Category Archives: Hiking

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

September 17, 2014 South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon National Park.

Ask Me: Advice on Low-Cut Trail Shoes

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[Note: Both reader questions below are similar, so I combined them into one post.]

Michael,

I recently came across your website. It’s a fantastic resource—thank you!

I am looking for a breathable (i.e., not waterproof) shoe for long, fast dayhikes (with occasional downhill running) on rough, rocky terrain (on and off-trail). Reasonable performance on third-, fourth-, and low fifth-class terrain is a bonus, but 95 percent of the shoe’s use will be on rough, non-technical terrain. The two main shoes I was considering were the Salewa Firetail EVO and the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor. You give both of these shoes high praise, for similar applications (e.g. 22-mile, 5,000-foot vertical hike with the Firetails; 28-mile, 8,000-foot vertical hike with the Raptors). Which do you prefer? Which do you think would be best for my intended applications? Are there other shoes you think I should consider? Continue reading →

September 9, 2014 Atop Zeacliff, overlooking the Pemigewasset Wilderness, White Mountains, N.H.

Ask Me: What Are Your Favorite New England Hikes?

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Hello Michael,

I am a college student at Franklin Pierce University, and I have a couple questions I’d like to ask you. I have been enjoying your articles and website and your latest book, Before They’re Gone, and really appreciate the work and writing that you create! I am also an enthusiastic adventurer and love doing much smaller excursions, but I am looking to tackle longer, more rigorous hikes. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for backpacking trips and dayhikes in New England. Continue reading →

September 4, 2014 Imogene Lake, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.

Ask Me: What Are the Best Hikes in Idaho’s Sawtooths?

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Hi Michael,

I’m an avid reader of your blog and know that you’re very familiar with Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, so I was hoping you could give me some advice on either a good 3-day backpacking route or a base camp area where I could take three big day hikes from. I consider myself to be pretty fit and I have a handful of backpacking trips under my belt, so I feel comfortable putting in 10 to 15 miles per day, even over strenuous terrain. Thanks for any suggestions you can provide and for all of your informative and inspirational trip reports.

Will
Brighton, MA Continue reading →

August 15, 2014 Iceberg Lake/Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail, Glacier National Park.

Ask Me: What Hikes Do You Suggest For Three Days in Glacier National Park?

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Michael,

Thank you for providing a wonderful blog filled with amazing photos and inspiring trips. I enjoy your family adventures section, as I love taking my kids with me to enjoy the outdoors. I live in Utah so the options are endless.

I am heading to Glacier National Park with my husband for our 20th anniversary and am wondering what your hike suggestions would be. Continue reading →

August 13, 2014 Crater rim, Mount St. Helens, Washington.

One Photo, One Story: Three Generations on Mount St. Helens

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By Michael Lanza

The afternoon sun smiles warmly on us as my two kids and my nephew, age 10 to 15, my 76-year-old mom, and I—three generations spanning almost seven decades—plod up the final, strenuous steps to the crater rim of Mount St. Helens. The view could steal the breath away from God.

Before us, crumbling cliffs send small landslides cracking and rumbling down into the vast hole—2,000 feet deep and nearly two miles across—created by the eruption that decapitated St. Helens almost a generation before any of these kids were born. Seventy-five-mile views on this idyllic, Pacific Northwest summer day reveal behemoth, ice-capped volcanoes dominating three horizons: Rainier, Adams, Hood, and Jefferson. We hug and high-five and click off pictures, grinning with awe and no small amount of disbelief that we all actually made it up here.

That was the heart-warming mental picture that I had formed just days ago, when I scored hard-to-get permits for this climb—one of America’s most awe-inspiring dayhikes. Unfortunately, right now, sitting on rocks more than five hours into our ascent of St. Helens, events are not transpiring quite as smoothly as I had envisioned. Not at all. Continue reading →

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