Tag Archives: Washington
By Michael Lanza
We hiked across a sprawling meadow of wildflowers that poured down a mountainside into a deep valley, its bottom lost in shadow far below us. Evening light raked across a turbulent sea of snowy, razor peaks rolling away for as far as the naked eye could discern, and lent an orange tint to the snow and ice covering the massive volcano dominating the horizon just across the valley from us. It was the sort of moment that embeds an image in permanent memory, that defines a trip and a place in your mind forever. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
How many outdoor trips do you have on the calendar for 2015 already? I have four, with others in active planning stages. For me, this is the time of year for pulling out maps and guidebooks and poring over my list of adventures I want to take. My document slugged “Trip Ideas” is now 15,234 words long, and growing. I need to get busy—and so do you. To help you out with ideas and inspiration for next year, here are my Top 10 Family Adventures at The Big Outside, ranging from climbing Mount St. Helens to backpacking in the Grand Canyon and cross-country skiing in Yellowstone. Continue reading →
I’ve been checking out your excellent backpacking posts and think you may be the right person to help me out with my search. My partner and I have taken a year off work to travel around the U.S. We had a great time hiking and canyoneering in Escalante. So now we’re in the Northwest, and want to find a great wilderness base camp where we can set up for a few days and explore the surrounding area. I’ve heard great things about Idaho, but Washington, Montana and Wyoming are all within striking distance, too. So much choice! If you have any recommendations for us—even if it’s just a wilderness area to hone in on—they would be most gratefully received.
London, England Continue reading →
I just stumbled upon The Big Outside! Wow! Amazing! Thank you for it! I LOVE it!
We have two girls, ages 11 and 9. Our first “major” backpacking trip last year was to Olympic National Park. Covered 30 miles in 8 days. Obstruction Point to Moose Lake, Third Beach to Toleak, and Graves Creek to O’Neil. What a trip! Each girl carried about 10 pounds and my husband and I each about 40 pounds. This trip took three to four months of planning. We fell in love with the Pacific Northwest.
Unfortunately, I dropped the ball this year in planning another fantastic westward-bound trip. I am scrambling to put something together. I am looking at North Cascades, primarily because they do not accept online reservations—first come, first served. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
The afternoon sun smiles warmly on us as my two kids and my nephew, age 10 to 15, my 76-year-old mom, and I—three generations spanning almost seven decades—plod up the final, strenuous steps to the crater rim of Mount St. Helens. The view could steal the breath away from God.
Before us, crumbling cliffs send small landslides cracking and rumbling down into the vast hole—2,000 feet deep and nearly two miles across—created by the eruption that decapitated St. Helens almost a generation before any of these kids were born. Seventy-five-mile views on this idyllic, Pacific Northwest summer day reveal behemoth, ice-capped volcanoes dominating three horizons: Rainier, Adams, Hood, and Jefferson. We hug and high-five and click off pictures, grinning with awe and no small amount of disbelief that we all actually made it up here.
That was the heart-warming mental picture that I had formed just days ago, when I scored hard-to-get permits for this climb—one of America’s most awe-inspiring dayhikes. Unfortunately, right now, sitting on rocks more than five hours into our ascent of St. Helens, events are not transpiring quite as smoothly as I had envisioned. Not at all. Continue reading →