Category Archives: Family Adventures

Stories, photos, and videos from our family’s many wilderness adventures hiking, backpacking, skiing, kayaking, rafting, and climbing, including in many U.S. national parks.

December 5, 2016 Sunset at Idaho's City of Rocks National Reserve.

10 Photos From 2016 Adventures That Will Inspire You to Get Outdoors

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By Michael Lanza

What trips did you take in 2016 that reinvigorated you and fired your enthusiasm for the outdoors? Looking back through thousands of photos I took over the past year, I’ve selected some favorite images I captured on 10 memorable adventures in 2016—including several with my family. The list ranges from multi-day backpacking, river, and climbing trips in five states to outings as short as a half-day within an hour of my home. These trips occurred in seven national parks and an equal number of places managed as wilderness, from Washington’s North Cascades to Dinosaur National Monument in Utah and Colorado, from California’s Mount Whitney to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Perhaps more than anything, these pictures illustrate the diversity and wealth of natural beauty that we have many reasons to celebrate in America. Continue reading →

November 28, 2016 Hiking Blahnukur, in Fjallabak Nature Reserve, Iceland.

15 Adventures on Earth That Will Change Your Life

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By Michael Lanza

“Change your life.” That’s a tall order, isn’t it? I mean, how many experiences have that magnitude of impact on you? I can think of several that overhauled my perspective on life, or at the least, expanded how I view the world and other people.

Looking at the highest mountains on the planet and walking through villages in Nepal where people live much as their ancestors have for centuries. Seeing the surreal landscapes of Iceland (photo above) and Patagonia. Immersing myself in the mountain culture on hut-to-hut treks through the vertiginous Swiss Alps. Paddling a kayak below jungle-clad cliffs rising 4,000 feet straight out of the sea in New Zealand’s Doubtful Sound, and hiking what’s reputedly the hardest hut trek in that adventure-addicted country, the Dusky Track. And seeing unforgettable mountain ranges like the Scottish Highlands, Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park, and Italy’s Dolomites, and seals, brown bears, and sea lions in Alaska’s Glacier Bay through the unclouded eyes of my kids. Continue reading →

Shopping For Gear? Here Are the Best Deals on the Web Right Now

November 27, 2016  |  In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Gear Reviews, Hiking   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Osprey Atmos AG 65

Click on this photo for a great price now on the Osprey Atmos AG 65 backpack.

By Michael Lanza

Readers often ask me for suggestions on good-quality gear for hiking and backpacking that’s affordable. They want to get outdoors, and they’re on a budget, but they don’t want gear or clothing that will fall apart on their second day using it. Right now’s your chance to score great deals, because many online retailers are holding holiday sales, with some of the best backpacks, tents, jackets, sleeping bags, boots, and other gear (much of which I’ve reviewed) available at big savings. Frankly, it’s arguably the best time of year to buy quality gear that rarely goes on sale. You’d be crazy not to take advantage of it.

I’ve scoured the websites I like and assembled below links to my recommendations for the gear I’d buy and suggest to friends. My advice: Grab it now, while it’s available at these prices. Continue reading →

November 22, 2016 Backpacking Paria Canyon in Utah and Arizona.

Photo Gallery: Backpacking Paria Canyon

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By Michael Lanza

Walls of searing, orange-red sandstone towered hundreds of feet overhead in a chasm at times no more than a dozen strides across. A shallow river flowed like very thin, melted milk chocolate down the canyon, spanning it from wall to wall in spots. We were just hours into the first day of one of the most continually stunning, multi-day canyon hikes in the Southwest: Paria Canyon. Continue reading →

November 15, 2016 Middle Fork Salmon River, Idaho.

Video: Rafting Idaho’s Middle Fork Salmon River

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By Michael Lanza

On a six-day rafting and kayaking trip on one of the world’s premier wilderness rivers, Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon, my family and 21 friends and relatives enjoyed beautiful canyon scenery, great side hikes to waterfalls and overlooks hundreds of feet above the river, and big whitewater: The roughly 100-mile-long Middle Fork has some 300 ratable rapids, many of them class III and IV.

This video captures the unique beauty, thrills, and magic of rafting and kayaking the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Continue reading →

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