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.

February 24, 2019 Hikers on the Alta Via 2 in Parco Naturale Puez-Odle, Dolomite Mountains, Italy.

Hike the World’s Most Beautiful Trail: The Alta Via 2 in the Dolomites

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By Michael Lanza

Hiking toward a mountain pass named Furcela dia Roa, on the first day of my family’s weeklong, hut-to-hut trek on the Alta Via 2 in northern Italy’s Dolomite Mountains, we stopped in an open meadow of grass and wildflowers overlooking a deep, verdant valley in Puez-Odle Natural Park. Across the valley loomed a wall of cliffs topped by jagged spires, like a castle a thousand feet tall. I looked at our map and back up at the stone wall before us, puzzled. After a moment, I realized: We have to get over that wall.

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February 18, 2019 Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park

Ask Me: The Ultimate Family Tour of Yellowstone

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Hi Michael-

My husband and I live in Missoula with our two boys, ages three and five. We are spending three nights in Yellowstone, and it will be our kids’ first visit. Are there any sites or activities that were unexpectedly or just especially fun?

Thanks for your help and for the inspiration to get outside with the kids even when the thought of packing the car is feeling daunting.

Take care,
Laurie
Missoula Continue reading →

February 17, 2019 A hiker descending from the Fenetre d'Arpette on the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Photo Gallery: Hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc in the Alps

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By Michael Lanza

Look at any list of the world’s greatest hiking trails, and the Tour du Mont Blanc almost invariably occupies a spot at or near the top of the list. There are many good reasons for that. But first and foremost comes the sheer majesty of this roughly 105-mile (170k) walking path around the “Monarch of the Alps.” Passing through three nations—France, Italy, and Switzerland—and over several mountain passes reaching nearly 9,000 feet, it delivers almost constant views of glaciers, pointy peaks and “augilles,” and when it’s not engulfed in clouds, the snowy dome of Mont Blanc.

In July 2017, I took a wonderful, nine-day trek on the Tour du Mont Blanc with my family and eight other friends and relatives—including my 80-year-old mom—and we were blown away by the scenery and the cultural and gastronomical experience. Scroll through my photos below for a window into the awesome character of this trail. Continue reading →

February 11, 2019 A backpacker on the Pitamakan Pass-Dawson Pass traverse in Glacier National Park.

America’s Top 10 Best Backpacking Trips

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By Michael Lanza

What makes a great backpacking trip? I’ve thought about that more than a mentally stable person probably should, having done many of America’s (and the world’s) most beautiful and beloved multi-day hikes over the years. Certainly top-shelf scenery is mandatory. An element of adventurousness enhances a hike, in my eyes. As I assembled this top 10 list, longer trips seemed to dominate it—there’s something special about a big walk in the wilderness—but two- and three-day hikes also made my list. Another factor that truly matters is a wilderness experience: All 10 are in national parks or wilderness areas.

In the final analysis, though, the only criterion that matters is simple: that it’s a great trip. And that character shows itself over and over in my picks for the 10 best backpacking trips in the country, selected from the many I’ve taken over more than a quarter-century (and counting) of carrying a backpack, both as a longtime field editor for Backpacker magazine and creator of this blog. Continue reading →

February 10, 2019 Baron Lake, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.

Photo Gallery: Mountain Lakes of Idaho’s Sawtooths

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   5 Comments

By Michael Lanza

I may be risking an impassioned debate here, but I think there are very few mountain ranges in America with as many drop-dead, gorgeous high mountain lakes as Idaho’s Sawtooths. In fact, the only ranges that arguably beat out the Sawtooths in that department may be the High Sierra and Wind River Range (and not coincidentally, the three share other similarities, including geology). In 20 years of wandering around Idaho’s best-known hills, I’ve seen many of those watery jewels. This gallery of photos from many of them may persuade you to agree with me. Continue reading →

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