Tag Archives: Wyoming

April 9, 2014 Death Canyon Shelf, Teton Crest Trail.

Photo Gallery: Backpacking Grand Teton National Park

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By Michael Lanza

After at least 17 trips into the backcountry of Grand Teton National Park, I still can’t get enough of these sharply serrated peaks and deep, cliff-flanked canyons, the alpine lakes and icy creeks, campsites with jaw-dropping views, or the explosion of wildflowers in summer. I count two camping areas in the Tetons among my list of top 25 favorite backcountry campsites of all time; but really, other spots where I’ve pitched a tent in this park would make almost anyone’s list. I’ve hiked all or parts of the Teton Crest Trail—step for step, one of America’s most fabulous backpacking trips—multiple times, including with my kids. Continue reading →

January 29, 2014 The view from Baldy Knoll.

Rediscovering A Sense of Wonder: Backcountry Skiing the Tetons

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By Michael Lanza

The morning air at 8,800 feet in Wyoming’s Teton Range hovers in the single digits Fahrenheit, and the breeze wields a below-zero wind chill like a straight razor: It feels on the verge of shaving the two-day-old beard from my face. In blinding sunshine, six of us step outside the Baldy Knoll yurt to find at least six inches of light powder—cold smoke—that fell overnight atop the 10 inches of snow that had dropped from the generous heavens in recent days. We arrived here late yesterday afternoon, just a couple hours before the frozen waterfall of fat, featherweight snowflakes began pouring copiously from a coal-black night sky.

Skiing in the mountains, as with anything else in life, is really all about timing. And sometimes you just get lucky. Continue reading →

December 20, 2013 Teton Crest Trail, Death Canyon Shelf, Grand Teton National Park.

Ask Me: What Are Your Favorite Backcountry Campsites on the Teton Crest Trail?

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Michael,

Really enjoy your website, thanks for all the info. Have a question for you about the Teton Crest Trail. My friends and I are going in late July 2014 but have already begun planning. I know it is first come, first served in some of the camping zones, but I was wondering if you know what specific spots in the camping zone have the best views from camp or the best views right next to camp?

We plan on staying in the Death Canyon Shelf zone, North Fork and South Fork Cascade Canyon zones, as well as either Upper or Lower Paintbrush Canyon. 

Any help you could give on specific spots within those zones would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Continue reading →

December 6, 2013 Tower Fall Ski Trail, Yellowstone National Park.

Cross-Country Skiing Yellowstone National Park

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By Michael Lanza

The snowcoach rumbles away, leaving us in a wintry silence disturbed only by a slight breeze and the gastrointestinal emissions of a supervolcano that last let out a really big one 640,000 years ago. Back then, it ejected about 240 cubic miles of rock and dust into the sky. Today, as seems always the case with these things, it just sounds a little rude and smells badly.

My wife, Penny, and I, with our son, Nate, and daughter, Alex, have just stepped off the snowcoach with our cross-country skis in Biscuit Basin in Yellowstone National Park. Watching us disembark with our grade-school kids, the other passengers stared solemnly, as if expecting they would be the last to see us alive. Clearly, none of them are Nordic skiers, otherwise they might have realized that we’re setting out on one of the coolest half-day adventures in the entire national park system: ski touring along the Firehole River through Yellowstone’s Upper Geyser Basin. Continue reading →

August 30, 2013 Cirque of the Towers, Wind River Range

A Walk in the Winds: Hiking a One-Day, 27-Mile Traverse of Wyoming’s Wind River Range

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By Michael Lanza

At 6:20 a.m., more than an hour into our hike, the sun surfaces through the thick layer of wildfire smoke in the valley below us. A blood-red sliver with clouds above it burning orange and yellow, it slowly blossoms into a partial disk, then a full, sharply defined orb glowing like a hot ember. It looks both beautiful and darkly sinister.

I’m trying to figure out whether this sunrise is a metaphor for our plans to hike 27 miles across Wyoming’s Wind River Range today. But I’m working on three hours of sleep and my brain’s functioning at about 20 percent of capacity. So I’m not sure whether this sunrise through wildfire smoke foretells us burning up the trail or, conversely, crashing and burning. As tired as I feel, I’m not sure that I want to know. Continue reading →

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