Family Adventures

Sea kayakers in Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park.

Back to the Ice Age: Sea Kayaking Glacier Bay

By Michael Lanza The water of Johns Hopkins Inlet lies flat, perfectly reflecting the first patches of blue sky we’ve seen since arriving in Glacier Bay yesterday morning. I rest my paddle across the kayak and listen. A barely audible moan of wind floats down from high in the mountains, then fades away. A bald eagle screeches, briefly piercing the …

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Lower Yellowstone Falls in winter, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park.

Cross-Country Skiing Yellowstone

By Michael Lanza

The snowcoach rumbles away, leaving us in a wintry silence disturbed only by a slight breeze and the gastrointestinal emissions of a supervolcano that last let out a really big one 640,000 years ago. Back then, it ejected about 240 cubic miles of rock and dust into the sky. Today, as seems always the case with these things, it just sounds a little rude and smells badly.

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Snowstorms, Skinny Skis, Yurts, and a Family Tradition

By Michael Lanza

Fat, perfect snowflakes pour down in a silent, frozen torrent from a blank white page of sky, as if the mountains are inside a Christmas snow globe that someone just shook vigorously. Powder lays several feet deep on the ground and smothers the tall ponderosa pines, looking like dozens of clean, white mittens on their boughs. No wind stirs the still air, and it’s not too cold. The quiet could drown out any negative thoughts.

It’s the kind of day that can make you wish winter lasted all year.

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In the Land of Dr. Seuss: Exploring Joshua Tree

By Michael Lanza

I feel the familiar nervous excitement just walking up to the base of the sun-warmed granite cliff, climbing gear jangling on my harness, rope over my shoulder. For various reasons, I haven’t gotten on rock in months. But as soon as I start moving upward and stick the first cam into a crack, I realize how much I’ve missed this intensity of focus, this sensation that there’s nothing else in the world except what I’m experiencing right here and now.

There aren’t many things in life that replicate the feeling of an eighth-grade date. For me, rock climbing still does it, after all these years.

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Wildflowers, Waterfalls, and Slugs at Mount Rainier

By Michael Lanza

We hike slowly but steadily uphill in the cool shade of Pacific silver fir and Alaska yellow cedar draped in Spanish moss. With melting snow swelling every river, stream, and rivulet in the 470 miles of waterways within the boundaries of Mt. Rainier National Park, the Cascade Range erupts in a riot of greenery all around us. The forest is a happy drunk on an H2O bender.

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