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.

May 18, 2015 Fishing at Lake 8522, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.

Photo Gallery: My Father-Son and Father-Daughter Adventures

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By Michael Lanza

The annual tradition began when my son, Nate, was five years old, and we hiked about a mile up a trail in the Boise Foothills, starting at a trailhead a 10-minute drive from our house, and camped beside a creek small enough to step over. It was the most mellow trip we’d take, and the closest to home, on the annual father-son outdoor adventure that we’ve come to call our “boy trip.” My daughter, Alex, two years younger, adapted that name and gave me a pass for my inferior gender when we began taking an annual “girl trip” together. Now it has grown into something bigger than any one, individual outing. Continue reading →

May 14, 2015 Grand Prismatic Geyser, Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park.

New at The Big Outside: Ask Me Menu Page

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

By Michael Lanza

Ever since I launched this blog almost five years ago, readers have emailed me with their questions about trips they’re planning, gear, taking kids on outdoor adventures, or some kind of outdoor skill. I always respond, and because my readers ask good questions, I share most of them, and my responses, in the feature I call Ask Me. I’ve now amassed enough Ask Me blog posts that it seemed to make sense to organize them onto a page, listed in several categories. Now, if you have a question for me, or are researching gear or a national park or any topic I write about at The Big Outside, go to my Ask Me page for a complete menu of all existing blog posts in which I’ve answered questions from other readers. Continue reading →

May 13, 2015 Hikers on Dog Mountain, Columbia Gorge, Washington.

Photo Gallery: My Best Wildflower Pictures

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By Michael Lanza

On a sunny, spring afternoon, we hiked through lush, quiet forest up the steep Dog Mountain Trail, on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. After climbing more than 2,000 vertical feet (the trail ascends a calf-pumping 2,800 feet in three miles to the summit), we broke out of the shade of trees onto slopes carpeted with one of the best wildflower displays you’ll see anywhere. Climbing higher still, we got sweeping views across the gorge to the snow and glaciers of Mount Hood. But the wildflowers stole the show. Continue reading →

May 11, 2015 Hamilton Lakes, High Sierra Trail, Sequoia National Park.

Photo Gallery: 15 Nicest Backcountry Campsites I’ve Hiked Past

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By Michael Lanza

It is one of those unfortunate inevitabilities of life, like death and taxes: Occasionally on backpacking trips you will hike past one of the most sublime patches of wilderness real estate you have ever laid eyes on, a spot so idyllic you can already see your tent pitched there and you standing outside it, warm mug in your hands, watching a glorious sunset. But it’s early and your plan entails hiking farther before you stop for the day—not camping there. Or even worse, you are looking for a campsite, but someone else has already occupied this little corner of Heaven. Continue reading →

May 10, 2015 Hiking the Gunsight Pass Trail, Glacier National Park, Montana.

One Photo, One Story: Dayhiking the Gunsight Pass Trail in Glacier National Park

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By Michael Lanza

High above Gunsight Lake on Glacier National Park’s Gunsight Pass Trail, beneath a bluebird sky, I got this photo of my wife, Penny, standing on a ledge along a stretch where the trail makes a long traverse of a cliff face. A little while later, we passed a mountain goat grazing trailside. Popular with backpackers for its scenery, easy access, and relatively low commitment for distance, the 20-mile traverse of the Gunsight Pass Trail can be done in a day by fit hikers, because of its moderate grades and good footing. And what a spectacular day it is—an unforgettable way to sample Glacier National Park if you have the legs for it. Continue reading →

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