Category Archives: International Adventures

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

November 11, 2015 Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia region, Chile.

Ask Me: Trekking Patagonia’s Torres del Paine

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This is great and thanks for sharing. How difficult would you rate the “W” trek [in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park] for a beginner? I will be going with five other friends and want to make sure I have enough time to finish it safely.

Also, what type of rain paints would suffice? Do you recommend something like Gore-Tex or a water-resistant pant? We plan to go in Jan/Feb.


Rick Continue reading →

November 10, 2015 Above Olavsbu Hut, Jotunheimen National Park, Norway.

Video: Trekking Hut-to-Hut Across Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park

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By Michael Lanza

Take three minutes right now to daydream about hiking in a wild place half a world away, a rugged, Arctic-looking landscape vibrantly colorful with shrubs, mosses, and wildflowers, where cliffs and mountains look like they were chopped from the earth with an axe. A place where thick, crack-riddled glaciers pour off snow-plastered peaks like pancake batter that needs more water, and wild, braided rivers meander down mostly treeless valleys. Where reindeer are real (but don’t fly—sorry)—and you stay in supremely comfortable huts with excellent food.
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November 9, 2015 Hiking Blahnukur, in Fjallabak Nature Reserve, Iceland.

15 Adventures on Earth That Will Change Your Life

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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 8, 2015 Kayaking Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand.

Photo Gallery: Sea Kayaking New Zealand’s Milford Sound

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By Michael Lanza

A vast sea of liquid glass spread out before us as we aimed our kayaks out into Milford Sound, a 4,000-foot-deep fjord in Fiordland National Park, on the southwest coast of New Zealand’s South Island. A thick fur of rainforest clung to cliffs plunging straight into the sea. The sharp, rock-crowned arrowhead of Mitre Peak rose to 5,545 feet (1,690m) out of the ocean, slashing at the sky. Continue reading →

October 25, 2015 On the summit of Mount Hoffmann, Yosemite National Park.

How to Have More Fun and Be Safer Outdoors

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

By Michael Lanza

People occasionally ask me the same basic question about hiking, backpacking, or some other outdoor activity: How much do I need to know to do this? I usually (perhaps annoyingly) answer a question with a question: How much do you want to enjoy it and keep yourself, your family, or your friends safe?

At The Big Outside, some of my most-read stories are the ones in which I offer my tips on skills like ultralight backpacking, avoiding blisters, getting a hard-to-get national park backcountry permit, and taking better outdoor photos; my “10 Tips For Raising Outdoors-Loving Kids” may be the most enduringly popular story at this blog. Now I’ve organized all of my stories about outdoor skills on my newly launched Skills page, where you can click to learn not only how to do many things outdoors, but also what it is that you should know about.

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