Category Archives: Paddling

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

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

In Backpacking, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   3 Comments

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 →

April 12, 2015 In the tent, Grand Canyon

Pro Tips: How to Choose a Sleeping Bag

In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Paddling, Skills   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   4 Comments

By Michael Lanza

What should you look for in a sleeping bag? For me, it depends on more than just the expected range of temperatures I’ll encounter. In the tips below, I offer my tips for buying the ideal sleeping bag to suit your body.

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April 7, 2015 Johns Hopkins Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.

Video: Sea Kayaking Alaska’s Glacier Bay

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By Michael Lanza

Sea kayaking and wilderness-beach camping on a five-day trip in Johns Hopkins Inlet, in Alaska’s Glacier Bay, my family saw sea otters, seals, uncountable numbers of sea lions, bald eagles, puffins, and countless other birds, mountain goats—and a brown bear (from a healthy distance). We listened to the concussive explosions of enormous chunks of ice calving from giant glaciers into the sea. For a fleeting handful of days, we had a glimpse of what the Earth was like during the last Ice Age.

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March 26, 2015 Grand Ronde River, Oregon.

Ask Me: Can You Recommend Rafting Outfitters and Trips?

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

Hi Michael,

I just found your blog today after starting my research for a summer guided rafting tour for families. In my next life I’d like to come back as one of your offspring! My husband would like to take our eager son on a guided, overnight rafting trip this summer to celebrate his 10th birthday: father-son trip, but someone else does the heavy lifting so dad and son can focus on enjoyment of the river, campfires and overall one-on-one time. We live in the Bay Area but our son is keen to travel for this trip—Idaho, Utah, Oregon, or Colorado, to name a few suggestions. Can you point us toward some well-regarded guiding companies and provide any insight to consider when we comparison shop?

Kind regards,
Catherine
Lafayette, CA

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