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 5, 2014 Horseshoe Mesa, Grand Canyon National Park.

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

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   8 Comments

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 →

October 19, 2014 Whitewater rafting Idaho's Payette River.

How I Get Outdoors… A Lot

In Family Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   1 Comment

As we paddle toward yet another class III whitewater rapid on Idaho’s Payette River, my 13-year-old son, Nate, in the kayak ahead of me, looks over his shoulder and calls out, “Dad, just follow my line.” Then he deftly steers his boat into a foaming pileup of waves, disappears briefly in the trough between two big rollers, and then emerges a moment later, upright and plowing forward through a wave train into the calmer waters beyond the rapid. Continue reading →

October 16, 2014 Ouzel Lake, Wild Basin, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

The 5 Rules About Kids I Broke While Backpacking in Rocky Mountain National Park

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, National Park Adventures, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   5 Comments

By Michael Lanza

“I’m dying!” my son, Nate, bellowed to the entire forest in the Wild Basin of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. “This pack is too heavy!” We were just 30 minutes up the trail at the outset of a three-day backpacking trip. It was a trip that seemed like an unmitigated disaster for the first two days—then morphed into an adventure my kids remember fondly, and that helped expand their outdoor interests.

For me, those three days in Rocky serve as a reminder about the many ways you can do it wrong when taking kids outdoors, but how simple and easy it is to make it right. Continue reading →

October 8, 2014 Arches National Park, Utah.

Ask Me: What Should We Do on a Trip to Colorado, Yellowstone, and the Southwest?

In Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment

Hi Michael,

I’ve been a fan of your blog for a while now, and I really enjoy it. I’ve got three boys that range from 16 to six, so finding things to do that all three can enjoy is a bit of a challenge. My wife and I are in the planning stages of a two-week trip next year out West. We’re looking at trip starting right before Memorial Day and then running though the 15th of June. We’re thinking of flying out to Denver and using that as a start/stop point for trips out to Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone, etc. The only concern that I have is that it’s a little early in the year and there’s going to be snow still around, limiting some of our hiking options. Another thought I’d had was to head to Mesa Verde and see that park. Any suggestions about weather or options I’m missing? Continue reading →

September 29, 2014

Ask Me: How Old Were Your Kids When You Started Taking Big Trips?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

Hi Michael,

We have a newly turned six-year old, a three-and-a-half-year-old, and I’m expecting! How old were your kids when you started doing “big” trips with them? By big I mean hiking and camping for multiple nights, etc.

Sara
Huntsville, AL Continue reading →

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