Family Adventures

Whitewater rafters in Cliffside Rapid, Middle Fork Salmon River, Idaho.

Reunions of the Heart on Idaho’s Middle Fork Salmon River

By Michael Lanza Sitting in my inflatable kayak as our flotilla of more than a dozen rafts and kayaks launches on our first morning on Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River, I just drift and wait. And it takes only a moment before the feeling sinks in deeper than the warm sunshine on my skin: serenity. The profound peacefulness …

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A backpacker in The Narrows in Zion National Park.

Photo Gallery: 10 Awe-Inspiring Wild Places

By Michael Lanza

Over many years of taking wilderness trips of all kinds, I’ve gotten pickier about my backpacking and other backcountry adventures. The best-known trails, peaks, and wilderness waters are usually beautiful; but sometimes, for various reasons, they don’t always do it for me. More and more, I seek out the places and multi-day adventures that inspire a powerful sense of awe. It certainly begins with exceptional natural beauty, but often also requires getting farther from civilization, onto paths less traveled, and occasionally entails greater physical and other challenges. But those adventures feel wilder. And that’s what I’m after.

The 10 places shown in the photos below are exactly that: still wild.

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Ouzel Lake in Wild Basin, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

The 5 Rules About Kids I Broke While Backpacking in Rocky Mountain National Park

By Michael Lanza

“I’m dying!” my son, Nate, bellowed to the entire forest in the Wild Basin of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. “This pack is too heavy!” We were just 30 minutes up the trail at the outset of a three-day backpacking trip. It was a trip that seemed like an unmitigated disaster for the first two days—then morphed into an adventure my kids clearly enjoyed and that helped expand their outdoor interests.

For me, those three days in Rocky serve as a reminder about the many ways you can do it wrong when taking kids outdoors, but how simple it is to make it right.

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A backpacker at Ooh-Ah Point on the South Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon.

10 Tips For Getting Outside More

By Michael Lanza

Do you get outside as much as you’d like, either locally or on longer trips away from home? Who does? For many of us, work, home, and other responsibilities erect roadblocks to getting out as much as we’d like—and the ongoing pandemic has only made travel much more difficult and anxiety-provoking while making time outdoors feel ever more urgent and necessary. This story shares 10 simple strategies to help you sate your appetite for getting outdoors, both on short outings near home and longer trips away from home.

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A backpacker descending from Panhandle Gap on the Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier National Park.

5 Reasons You Must Backpack Mount Rainier’s Wonderland Trail

By Michael Lanza There are many good reasons the 93-mile Wonderland Trail encircling Washington’s Mount Rainier ranks among the most popular backpacking trips in the country. And yet, backpackers who’ve never attempted this loop around the third-highest peak in the Lower 48 may have questions about what it’s like. If you have not hiked all or part of the Wonderland …

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