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.

November 23, 2015 Royal Arch Loop, Grand Canyon.

Photo Gallery: Backpacking in the Grand Canyon

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By Michael Lanza

A twisting gorge 277 miles long and averaging about 10 miles wide and a mile deep. A national park spanning more than 1.2 million acres. More than 100 named rapids on the Colorado River. The Vishnu Schist comprising the canyon’s inner gorge is some of the oldest exposed rock on Earth, some two billion years old, or about half the age of the planet. Statistics, however impressive, barely begin to describe the experience of hiking down into the canyon. But pictures help, as I think you’ll see in this gallery of photos. Continue reading →

November 12, 2015

Climb Mount Whitney With Me and Help Kids Get Outdoors

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By Michael Lanza

How would you like to join me on a guided, technical climb of the highest peak in the Lower 48, Mount Whitney in California’s High Sierra? I’m happy to report that I’ve partly filled my climbing team—which includes my 15-year-old son, Nate, and me—for a four-day ascent of the Mountaineers Route on Mount Whitney, April 15-18, 2016. We’re doing it to raise money for Big City Mountaineers, an outstanding organization that introduces urban kids to the outdoors through backpacking and other adventure-based programs.

But I still have slots left on my climbing team. This is your chance to join me on a guided climb of California’s Mount Whitney. Read on.

Continue reading →

November 10, 2015 Above Olavsbu Hut, Jotunheimen National Park, Norway.

Video: Trekking Hut-to-Hut Across Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park

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By Michael Lanza

Take three minutes right now to daydream about hiking in a wild place half a world away, a rugged, Arctic-looking landscape vibrantly colorful with shrubs, mosses, and wildflowers, where cliffs and mountains look like they were chopped from the earth with an axe. A place where thick, crack-riddled glaciers pour off snow-plastered peaks like pancake batter that needs more water, and wild, braided rivers meander down mostly treeless valleys. Where reindeer are real (but don’t fly—sorry)—and you stay in supremely comfortable huts with excellent food.
Continue reading →

November 9, 2015 Hiking Blahnukur, in Fjallabak Nature Reserve, Iceland.

15 Adventures on Earth That Will Change Your Life

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By Michael Lanza

“Change your life.” That’s a tall order, isn’t it? I mean, how many experiences have that magnitude of impact on you? I can think of several that overhauled my perspective on life, or at the least, expanded how I view the world and other people. Looking at the highest mountains on the planet and walking through villages in Nepal where people live much as their ancestors have for centuries. Seeing the surreal landscapes of Iceland (photo above) and Patagonia. Immersing myself in the mountain culture on hut-to-hut treks through the vertiginous Swiss Alps. Paddling a kayak below jungle-clad cliffs rising 4,000 feet straight out of the sea in New Zealand’s Doubtful Sound, and hiking what’s reputedly the hardest hut trek in that adventure-addicted country, the Dusky Track. And seeing unforgettable mountain ranges like the Scottish Highlands, Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park, and Italy’s Dolomites, and seals, brown bears, and sea lions in Alaska’s Glacier Bay through the unclouded eyes of my kids. Continue reading →

November 5, 2015 Above Crack-in-the-Wall, Coyote Gulch, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah.

Great Trip: Backpacking Coyote Gulch in Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

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By Michael Lanza

Whether you’re an expert desert backpacker, taking a first multi-day hike in the Southwest canyon country, or heading out with your family, the three-day hike of Coyote Gulch has everything you’d want in a canyon trip: soaring, redrock canyon walls that go for miles, surprisingly lush greenery, a year-round creek that saves you from having to carry a lot of water, and relatively easy hiking. Little wonder that this tributary canyon of the Escalante River, in southern Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, has earned a reputation as a classic. Continue reading →

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