Category Archives: Paddling

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

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 →

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 →

May 7, 2014 Lambert Gorge, East Fork Owyhee River

One Photo, One Story: Kayaking the Owhyee River

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By Michael Lanza

“This is one of the most special places in Idaho.”

Tim utters these words reverentially as we drift languidly on our third morning through the enveloping silence of Lambert Gorge on the East Fork of the Owyhee River. Lying back in our slowly revolving kayaks, we gaze hypnotized at cliffs shooting 400 feet straight up out of the water on both sides. Hundreds of freestanding pinnacles—exclamation points of eroding rock—punctuate the walls. A goose, honking aggressively, flaps its wings and splashes alongside Geoff for several minutes, a distraction intended to draw us away from its camouflaged nest. Continue reading →

April 23, 2014 Backpackers on Clouds Rest, Yosemite National Park.

Photo Gallery: Celebrating National Parks Week

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By Michael Lanza

Are you planning to visit a national park this week or this year? National Parks Week reminds me of writer Wallace Stegner’s famous quote: “National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” Continue reading →

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