Category Archives: National Park Adventures

Stories and images from my many hiking, backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, skiing, and family adventures in national parks in the U.S. and around the world.

August 2, 2015 Wanda Lake, John Muir Trail, Kings Canyon National Park.

12 Simple Tips For Taking Better Outdoor Photos

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   5 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Do you wonder how some people come back from national parks and other outdoor trips with fantastic photos? Would you like to take the kind of pictures that make people ooh and aah? It may not be as complicated as you think. Continue reading →

July 30, 2015 Alex hiking Monitor Ridge, Mt. St. Helens

5 Tricks For Getting Tired Kids Through a Hike

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By Michael Lanza

After hiking 1,000 vertical feet uphill on the dusty Upper Yosemite Falls Trail in Yosemite Valley, baking under a thermonuclear Sierra sun, we sat on rocks for a snack and a much-needed break. My seven-year-old daughter, unprompted, blurted out, “I’m tired and hungry!” My nine-year-old son was still fuming over having been woken up earlier than he prefers (which is 11 a.m.) for this hike—although we were broiling in the sun precisely because we didn’t start even earlier, when it was cooler. He groused, “If you’re going to wake me up that early, it’s your fault if I complain.”

It was looking like my plan to hike my kids and my 12-year-old nephew 3,000 feet and nearly four miles uphill to the brink of Upper Yosemite Falls—and then, of course, back down—was on the express bus to the graveyard for dumb ideas from overzealous hiker-dads.

 

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July 26, 2015 Dawn above Lyell Fork Canyon of Merced River, Yosemite National Park.

One Photo, One Story: Going Deep Into Yosemite

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By Michael Lanza

One the final morning of a three-day, 65-mile hike deep into the southeast corner of Yosemite National Park, three friends and I started hiking shortly after first light, to take advantage of cool morning temperatures and enjoy some morning light on the mountains. Climbing through switchbacks hundreds of feet up a steep granite wall of the canyon carved by the Lyell Fork of the Merced River, we reached this high overlook just as the rising sun set fire to distant, jagged peaks around Red Peak Pass, which we had crossed the day before. Continue reading →

July 22, 2015 My daughter Alex on the trail to Spider Gap, Glacier Peak Wilderness, Washington.

Ask Me: Backpacking Trips With an 11-Year-Old

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Hi Michael,

My fifth-grade daughter and I spend most of our summer playing and hiking. We are upping our backpacking mileage each year and hope to be able to do the Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier when she is 12. For this summer, we are looking to do a hike of about 60 to 75 miles. One possibility is the Pacific Crest Trail between Highway 50 and 80. It’s a beautiful route I’ve taken before. But I’m very open to other ideas. She’s tough and has built up to solid 10-mile days. Any help or direction you could give me would be great. I envy the time you have been able to spend in the wild.

Adam
Sacramento, CA Continue reading →

July 21, 2015 My kids in Spray Park, Mount Rainier National Park.

Video: Backpacking Mount Rainier National Park

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By Michael Lanza

Mount Rainier National Park presents a multitude of excellent backpacking options. But one that encapsulates the experience well, shows off some of the park’s highlight views, glaciers, and wildflower meadows, and can be knocked off in a weekend is the traverse from Mowich Lake to Sunrise. Hiking below Rainier’s north face makes it look so impossibly big it seems unreal, rising 8,000 to 11,000 vertical feet above hikers on trails. Few North American peaks have visible relief of two vertical miles. You naturally react as you might to a full-blown, heat stroke-induced hallucination: Compelled to believe your eyes, you nonetheless struggle with the nagging intuition that the delicate fruit that is your frontal lobe has spoiled badly in the heat. Continue reading →

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