Category Archives: Hiking

Stories and pictures from my many dayhiking adventures, from family- and beginner-friendly trails to serious ultra-hiking.

November 25, 2015 Backpacking The Narrows, Zion National Park.

Buying Gear? Read This First

In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

Are you in the market for a new pack or boots for hiking or backpacking, or a new tent or sleeping bag? How do you find something that’s just right for you? What should you be looking for? How much should you spend? These are questions I’ve heard from many friends and readers over the years as they’ve waded through the myriad choices that are out there. Here are my five top tips for buying gear that’s right for you, gleaned from lessons I’ve learned from two decades of testing and reviewing gear and helping people find gear they love. Continue reading →

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

15 Adventures on Earth That Will Change Your Life

In Family Adventures, Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

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 4, 2015 South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Ask Me: How’s November For Hiking in the Grand Canyon?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Hi Michael:

During the second week of November, a buddy and I are considering a rim to river to rim hike in the Grand Canyon. We are planning to descend South Kaibab Trail, walk along River Trail, and ascend via Bright Angel Trail. Plan would be to start early and complete the hike in the same day. We will carry survival gear. Neither of us has been to the GC. One of us is very experienced (and in excellent physical condition), and one of us has moderate experience (in very good physical condition).

We would appreciate your comments on hiking in November—weather, trail conditions, and anything else that may assist us. We both prefer not to hike in the wet, and neither of us wants anything to do with snow! Also, if November is the wrong month to do this, we would delay until next year. Continue reading →

November 2, 2015 Hikers on the Chesler Park Trail, Needles District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

5 Great Adventures to Take in 2016

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   6 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Where will you take a big outdoor adventure in 2016? Do you have any plans on the calendar already? Yes, I know it’s only November, it’s dark and cold outside and next year’s trips seem a long way off. But it’s not at all too early to get the trip-planning wheels in motion; in fact, if you’re thinking about a backcountry trip in a popular national park like The Needles District of Canyonlands or the Grand Canyon next spring or Yosemite next summer, the time to apply for a backcountry permit is coming up fast. Continue reading →

November 1, 2015 Trail 47 below Castle Peak, White Cloud Mountains, Idaho.

Why REI’s #OptOutside on Black Friday Matters (and John Muir, Ed Abbey, and Jesus Would Agree)

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skiing   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

REI exploded a supernova in the retail universe when it announced last week that it’s closing all 143 stores on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and won’t process any online purchases until the following day. Employees will get a paid day off and be encouraged to get outside—and many undoubtedly will.

This is very cool if you work for REI, of course. But why should the rest of us care? I believe we should, for reasons that reach beyond REI’s walls, and because it’s good for our kids in ways not immediately obvious. And I think John Muir, Ed Abbey, and Jesus would agree. But more about those guys in a bit. Continue reading →

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