Category Archives: International Adventures

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

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

4 Top Outdoor Adventures in New Zealand

In Backpacking, Hiking, Hut Treks, International Adventures, National Park Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   6 Comments

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

In Hiking, Hut Treks, International Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment

[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 →

July 16, 2014 Jotunheimen National Park, Norway.

Photo Gallery: Trekking Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park

In Family Adventures, Hut Treks, International Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

We hiked hut-to-hut for a week through 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. Jotunheimen National Park—the name translates as “Home of the Giants”—contains the highest European mountains north of the Alps, starkly barren peaks rising to more than 8,000 feet. Thick, crack-riddled glaciers pour off them like pancake batter that needs more water. Braided rivers meander down mostly treeless valleys, and reindeer roam wild. Continue reading →

April 3, 2014 Sahale Glacier Camp, North Cascades National Park

Tent Flap With A View: 25 Favorite Backcountry Campsites

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, International Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   18 Comments

By Michael Lanza

An unforgettable campsite can define a backcountry trip. Sometimes that perfect spot where you spend a night forges the memory that remains the most vivid long after you’ve gone home. A photo of that camp can send recollections of the entire adventure rushing back to you.

I’ve been fortunate to have pitched a tent in many great backcountry campsites over more than two decades of backpacking and trekking all over the U.S. and the world. I’ve boiled the list of my favorite spots down to 25. Continue reading →

March 20, 2014 Castle ruins, Aitana Mountains, Spain.

Photo Gallery: Trekking Europe’s Best-Kept Secret, Spain’s Aitana Mountains

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By Michael Lanza

By day, you hike across a chronically sunny range of mountains of endless limestone cliffs, past ruins of castles built by Moors centuries ago, looking down on bleached terracotta villages dotting the valley bottom. Every evening, in one of those villages, you feast in good Old World style on Spanish delicacies like stuffed aubergines, paella, and olleta de blat, washing it down with excellent Spanish vino. That, in a nutshell, describes the 60-mile, village-to-village trek I took across the most stunning European mountains you’ve never heard of (they don’t even have an official name), in the Valencia region on Spain’s Mediterranean coast. Continue reading →

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