Haha yes, I did the Monkman Lake hike last summer as well with a friend (linear, 56km or so round trip). We hiked right to the lake the first day, then on the way back we checked out the falls of the Cascades and camped on the river 7km from the Monkman Park campground, then the next day we made it all the way back, and checked out Kinuseo Falls on the way home.
Kinuseo Falls and the camp on the river (7km out from park campground) would make for good day trips with the kids, for sure. We're hoping to do that this year, as well as Bergeron Falls.
It sure helps when you have experienced hikers to mentor you, so I'm envious.. I haven't met up with anybody like that around here, though I keep saying I'm going to go on a hike with the Caledonia Ramblers out of PG one of these days..
We should get together!
I tried packing stuff in a smaller pack (an Arteryx 50L), but it never worked for me. The pack wasn't as comfortable (stingier on shoulder and hip strap padding), and it was a huge hassle getting anything out of it, narrow and stuffed to bursting as it was.. So I'm stuck with my old Lowe Alpine 65L for now.. I've cut down on alot of heavy crap that I'll never use, though (hatchet, multi-tool, etc), but then I've added other stuff (Steripen, GPS, collapsable saw, FA kit), so..