Tag Archives: nature
By Michael Lanza
On the day I first took my son, Nate, backcountry skiing, when he was 12, he made a quick mental calculation before we even left the house of the effort-to-payoff deficit inherent to this activity. I told him to expect that we would spend the first two hours climbing more than a thousand feet uphill before skiing back down. He contemplated that quietly for a pregnant moment, and then asked the logical follow-up question: “And how much time do we ski downhill?” Continue reading →
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 →
I came across your website, The Big Outside, couple of days ago and it is bookmarked already! I love it.
We moved from Puerto Rico to South Dakota in 2011, and a year later to Northern California. I used to go on outdoor adventures in Puerto Rico with my mother and stepfather (something that I miss a lot) and I want my son to have the same experience I had. We are so ready to explore California, but since we are basically new here, we don’t know where to start or how. My husband and I love to take our two-year-old, Mike, hiking (short hikes near our town), because we want him to grow up loving the outdoors and also appreciating and respecting nature. Now, we want to start backpacking and here are my questions: Continue reading →
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 →
Your site is fantastic. I found it while researching a trip to Spring Canyon at Capitol Reef. I live in Portland and have been packing with my two boys since they were in diapers (they are now 5 and 7). We do about three trips per year. There’s nothing better than being out there with the kids, and I’m glad your site is promoting that.
I was wondering if you have any suggestions for trips in southern Utah in June, in the 15-25 mile range? Hopefully something that has a spring somewhere along the way. I’ve been eyeing Capitol Reef and the Escalante canyons. Continue reading →