Tag Archives: California
By Michael Lanza
I am floating in the stratosphere.
The feeling reminds me of childhood dreams of flying, but this is no dream. We are hiking across the slender, granite spine of 9,926-foot Clouds Rest, between sphincter-puckering abysses of deep air in the heart of Yosemite National Park. Below my left elbow, the rock drops off like a very long and insanely steep slide for several hundred feet before reaching forest; and that’s the side that feels less exposed. Below my right elbow, a cliff face sweeps downward a dizzying, stomach-churning 4,000 feet—that’s a thousand feet taller than the face of El Capitan. Continue reading →
I read your article about ultra-backpacking and how you did the John Muir Trail in seven days. I am planning on doing the adventure in June but would like to know for an ultralight backpacker what items did you use for tent, sleeping bag etc. And any feedback or thoughts that you have that would be beneficial for me would be much appreciated.
Covina, CA Continue reading →
I enjoy your photos and stories tremendously. My wife and I travel the last two weeks of August every summer, and, unfortunately, so do a lot of other people. We like long dayhikes, viewing wildlife and, most of all, quietly enjoying amazing natural surroundings. We often find the national parks way too crowded. It’s pretty easy to lose most of the crowds by hitting the trail, but as soon as you’re done hiking you are often faced with crowds, lines, and traffic.
Last year we spent our summer vacation in the Sawtooth Mountains and loved it. So many great hikes in a ridiculously beautiful, but not crowded area (by the way, Goat Lake was our favorite hike of the trip). Can you recommend any areas similar to Stanley, Idaho, and the Sawtooth Mountains—a quiet area with all the natural beauty of a national park? I know you speak fondly of the Wind River Range. Is there a centrally located small town that would make a good base for a vacation in the area? Anywhere else you can recommend?
Brooklyn, NY Continue reading →
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. The gallery below highlights several of those campsites, from places like Great Sand Dunes, Sequoia, and North Cascades national parks—and a new addition to the list this year from Paria Canyon in Utah and Arizona. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
Are you planning to thru-hike the John Muir Trail? “America’s Most Beautiful Trail” should be on every serious backpacker’s tick list. After thru-hiking it in a week (read my story about that and see more photos and a video from the JMT), I became convinced that—while a week was very hard—the traditional itinerary of spreading the roughly 221-mile trip out over three weeks or more has a serious flaw: Because of limited food-resupply options, you’ll carry a monster pack that may not only make you sore and uncomfortable, it could cause injuries or other problems that cut short your trip.
Over the years, I’ve evolved from being one of those traditional, heavy-pack backpackers to traveling as light as absolutely possible, and the John Muir Trail is perfect for an ultralight strategy because of its generally dry, late-summer weather, well-constructed footpath, and moderate grades. Continue reading →