tried our hand at backpacking. Sam and I did a fair bit of backpacking before kids and we took a few trips with Oliver when he was a baby/toddler but this was our first time truly backpacking as a family. We stocked up on gear and lightweight yet non-perishable food and were ready to hit the trail…

Day 1: It took us awhile to get packed up but we finally took off mid-day on our 2016 Westy Trip. The drive to the Lake Tahoe area was pretty uneventful and we made it to the Silver Creek Campground just in time to build a fire and go to bed.

Lesson Learned: Packing always takes longer than expected!


Day 2: Woke up to the pitter patter of rain on the Westy so instead of cooking breakfast at the campsite we headed to a yummy restaurant for brunch and Bloody Mary’s, yum! That fueled us up nicely for a hike to the Donner Summit Train Tunnels, a several miles-long stretch of abandoned train tunnels that you can hike through.  It’s a bit spooky walking down the dark tunnels and there is a lot of graffiti to admire. 

P1170724P1170758 P1170764P1170760

We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and getting ready for a big race Sam was running in the morning.


Lesson Learned: The first few days of any long trip are often filled with buying all the little things that you forgot to pack. On our list: bike lock, small bucket, and Parmesan cheese.

Day 3: Father’s Day and the Broken Arrow Sky Race. Sam woke up super early to run and the boys and I had a leisurely morning at the campsite before driving up to Squaw Valley to see the race.


While we waited for Sam to finish we visited with friends, played mini golf, and had frozen yogurt! Not a bad way to spend the afternoon.




Here comes Sam!


Lesson Learned:  It’s pretty hard packing up camp all by myself, but I can do it! Oh yeah, and Sam didn’t do too bad in his race either! 

Day 4: Packed up, stocked up, and headed to one of our favorite places, Bowman!


We met friends and headed over to the creek for some good old fashioned cliff jumping. After spending the afternoon swimming in the cool water and sunning ourselves on the rocks we hiked back to camp for dinner.


Lesson Learned: Actually, I now know how to cook foil wrapped potatoes and at least one kid liked them!

Day 5: Said goodbye to our friends and got dropped off at Sawmill Lake. We headed down Canyon Creek for an awesome adventure full of scrambling over the rock, bushwhacking,  swimming, and even getting attacked by yellow jackets.


Lesson Learned: Getting attacked by yellow jackets lends itself to hours of looking up said insects in our field guides.

Day 6: Packed up camp and got ready for our first backpacking trip as a family! Said goodbye to Bowman and drove the long bumpy ride back to civilization.


Put our packs on and headed out on our hike to Loch Leven Lakes. For our first trip, we didn’t pick the easiest hike! Three miles mainly up hill with lots of switchbacks. There were some complaints and a few tears, but the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and the bag full of M&Ms helped motivate everyone up the hill and we finally made it to Middle Loch Leven lake just in time to set up camp and make dinner and a fire.




Lesson Learned: There is nothing that chocolate can’t fix!

Day 7: The croaking of the Pacific Chorus frogs kept us up during the night but we woke up to a beautiful sight! A calm blue mountain lake all to ourselves. 


We introduced the boys to the marvel that is instant oatmeal and headed out on a day hike to Upper Loch Leven, which was the perfect spot to have lunch and jump in the lake to get refreshed. Spent the afternoon hanging out in the tent playing card games and reading.



Lesson Learned: Swimming in a clear, cold lake while backpacking can almost make you feel clean.

Day 8: Packed up camp before heading back down to the Westy! Overall I think our first backpacking trip was a success. There was a bit of complaining but the boys were troopers and hiked like champs.



It was a busy weekend near Lake Tahoe and we were lucky to get a site at William Kent Campground which was luckily right next door to our favorite cafe, where we had a delicious lunch and introduced the boys to the concept of eating a huge meal after a backpacking trip. Then it was time to relax at the campground, eat a small dinner, and go to bed.

Lesson Learned: Food after a backpacking trip is always the best!

Day 9: Errands day….always ends up taking longer than expected. We had breakfast at our favorite Fire Sign Cafe (yes, that’s right, three times in one week) and drove to south Lake Tahoe. We planned on doing something fun with the kids there, but settled on showing them where we got married (almost exactly 12 years ago), eating ice cream, and watching the gondola at Heavenly.  Drove the beautiful drive to Silver Lake and spent the afternoon hanging out at the campsite and doing laundry.



Lesson Learned: When in doubt, go to the Fire Sign Cafe!


Day 10: The boys had a blast fishing and hanging out at the campground (there was lots to do!) so we spent a leisurely morning playing and packing up for our next backpacking trip. That’s right! We went for it again. After lunch we hiked the 1.5 mile to Shealor Lake, a quiet little lake perfect for swimming and learning about leeches.



Lesson Learned: LEECHES!!!! 

Day 11: Our 12th Anniversary! We weren’t sure if we would spend one night or two at Shealor Lake, but after playing around in the lake we decided mid-morning to pack up and head out. I’m glad that we did since when we got into cell reception we learned that my mom had been admitted to the hospital in Europe where she lives (she’s ok now, phew!). So we drove home to recharge, do laundry, and celebrate our anniversary with a yummy meal and movie night with the kids.

Lesson Learned: We ended up cutting our trip short because my mom was hospitalized and although we had planned on doing more camping and hopefully more backpacking, in the end it ended up being a perfectly wonderful trip, full of new adventures, with just enough excitement to keep us on our toes, but not so long that we got sick of camping!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: