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.

December 17, 2014 Crater rim, Mount St. Helens.

My Top 10 Family Adventures

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skiing   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   7 Comments

By Michael Lanza

How many outdoor trips do you have on the calendar for 2015 already? I have four, with others in active planning stages. For me, this is the time of year for pulling out maps and guidebooks and poring over my list of adventures I want to take. My document slugged “Trip Ideas” is now 15,234 words long, and growing. I need to get busy—and so do you. To help you out with ideas and inspiration for next year, here are my Top 10 Family Adventures at The Big Outside, ranging from climbing Mount St. Helens to backpacking in the Grand Canyon and cross-country skiing in Yellowstone. Continue reading →

December 9, 2014 Tonto East Trail, Grand Canyon

Ask Me: Where Should Our Family Backpack in the Grand Canyon?

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Dear Michael,

My wife and I take our kids to Ketchum every summer and became fans of your site by finding your great recommendations and tips for the White Cloud Mountains. We are now planning a trip for our kids’ spring break beginning of April 2015 to the Grand Canyon. Our kids are 13 and 14 and are accustomed to multi-day backcountry hikes in the White Clouds and Sawtooths, with 2000+-foot elevation gains. We were seriously considering your suggested four-day trip east to west from Grandview Point to the South Kaibab Trail, but I just noticed that you have also recommended that to someone else on your Ask Me section in response to a request for a “big dayhike.” We don’t want to kill ourselves with an unreasonable pace, but I don’t want to allocate four days for a trip that my kids could reasonably do in two or three. Do you have any advice for what might be the best way to do this, or whether there is an alternate route you would suggest?

Continue reading →

December 3, 2014 Trekking the Alta Via 2 in Parco Naturale Paneveggio Pale di San Martino, Dolomite Mountains, Italy.

10 Favorite Photos From 2014 Adventures

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, Hut Treks, International Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   5 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Was 2014 a good year for you? After poring through thousands of photos I shot on more than a dozen trips this year, including return visits to iconic national parks like Yosemite and Zion, and a couple of adventures that have been on my to-do list for years—backpacking the Timberline Trail around Mount Hood and trekking in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains—I picked my 10 favorite images of the year. I’ll write about these trips in upcoming stories at The Big Outside. For now, let these pictures give you a little inspiration to make 2015 a great year outdoors. Continue reading →

November 30, 2014 Scrambling to the summit of Mount Heyburn.

Photo Gallery: Idaho’s Sawtooth Wilderness

In Backpacking, Climbing, Family Adventures, Hiking   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

When can you claim to know a mountain range well? How do you know? Maybe it’s once you have spent enough time—certainly measured in years, and probably decades—that you have explored beyond the most accessible and popular spots to the obscure, unknown corners; when you have hiked most of its trails; when you unfold a map and it takes several minutes to tick off for someone all the places you have visited.

That’s a good start, anyway.

 

 

Continue reading →

November 5, 2014 Horseshoe Mesa, Grand Canyon National Park.

A Matter of Perspective: A Father-Daughter Hike in the Grand Canyon

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By Michael Lanza

The New Hance Trail starts out hard, and then gets really tough. The rugged footpath drops off the South Rim into the Grand Canyon like a ball rolling off a table—4,422 vertical feet in 6.5 miles from the rim to the Colorado River. Most of that relief comes in the first five miles, as the trail wiggles through more switchbacks than a squirrel racks up in a year of crossing streets. Geology magnifies the unmaintained path’s grueling character: It drops over hundreds of knee-jarring, quad-jellying ledges two to three feet high, which can seem endless to someone carrying a backpack.

I imagine it seems especially endless to someone who stands barely more than four-and-a-half feet tall. Continue reading →

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