Category Archives: Family Adventures

Stories, photos, and videos from our family’s many wilderness adventures hiking, backpacking, skiing, kayaking, rafting, and climbing, including in many U.S. national parks.

July 1, 2015 Below David O. Lee Peak, Big Boulder Lakes, White Cloud Mountains, Idaho.

Great Trip: Backpacking to the Big Boulder Lakes in Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains

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By Michael Lanza

Tucked away deep in the White Cloud Mountains of central Idaho, the Big Boulder Lakes, a cluster of more than a dozen larger lakes and myriad tiny tarns, lie scattered like a handful of seeds cast to the ground in a basin above 9,000 feet, where copses of spruce and fir trees speckle an otherwise barren landscape of rock and dirt. The backdrop to the lakes, the White Cloud Peaks form a long ridge of chalk-like rock rising to well over 11,000 feet, scraping jagged edges against a brilliantly blue sky. I had heard other avid backpackers rave about this area, but when I finally backpacked in there with my son, the place far exceeded any description of it. Continue reading →

June 30, 2015 Hiking below the Pale di San Martino on a hut-to-hut trek through Italy's Dolomites.

One Photo, One Story: Trekking Italy’s Dolomite Mountains

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By Michael Lanza

My family’s weeklong, hut-to-hut trek through northern Italy’s Dolomite Mountains started out with mind-blowing scenery, and each day seemed to bring even better views than the day before. On our fifth day, which began with a cable-car ride up one mountain, we walked a trail below the sheer limestone cliffs of a group of peaks known as the Pale di San Martino, in Paneveggio Pale di San Martino Nature Park.
Continue reading →

June 29, 2015 Sue Lake, Glacier National Park.

My 10 Most-Read Adventure Stories

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By Michael Lanza

Like anyone who runs a blog and website, I keep track of which stories generate the most interest among my readers—including which destinations and outdoor adventures they most want to read about. And I realize that you, my readers, may be curious to know what other visitors to The Big Outside are reading. Using my blog’s current analytics data, I produced this top 10 list of the most-read stories about trips I’ve taken, with a link to each full story at The Big Outside.

I have to say, it’s a pretty darn good list of adventure trips. Read on and see for yourself.

Continue reading →

June 28, 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 →

June 24, 2015 Johns Hopkins Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.

Photo Gallery: Sea Kayaking Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park

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By Michael Lanza

When John Muir visited Alaska’s Glacier Bay in 1879, he wrote that, at night, “the surge from discharging icebergs churned the water into silver fire.” On a five-day, guided sea-kayaking trip in the upper West Arm of Glacier Bay, probing deep within a national park the size of Connecticut, my family explored a wilderness that remains one of the few places left on Earth that resemble what the planet looked like right after the last Ice Age. We saw sea otters, seals, sea lions, mountain goats, bald eagles, puffins, and countless other birds, and a brown bear wandering the beach (as well as bear scat that convinced us to choose another campsite). We listened to the concussive explosions of enormous chunks of ice calving from giant glaciers into the sea. I consider it one of my top 10 adventures ever, and our campsite for two nights on Johns Hopkins Inlet is one of my 25 favorite backcountry campsites. Continue reading →

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