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.

January 17, 2017 Mangrove tunnel, East River, Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, Florida.

Photo Gallery: Paddling the Everglades

In Family Adventures, National Park Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   3 Comments

By Michael Lanza

I confess: Everglades National Park was not near the top of my adventure to-do list before I went there the first time, during an all-day layover in Miami waiting for a flight to Chile to trek in Patagonia. After a short hike in the park, I knew I had to return for a longer visit with my kids. My family spent our first day there paddling through a series of long mangrove tunnels on the East River (lead photo above), watching scores of exotic birds fly just overhead: snowy egrets, white ibises, black anhingas, tri-colored herons, brown pelicans, great blue herons (everything that flies here seems to have a color in its name). And we saw alligators—several of them, up to 12 feet long—floating listlessly on the river’s surface. Continue reading →

January 15, 2017 Star Lake and Mount Madison, Presidential Range, N.H.

Two Letters, Three Fathers, and a Reminder of What’s Really Important

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   3 Comments

By Michael Lanza

About 20 years ago, when I was living in rural New Hampshire and syndicating a weekly outdoor column in newspapers across New England, I received a letter—yes, a letter, delivered by the U.S. Postal Service—from a guy who lived near me, offering himself as a hiking partner. He was a few years older than my father. But there was something about his letter that prompted me to write back, and it sparked an unusual friendship centered almost entirely on our hikes together.

But one detail of Doug’s life story inspired me the most: He had retired from his corporate job early, in his mid-50s. In other words: He had decided to make enjoying life his top priority. I’ve had many reasons to think about that philosophy and about Doug recently, and to contemplate the things that are truly important to me—which, in our fast-paced, hyper-connected culture, can be all too easy to forget. Continue reading →

January 10, 2017 Hiking to Forca Rossa, Alta Via 2, Dolomite Mountains, Italy.

Ask Me: Should We Get Travel Insurance For Overseas Adventures?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, International Adventures, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

[Note: This blog post of an email exchange reveals the story of a reader who experienced a traveler’s nightmare in a foreign country. Her cautionary tale offers valuable advice for anyone who travels internationally.]

Hi Michael,

We are planning a hut-to-hut trip in the Dolomite Mountains this summer and I was wondering if you could give advice on travel insurance. When we went to Patagonia last year, I didn’t even think about it, but a doctor friend of mine recently highly recommended some sort of travel medical insurance for when we do hiking trips abroad. I know you do a lot of international hiking trips with your family, so it’d be great to hear your thoughts and experience! Continue reading →

January 9, 2017 Trekking the Alta Via 2 in Parco Naturale Paneveggio Pale di San Martino, Dolomite Mountains, Italy.

My 10 Rules of Adventure Travel

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   6 Comments

By Michael Lanza

I remember well my first big “adventure.” Two buddies and I, all 19, biked from our hometown in central Massachusetts to the summit of Mount Greylock—the highest peak in the state. It took us four days to ride there and home again. We had cheap 10-speeds, bulky, old sleeping bags, no tent but two big plastic sheets to lay on the ground beneath us and over us if it rained—which it did the first night—and hardly a clue about what we were doing.

Although it was not evenly remotely exotic, in our minds, it was an epic adventure, and it helped kindle in us a fire for more experiences that would give us that buzz again—that feeling of being entirely on our own and not knowing what’s going to happen next, but whatever lay ahead, we were excited to leap into it. Continue reading →

January 8, 2017 Hiking the Taylor Creek Trail, Zion National Park.

Photo Gallery: Hiking the Kolob Canyons of Zion National Park

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Hiking in the Kolob Canyons area of Zion National Park, you get down to business with five-star scenery with your first step from your car. At the Lee Pass Trailhead, Taylor Creek Trailhead, or the Kolob Canyons Viewpoint, you’re immediately greeted with views of crimson cliffs soaring hundreds of feet tall. Then it just keeps getting better. Continue reading →

← Older posts