High Sierra Trail above Middle Fork Kaweah River, Sequoia National Park.
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Backpacking Sequoia National Park

Jagged peaks, crystalline lakes, giant sequoias, and some of the most amazing campsites in America—that’s what you find on this big loop through Sequoia National Park.

Backpacking Sequoia National Park
Ouzel Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park.
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Backpacking Rocky Mountain National Park

Sometimes a backpacking trip with kids starts all wrong—and ends all right. The 5 rules about getting kids outdoors that I broke in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Backpacking Rocky Mountain National Park
Boulder Chain Lakes, White Cloud Mountains, Idaho.
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A Long Walk Through Idaho’s White Clouds

What’s the meaning of wilderness today? Finding the answer to that question on a one-day, 28-mile hike through Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains.

A Long Walk Through Idaho’s White Clouds

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October 30, 2014 Chimney Rock Canyon, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah.

Ask Me: How Do You Plan Food for Backpacking?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

Hey Michael,

I was wondering if you have any hints or tips for planning out your food for bigger backcountry trips. Food planning is always something I have neglected and I think I could save myself some pack weight and have better meals with a little extra planning and direction (in true Bill Bryson style, I usually stick to noodles when in the bush).

Thanks as always, Michael. I hope you are your family are finding some fun adventures as the weather starts to turn!

Best,
Grant
St. Louis, MO Continue reading →

October 29, 2014 On the rim of Red Crater in Tongariro National Park, North Island.

4 Top Outdoor Adventures in New Zealand

In Backpacking, Hiking, Hut Treks, International Adventures, National Park Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   6 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Have you adventured in New Zealand yet? If not, then why not? Some of my all-time favorite assignments for Backpacker magazine have involved trekking and paddling on this island nation with an amazing bounty of natural beauty and a outdoors-loving culture to match it.

This is the time of year to start planning a visit during the upcoming austral summer; for many trips, you need to make travel arrangements and hut reservations months in advance. I’ve listed below a series of five-star, multi-sport adventures that could fill a two-week (or longer) visit to New Zealand. This itinerary includes dayhiking volcanoes, canoeing a wild river, a hut trek in the Southern Alps, and sea kayaking a remote fjord in the country’s largest national park. Click on the links (or any photo) to read the complete story about each trip. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Osprey Zip 25 Kids Daypack

October 28, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Osprey Zip 25

My son hiking with his Osprey Zip 25 in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains.

Kids Daypack
Osprey Zip 25
$60, 25L/1,526 c.i., 1 lb. 8 oz.
One size, not adjustable (fits children age 8 to 13)
ospreypacks.com

For my family’s seven-day, hut-to-hut trek through Italy’s Dolomite Mountains, I wanted a daypack for my 13-year-old son that’s comfortable, has the capacity and good organization for his water, clothes, and personal items, and that’s streamlined and stable so it wouldn’t encumber him too much. So I had him test-drive a Zip 25. Continue reading →

October 23, 2014 Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River, Yosemite National Park.

Ask Me: Where Can I Hike in Yosemite in Late Fall?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment

Michael,

First, let me say that I enjoy your trip reports, gear reviews and especially the photographs. I also love kids and your adventures with them are a joy to read. Your website inspires me to want to get out West and experience the wilderness. With that in mind, I have the opportunity to attend a wedding just outside the South Entrance to Yosemite National Park the weekend of Veterans Day. I have never been to Yosemite and I would hate to miss an opportunity to see the sights. I would like to stay a few days after the wedding to hike and possibly backpack. Do you have any suggestions for dayhikes and perhaps someplace to camp? Continue reading →

October 22, 2014 nep3-046-2 Trekkers en route to Thorung La, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

Himalayan Shangri-La: Trekking Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit

In Hiking, Hut Treks, International Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment

[Author’s note: The recent tragedy involving dozens of trekkers dying in a snowstorm on the Annapurna Circuit prompted me to post this story, which I originally wrote for several newspapers, recounting my 17-day trek with my wife (then my fiancée) on one of the world’s classic treks, Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit, in October and November of 1997.]

By Michael Lanza

The old school bus rumbles to life with a painful metallic grinding and we roll forward, our chariot rocking side to side down a rutted, muddy street of a small crossroads town called Dumre in central Nepal. Angling down a hillside, the bus lists heavily to starboard and moves too slowly to escape its own cloud of choking exhaust, which drifts in through the open windows.

As we round a bend, an excited murmur rises among the Western trekkers on board. The bus, still inching forward and lurching violently, is heading straight for a swiftly running, rock-strewn creek. I glance at the Nepalis on the bus, searching for concern in the faces of those who have taken this ride before. They look bored. Continue reading →

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