Category Archives: Backpacking

Stories and images from the best backpacking trips in America and around the world, with trip-planning advice based on my personal, on-the-ground knowledge from having done the trip.

January 23, 2015 Ramona Falls, Timberline Trail, Mount Hood, Oregon.

One Photo, One Story: Mount Hood’s Timberline Trail

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By Michael Lanza

On the final morning of a backpacking trip last August on the 41-mile Timberline Trail around Oregon’s 11,250-foot Mount Hood, I woke early to find a thick, Pacific Northwest morning fog enveloping the absolutely silent forest surrounding us on the mountain’s west slope. After packing up camp, I walked a few minutes to the base of 120-foot Ramona Falls, an enchanting, broad curtain of water that tumbles over scores of small ledges, giving it a complex, sculpted appearance, and I shot this slow-exposure photo of myself standing in a shower of mist at the waterfall’s base. Continue reading →

January 21, 2015 Sea kayaking Johns Hopkins Inlet in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.

Looking For A Great National Park Trip? Look Here

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By Michael Lanza

When I think about U.S. national parks, I remember hiking with my family to Yosemite Valley’s waterfalls. Seeing Yellowstone’s geysers both in summer (a great park trip with young kids) and cross-country skiing in winter. Sea kayaking in Alaska’s majestic Glacier Bay (lead photo above). Exploring the canyons and gazing in awe at the sculptured rock of southern Utah’s Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands. And numerous, incomparable backpacking trips in Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Yosemite, Mount Rainier, Sequoia, North Cascades, Rocky Mountain, Great Sand Dunes, and, of course, Glacier. Continue reading →

January 19, 2015 Jacob Hamblin Arch, Coyote Gulch, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah.

10 Tips For Keeping Kids Happy and Safe Outdoors

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By Michael Lanza

Some people might say my wife and I are bad parents. We’ve repeatedly and deliberately placed our kids—at young ages—in risky situations. And I’m not talking about letting them ride their bikes without wearing helmets (which, admittedly, would be insane) or frequently taking them to McDonald’s (and what kind of parent would do that?!).

I’m talking about setting out with seven- and four-year-old kids to cross-country ski through a snowstorm for hours to a backcountry yurt. Tying a six-year-old into a rope and letting him or her rock climb a cliff. Rappelling into slot canyons. Backpacking into the remotest and most rugged wildernesses in the contiguous United States, from the Grand Canyon to the Tetons to Glacier National Park. Continue reading →

January 13, 2015 Cross-country skiing the Rim Trail, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park.

Photo Gallery: 11 National Parks, One Year

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By Michael Lanza

Backpacking in the Grand Canyon, Glacier, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, North Cascades, and Olympic national parks. Hiking to Yosemite’s waterfalls. Paddling the Everglades and sea kayaking Glacier Bay. Rock climbing in Joshua Tree, and cross-country skiing in Yellowstone (lead photo, at top). In one magical year, we took 11 national park adventures with our kids, sharing experiences that expanded their understanding of their world, times filled with joy and wonder. Continue reading →

January 12, 2015 Wallowa Mountains, Oregon.

12 Pro Tips For Staying Warm Outdoors in Winter

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By Michael Lanza

Staying warm and comfortable while Nordic or backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking in winter is a constant challenge—we sweat, our bodies and clothes get damp, then we get cold. But it’s not impossible. In fact, as someone who runs hot when moving and cools off quickly—and who gets cold fingers very easily—I’ve learned some tricks over the years that have made getting outdoors in winter vastly more comfortable and enjoyable for me. Follow these tips and you could be more comfortable on cold-weather outdoor adventures, too. Continue reading →

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