Category Archives: Ask Me

I answer reader questions about hiking, backpacking, gear, or any topic or trip I write about at The Big Outside. Send me your questions to mlanza@thebigoutside.com.

July 8, 2014 Gunsight Pass Trail, Glacier National Park.

Ask Me: How to Grab a Hard-to-Get Permit For Backpacking Glacier’s Gunsight Pass Trail

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Michael,

Hope you are well. I was inspired by your Gunsight Lake trip with the family in Glacier National Park and was planning on backpacking there in August with a friend. While I have confirmed air travel, hotel, two-night Sperry Chalet and workshop reservations, I just found out that my advance mail-in reservation for Gunsight Lake and Lake Ellen Wilson campgrounds have been denied.

I arrive on Day 1 to Kalispell at 2 p.m. local time, so have a bit of time to see if I can snag one of the potentially open walk-in spots. But having never done this before, I am not sure if that is a realistic option. Any advice to offer? Continue reading →

July 1, 2014 The Teton Crest Trail n Death Canyon Shelf, Grand Teton N.P.

Ask Me: Can You Suggest a Backpacking Trip in the Tetons That Won’t Be Hard to Get a Permit For?

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Michael,

I enjoy your website—lots of good stuff on there. I’m planning on doing the Teton Crest Trail from the tram [at Jackson Hole Resort on Rendezvous Mountain] to Cascade Canyon. I had this trip planned last year for the first week in September and we had to cancel. We were going to camp at Marion lake, Death Canyon Shelf, and South Fork Cascade Canyon. So this year all of the permits are gone. I know I could possibly get this permit first-come [up to one day in advance at the park]. For a backup plan, I was thinking of camping outside the park. Maybe the first night just north of Marion Lake and one or two night in Alaska Basin. What are your thoughts on this, and have you ever camped outside the park on the Teton Crest Trail? Continue reading →

June 15, 2014 Ouzel Lake, Wild Basin, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Ask Me: What Are the Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park and Near Breckenridge, CO?

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Michael,

Thank you for continuing to both inform and inspire through The Big Outside. Your efforts are always appreciated.

As I mentioned to you a couple years ago, my wife, daughter and I have been making an annual trip to Rocky Mountain National Park in late August. We love everything about it, but after climbing Longs Peak a couple times, I would like to see some more of the Rockies. As our schedules/work circumstances have recently changed, I have an opportunity to head to Colorado this June by myself. Although I plan to spend a couple days in Estes Park (it is important to me to go back and support the community that has meant so much to me and my family after the devastating flood last September), I would love some suggestions on getting the most out of the other 4-5 days. Continue reading →

June 5, 2014 The "diving board," summit of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park.

Ask Me: Is Early June Too Early For Hiking Mount Whitney and in Yosemite?

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Michael,

My wife and I, mid-30s, are planning a getaway week (from our kids 3 and 5) for the first week of June. We’ve booked cheap round-trip flights from Cleveland (900’ above sea level) to Las Vegas. I scored permits to overnight on Mount Whitney June 8-9. Our itinerary includes Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite, hike to Cathedral Lakes (or beyond), backpack over Clouds Rest, camp near junction with John Muir Trail. Half Dome early a.m., descend Mist Trail to Yosemite Valley. Free Day in Yosemite (North Rim dayhike?). Summit Whitney. Continue reading →

May 22, 2014 New Hance Trail, Grand Canyon.

Ask Me: Which Boots Do You Recommend for Backpacking, Heavier or Lighter?

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Michael,

This is a great, straightforward review [of the La Sportiva Thunder III GTX boots]. I was just looking at these boots and I am strongly considering them based on your review. I am torn between these Thunder III GTX and the La Sportiva Hyper Mid GTX. Perhaps you can provide some insight or guidance based on your experience with both boots. My primary activity will be backpacking, carrying 30 to 40 lbs., 10 to 15 miles per day in south-central Alaska. The terrain is just about as mixed as you can get: sharp rocks, sand, mud, roots, tundra, steep alpine, scree, creeks, etc. Continue reading →

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