Tag Archives: California

September 3, 2014 Granite Park, John Muir Wilderness, CA.

Celebrating The Wilderness Act: Photo Gallery of Backpacking the John Muir Wilderness

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By Michael Lanza

Today marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing The Wilderness Act, the law that codified the 19th-century conservationist John Muir’s vision of preserving pristine chunks of our nation’s most beautiful mountains, canyons, deserts, forests, grasslands, seashores, and other landscapes. What better way to celebrate, I figured, than with a photo gallery from the High Sierra wilderness named for Muir—which happens to be the wilderness where I shot the banner photo that appears at the top of this blog. Continue reading →

August 27, 2014 High Sierra Trail above Middle Fork Kaweah River, Sequoia N.P.

Heavy Lifting: Backpacking Sequoia National Park

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By Michael Lanza

I stare at the backpack on the ground in front of me. At 85 liters, with every milliliter of it stuffed with about 60 pounds of gear and food, it looks like something that should be lowered by a crane into a container ship rather than attached to a person’s back. If it had legs, teeth, and an appetite for meat, I wouldn’t stand a chance. Continue reading →

July 30, 2014 Banner Peak above Thousand Island Lake on the John Muir Trail in the Ansel Adams Wilderness of California's High Sierra.

Ask Me: What Clothing Do You Recommend for August in the High Sierra?

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Hi Michael,

I have been enjoying your adventure posts immensely; keep up the great work!

I lead hikes for the local chapter of the Sierra Club in Tucson, and in mid-August we’ll be doing a 7-day backpacking adventure in the High Sierra. We’ll be accessing the John Muir Trail, with elevations ranging from 9,000 to 12,000 feet. How cold can it get at this time of year and what clothes/protection would you recommend? Would a light windbreaker over a fleece with gloves and hat be sufficient? Or would you recommend a down jacket, etc.? Continue reading →

April 10, 2014

One Photo, One Story: Trail Running (or Hiking) Across California’s Marin County, Inn to Inn

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By Michael Lanza

Pausing along the Coastal Trail, which slithers across crumbling bluffs that plunge 400 feet to the ocean in the rugged hills of Northern California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area, I’m struck by a sense of awe. Far below us, the surf sloshes loudly against the rocky shore of Pirates Cove, where stone pinnacles rise out of the sea, isolated by centuries of wave erosion. It’s the kind of scenery that makes talking sound like loud radio static, so we fall silent. Continue reading →

February 6, 2014 Granite Park, John Muir Wilderness, California.

Photo Gallery: Backpacking the John Muir Wilderness

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By Michael Lanza

Want to know where I shot the mountains photo in the banner across the top of The Big Outside? It was on a 32-mile traverse of one of the highest and most achingly gorgeous sections of the High Sierra, from North Lake, outside Bishop, to Mosquito Flat, between Bishop and Mammoth Lakes. My route linked up trails with long stretches of rugged cross-country hiking over lake-studded alpine basins and six passes between 11,150 and 13,040 feet, exploring corners of the Sierra rarely seen by people. John Muir himself would have been pleased, as I think you’ll agree after seeing this photo gallery from that trip. Continue reading →

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