Category Archives: Paddling

Stories, photos, and videos from my kayaking, canoeing, and rafting adventures in the U.S. and around the world.

July 28, 2014 Abyss Pool, West Thumb Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park.

Ask Me: Which Multi-Day Wilderness Trip Should We Take in Yellowstone?

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Hey Michael,

I am planning a grand adventure this summer that will include Yellowstone National Park. My buddy and I are hoping to spend three to four nights backpacking. Yellowstone is massive, however, so we are having a hard time trying to decide which part of the park we should explore. Do you have any suggestions? Do you have any favorite hikes to take in Yellowstone? Continue reading →

July 23, 2014 Johns Hopkins Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.

Photo Gallery: Sea Kayaking Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park

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By Michael Lanza

When John Muir visited Alaska’s Glacier Bay in 1879, he wrote that, at night, “the surge from discharging icebergs churned the water into silver fire.” On a five-day, guided sea-kayaking trip in the upper West Arm of Glacier Bay, probing deep within a national park the size of Connecticut, my family explored a wilderness that remains one of the few places left on Earth that resemble what the planet looked like right after the last Ice Age. We saw sea otters, seals, sea lions, mountain goats, bald eagles, puffins, and countless other birds, and a brown bear wandering the beach (as well as bear scat that convinced us to choose another campsite). We listened to the concussive explosions of enormous chunks of ice calving from giant glaciers into the sea. I consider it one of my top 10 adventures ever. Continue reading →

July 10, 2014 Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado.

Photo Gallery: 25 Favorite Backcountry Campsites

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By Michael Lanza

Everyone has favorite campsites from unforgettable backcountry trips. 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 my list of my favorite campsites down to 25. Continue reading →

June 25, 2014 Grand Ronde River, Oregon.

One Photo, One Story: Rafting Oregon’s Grand Ronde River

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By Michael Lanza

The three kids in my raft, ages 10 to 13, have decided to pit themselves against the two in the other raft in our party in a contest to see who gets wetter in the rapids on the Grand Ronde River. They shout at me, “Hit the waves! Hit the waves!” The bracingly icy water smacks them in the bow, drawing peels of laughter, but a hot sun saves the kids from teeth-chattering hypothermia. Continue reading →

May 28, 2014 Above Stillwater Canyon, Canyonlands National Park.

5 Classic (Age-Appropriate) National Park Adventures for Families

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By Michael Lanza

What national park adventure should we take with our kids? That’s a question I get frequently from parents. It’s a tough one to answer, given all the great choices. But my advice always focuses on the ages of kids, because that’s how I’ve always thought about picking the right trips for my kids. I ask myself: What’s the most fun, safe adventure we can take them on at their ages?

I’ve compiled below my top five recommendations for absolute, must-do national park trips for families (with links to my story about each for more info and photos), arranged in order from the easiest, for younger kids, to the most challenging, for older, more-experienced kids. Continue reading →

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