Category Archives: Hiking

Stories and images from my many dayhikes, from family- and beginner-friendly trails to hard-core ultra-hiking.

December 6, 2017 A backcountry skier at Baldy Knoll, in Wyoming's Teton Range.

How to Dress in Layers for Winter in the Backcountry

In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Hiking, International Adventures, Skiing, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

If hiking, backpacking, and climbing from spring through fall teaches us the fundamentals of layering our clothing for comfort in variable mountain weather, heading into the backcountry in winter confers a graduate degree in layering systems. In mild temperatures, getting wet with perspiration or precipitation merely risks discomfort. In freezing temps, it can quickly lead to getting really cold and actually become life-threatening. Three decades of Nordic and backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, camping, and trail running in winter have informed my layering strategy, which goes beyond the usual advice, customizing clothing systems according to activity and body type. Continue reading →

December 4, 2017 Backpacking into Titcomb Basin in Wyoming's Wind River Range.

10 Photos From 2017 That Will Inspire You to Get Outdoors

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, International Adventures, Paddling, Skiing   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

What adventures did you take in 2017 that reinvigorated you? I had a good year. The 10 photos that follow are favorite images from a list of trips I took over the past 12 months that included trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc in the Alps and exploring the rainforests and volcanoes of Costa Rica, backpacking in Wyoming’s Wind River Range and Utah’s Dark Canyon Wilderness, dayhikes in the Columbia Gorge and up the most beloved peak in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, backcountry skiing in the High Sierra and Sawtooth Mountains, and whitewater kayaking in my back yard on Idaho’s Payette River.

As the people of Costa Rica like to say, “Pura vida,” which is Spanish for “pure life.”

Continue reading →

December 3, 2017 Wallowa Mountains, Oregon.

12 Pro Tips For Staying Warm Outdoors in Winter

In Backpacking, Hiking, Skiing, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   16 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Staying warm while Nordic, downhill, or backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking in winter is a constant challenge: We sweat, our clothes get damp, then we get cold. But as humans have known for thousands of years, it’s a matter of smartly managing and insulating our body’s furnace (and today we have much better technical clothing than animal skins). As someone who runs hot when moving, cools off quickly, and gets cold fingers very easily, I’ve learned many tricks over three decades of getting outdoors in frigid temperatures. Follow these tips and you will be vastly more comfortable outdoors in winter.

Continue reading →

Zinke’s Plan to Jack Up National Park Entrance Fees is a Shell Game

November 19, 2017  |  In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skiing   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
The Going-to-the-Sun Road near Logan Pass, Glacier National Park.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road near Logan Pass, Glacier National Park.

By Michael Lanza

Beginning next year, the cost to enter 17 flagship national parks—including Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Glacier, Arches, Olympic, Acadia, and Denali—could more than double under a proposal from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The goal is to tackle an enormous maintenance backlog in parks that has built up for years.

But as structured, this plan won’t accomplish that goal, and burdens people who can least afford it. When it comes to confronting a problem that has become the shame of the Interior Department, this plan represents nothing more than throwing a rug over a crisis and calling it good. Continue reading →

November 16, 2017 Northern Bailey Range, Olympic Mountains, Olympic National Park.

5 Tips For Spending Less on Hiking and Backpacking Gear

In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   14 Comments

By Michael Lanza

My first two-person tent set me back only about 75 bucks. It weighed several pounds and was bulky for backpacking. I called it the Wind Sock for its propensity to snap loudly in the slightest breeze, and because its poles bowed disturbingly in strong gusts. (I learned to choose protected campsites.) When it rained hard, I’d wake up to a puddle covering the floor.

But I used it for six summers of car camping and backpacking. At a time when I could not afford good gear, that tent was good enough. It sheltered me for probably close to 150 nights and got me through many wonderful experiences. For its swan song, my girlfriend (now my wife) and I spent three months hiking, backpacking, and climbing throughout the West—and slept a total of one night indoors. I used the Wind Sock until it all but disintegrated in the last campsite it ever saw. My cost for that tent worked out to about 50 cents a night. Continue reading →

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