Tag Archives: family yurt trips

February 27, 2014 Cross-country skiing the Beaver Trail, Boise National Forest, Idaho.

5 Kids, 4 Days, No Wifi… Only Trees and Snow

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By Michael Lanza

We pause at the top of a steep hill on the Elkhorn Loop Trail in Idaho’s Boise National Forest and contemplate where to go from here. My 17-year-old niece, Anna Garofalo, and I have cross-country skied for two hours to reach this quiet spot in the ponderosa pine forest, miles from the nearest road—and more than 2,000 miles and an experiential chasm from the only place she has ever known as home.

I lay out the choices to Anna: turn around and ski two more hours back to the Skyline yurt, where we’re spending three nights with my wife and kids and another family; or explore a trail I’ve never actually skied in the many trips I’ve made to this system of ski trails and yurts north of Idaho City. I’ve never skied it because, unlike most of the trails out here, it’s not groomed, and it lies out on the farthest perimeter of the trail system. Going that way would take us at least three more hours to reach the yurt. But I’ve long wanted to ski it, if for no other reason than its name: the Wayout Trail.

“Let’s do it,” Anna tells me. “After all, when am I going to be back here again?” God, I love that attitude. But I suppose that’s how you would look at something you’ve been literally waiting almost your entire life to do. Continue reading →

February 5, 2013 Skiing to Skyline yurt, Boise National Forest, Idaho

Key Ingredient to Family Yurt Trip: What’s Missing

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By Michael Lanza

The sun beats down warmly on us from a sky as fiercely and as flawlessly blue as a deep mountain lake. While we four adults ready our backpacks, the four kids already have their packs loaded and cross-country skis on and are dashing back and forth across the snow-covered parking lot—sled dogs straining at their harnesses to go. It’s the body language of enthusiasm and high expectations, and it infects us all like an aggressive virus. Continue reading →