Tag Archives: Idaho
By Michael Lanza
We reach an unnamed pass at 8,450 feet early on a September evening that could hardly be nicer, with temperatures in the low 60s and a soft whisper of breeze in the air. I’m hardly breaking a sweat; I love hiking at this time of day. Below us, the green valley of Johnson Creek falls away into deepening shadows below a skyline of granite spires glowing golden in the low-angle sunshine.
A feeling of anticipation fills me, a low-grade excitement over finally getting to a goal I’ve had on my to-do list for years. My friend Jeff Wilhelm and I are backpacking into the deep interior of central Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains—into the most remote and probably the least-visited part of Idaho’s best-known mountain range that can be reached by trail. Continue reading →
How about a little weekend inspiration? I took this shot of my 12-year-old son, Nate, on a three-day backpacking trip we took this summer into the Big Boulder Lakes basin in Idaho’s White Clouds Mountains (a place that deserves designation as either federal wilderness or a national monument). I hope you’re getting out to find some wild place to enjoy this weekend.
The Owyhee River carves narrow canyons of sheer rhyolite and basalt walls hundreds of feet deep into the sagebrush and grassland high desert sprawling over southwestern Idaho and eastern Oregon. An area four times the size of Yellowstone, it’s the loneliest corner of the Lower 48. It’s hard just to get there because of the few, bad roads. Check out the canyons of the Owyhee in this slideshow. Then read my story about our eight-day, 82-mile kayaking descent of the upper Owyhee River, where we saw just one other kayaker, on our last night, a couple miles before the takeout.
Anything Worth Doing: A True Story of Adventure, Friendship and Tragedy on the Last of the West’s Great Rivers
By Jo Deurbrouck
197 pgs., Sundog Book Publishing, $15
Those of us who pursue adventure and challenge in nature sometimes cross a line into a place where life becomes fragile. But as the unfortunate who have stumbled inadvertently into that dark space learn, the threshold is never actually a distinct line; it’s a gray zone where we make a series of fateful decisions and are never granted the foresight to know what awaits at the end of them. In Anything Worth Doing, former whitewater rafting guide Jo Deurbrouck takes the reader on a riveting journey into the lives of two semi-legendary Idaho river guides, showing how a life lived well can sometimes end too soon. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
At a pass just below 9,400 feet on the north side of 10,229-foot Mt. Heyburn, in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, the wind that has been steadily turning the dial upward for the past hour reaches full volume. Another snow squall bursts upon us, spraying white bullets sideways and dropping a veil over the rocky, snow-spattered, serrated ridge just overhead.
Six of us have labored 2,000 feet uphill on skis this morning in search of a doorway into a secluded mountain paradise of sorts, a high basin known in some circles as the Monolith Valley, though not marked as such on any map. A slender gash between Heyburn and another 10,000-footer, Braxon Peak (which I’ve stood atop in summer), the Monolith exists in the topographical shadows, easily overlooked. Most of our group have only seen tantalizing photos that revealed legions of rock spires towering above untracked snow. The images inspired visions of marking up deep powder on slopes rarely inscribed by skiers—like Zorro, but leaving many “S” signatures instead of a “Z.” Continue reading →