Category Archives: Paddling

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

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 19, 2014 Whitewater rafting Idaho's Payette River.

How I Get Outdoors… A Lot

In Family Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   1 Comment

As we paddle toward yet another class III whitewater rapid on Idaho’s Payette River, my 13-year-old son, Nate, in the kayak ahead of me, looks over his shoulder and calls out, “Dad, just follow my line.” Then he deftly steers his boat into a foaming pileup of waves, disappears briefly in the trough between two big rollers, and then emerges a moment later, upright and plowing forward through a wave train into the calmer waters beyond the rapid. Continue reading →

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

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

In Ask Me, Backpacking, National Park Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

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

In Family Adventures, National Park Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

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

In Backpacking, Climbing, Family Adventures, National Park Adventures, Paddling   |   Leave a comment

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 →

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