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My son Matt and I (age 35 and 65) will be hiking the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim-to-rim (r2r2r) in May as a continuous ultra-hike. This will be the farthest we’ve ever hiked in a day (42 to 47 miles, depending on the route), and we’re excited. Since you have done this hike in a day, we’d appreciate your advice. Do you plan your rest periods? What about pace? On a recent 30-mile hike with rolling hills in Maryland, we averaged about 3.3 miles per hour. Should we expect a slower pace on the r2r2r? What else do we need to know? Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
Nearly four decades after it erupted, Washington’s Mount St. Helens has become one of the most sought-after summits in the country—for good reason. Hikers on the standard Monitor Ridge route, on the mountain’s south side, emerge soon from the shady, cool, temperate rainforest onto a stark, gray and black moonscape of volcanic rocks, pumice, and ash, with little vegetation and sweeping views of the Cascade Mountains, including several other snow-covered volcanoes. The views could steal the breath from God.
If you want to hike Mount St. Helens this year, the online process for applying for a permit begins tomorrow, March 18. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
The three bighorn sheep lifted their heavily horned heads to gaze at us, but never budged from their beds of grass amid boulders on a mountainside above the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park. The mountain goats we saw on various occasions gave us little more attention than that. And fortunately, the grizzly bear sow with two cubs in tow that passed within about 30 feet of us—an encounter of less than 10 seconds that is etched into my memory forever—gave us no more than a passing glance.
Besides an array of wildlife on that weeklong hike through Glacier, two friends and I also saw an ocean of mountains spreading out before us, long escarpments of Glacier’s signature soaring cliffs, and some of the prettiest of the park’s 760 lakes. We even enjoyed an unexpectedly high degree of solitude for long stretches of a multi-day hike that hit many of the park’s highlights. Continue reading →
The North Face Chimera 18
$100, 18L/1,098 c.i., 1 lb. 1 oz.
One size each in men’s and women’s models
For many dayhikes, the best daypack is one that’s light, carries only what you need without superfluous capacity, and remains mostly unnoticeable on your back. I carried The North Face’s new and interesting Chimera 18 on several hikes, including a 21-mile, 10,500-vertical-foot, rim-to-rim dayhike across the Grand Canyon, and came away very impressed by its comfort with more weight than expected for a 17-ounce pack, plus its stability and surprising versatility for a range of hikers. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
So you’re a novice backpacker, or you’re backpacking in a big, Western national park for the first time, or you have kids you want to take on a relatively easy backpacking trip—and you want to sample the best scenery, trails, and backcountry campsites that experienced backpackers get to enjoy in our flagship national parks. No worries. These five trips in Grand Teton, Yosemite (photo above), Zion, Grand Canyon, and Rocky Mountain are ideal for beginners and families, with easy to moderately difficult days and simple logistics, while delivering the spectacular vistas that each of these parks is famous for. Continue reading →