Tag Archives: Idaho

June 20, 2014 Below the Big Boulder Lakes, White Cloud Mountains, Idaho.

Exploring a Wilderness Hopeful: Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains

In Backpacking, Family Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

In the long dusk that prevails in the shadow of tall mountains, we hike steadily uphill through pine forest broken by an occasional meadow with views of distant, rocky peaks. When dark falls, we don headlamps and continue hiking into the night.

My backpacking partner, my 12-year-old son, Nate, has never hiked late at night. For him, this is a new and mildly thrilling experience—it feels a little like breaking a rule without consequences. After all, there are wild animals out here, including bears and mountain lions that wander nocturnally in search of something to eat—such as a large, slow, two-legged creature with poor night vision and a useless sense of smell. Continue reading →

May 21, 2014 Fishing at Lake 8522, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.

Boy Trip, Girl Trip: Why I Take Father-Son and Father-Daughter Adventures

In Backpacking, Climbing, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   8 Comments

By Michael Lanza

On a morning when the late-summer sunshine sharpens the incisor points of every peak and spire in the jagged skyline of Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, Nate and I step inside the Sawtooth National Recreation Area ranger station, south of the little town of Stanley, population sixty-three. I chat with the ranger behind the counter, mentioning that my son and I are heading out to backpack the 18-mile loop from Pettit Lake to Alice and Toxaway Lakes.

The ranger sizes up my six-year-old, 40-pound kid, and frowns skeptically. “You know, that’s a pretty rugged hike,” he tells me. Continue reading →

May 7, 2014 Lambert Gorge, East Fork Owyhee River

One Photo, One Story: Kayaking the Owhyee River

In Paddling   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

“This is one of the most special places in Idaho.”

Tim utters these words reverentially as we drift languidly on our third morning through the enveloping silence of Lambert Gorge on the East Fork of the Owyhee River. Lying back in our slowly revolving kayaks, we gaze hypnotized at cliffs shooting 400 feet straight up out of the water on both sides. Hundreds of freestanding pinnacles—exclamation points of eroding rock—punctuate the walls. A goose, honking aggressively, flaps its wings and splashes alongside Geoff for several minutes, a distraction intended to draw us away from its camouflaged nest. Continue reading →

March 13, 2014 Saddle Creek Trail, Hells Canyon, Oregon.

Photo Gallery: Backpacking Hells Canyon

In Backpacking   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

North America’s deepest river gorge, Hells Canyon, is a place defined by extremes—of scale, solitude, grandeur. Although protected as wilderness, it still harbors evidence of the settlers who, many decades ago, tried to carve a life out of its rugged contours and harsh climate: falling-down cabins, rusted farm equipment. Perhaps more than any wild land I’ve known, this canyon fills me with a sense of having dropped out of time, of diving, wide-eyed, into Alice’s rabbit-hole. The biggest disconnect? That a place so ruggedly beautiful could attract so few visitors. See for yourself in this photo gallery, then read my story and see more photos from a four-day, 56-mile, rim-to-river-to-rim, solo backpacking trip on the Oregon side of the canyon. Continue reading →

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

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

In Family Adventures, Hut Treks, Skiing   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment

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 →

← Older posts