Category Archives: International Adventures

Stories and photos from classic international adventure trips, from Patagonia to New Zealand, Iceland to Norway, and more.

December 4, 2014 Dart River, Cascade Saddle route, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand.

Ask Me: What Gear Do We Need for Backpacking in New Zealand?

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Hi Mike,

My buddy Nolan and I are backpacking the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand starting in January, and I’ve got a few gear questions I’d like to ask you. We’re just graduating high school and will be selling ourselves into slavery for the next six months to make money for this trip, so we’re certainly on a budget but I think we can still afford the middle/lower end of the high-end gear spectrum. We’ll be in hostels/huts about a quarter of the time. 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

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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 11, 2014 Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.

Trekking Patagonia’s Famous Torres del Paine and Little-Known Dientes Circuit

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Trekking in Patagonia is on every serious hiker’s wish list. Tag two classic treks in one two-week visit: See the world-famous granite spires of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park (photo above), then hop a short flight down to the tip of South America for one of the most remote, rarely hiked, and challenging treks in the world, the Dientes Circuit (below). The season for these Southern Hemisphere adventures is around the corner. Continue reading →

October 29, 2014 On the rim of Red Crater in Tongariro National Park, North Island.

4 Top Outdoor Adventures in New Zealand

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By Michael Lanza

Have you adventured in New Zealand yet? If not, then why not? Some of my all-time favorite assignments for Backpacker magazine have involved trekking and paddling on this island nation with an amazing bounty of natural beauty and a outdoors-loving culture to match it.

This is the time of year to start planning a visit during the upcoming austral summer; for many trips, you need to make travel arrangements and hut reservations months in advance. I’ve listed below a series of five-star, multi-sport adventures that could fill a two-week (or longer) visit to New Zealand. This itinerary includes dayhiking volcanoes, canoeing a wild river, a hut trek in the Southern Alps, and sea kayaking a remote fjord in the country’s largest national park. Click on the links (or any photo) to read the complete story about each trip. Continue reading →

October 22, 2014 nep3-046-2 Trekkers en route to Thorung La, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

Himalayan Shangri-La: Trekking Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit

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[Author’s note: The recent tragedy involving dozens of trekkers dying in a snowstorm on the Annapurna Circuit prompted me to post this story, which I originally wrote for several newspapers, recounting my 17-day trek with my wife (then my fiancée) on one of the world’s classic treks, Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit, in October and November of 1997.]

By Michael Lanza

The old school bus rumbles to life with a painful metallic grinding and we roll forward, our chariot rocking side to side down a rutted, muddy street of a small crossroads town called Dumre in central Nepal. Angling down a hillside, the bus lists heavily to starboard and moves too slowly to escape its own cloud of choking exhaust, which drifts in through the open windows.

As we round a bend, an excited murmur rises among the Western trekkers on board. The bus, still inching forward and lurching violently, is heading straight for a swiftly running, rock-strewn creek. I glance at the Nepalis on the bus, searching for concern in the faces of those who have taken this ride before. They look bored. Continue reading →

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