Category Archives: Hiking

Stories and pictures from my many dayhiking adventures, from family- and beginner-friendly trails to serious ultra-hiking.

July 21, 2016 Hiker on "The Visor," Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California.

10 Tricks For Making Hiking and Backpacking Easier

In Backpacking, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments

By Michael Lanza

When I first started hiking, in my early 20s, I was like a young baseball pitcher with an overpowering fastball: I simply hurled myself at every hike with all of my energy and cluelessness, not terribly concerned about whether I hit the metaphorical strike zone. I didn’t think much about how far I was hiking, how rugged the terrain was, how heavy a pack I was carrying—or, to be honest, how much my companions were ready or eager for whatever lunatic plan I was dragging them into. I was young and fit and didn’t really care how much my body ached afterward, so my haphazard strategy worked well enough.

Now, many miles and (too) many years later, I’m more like a veteran hurler who’s learned the benefits of honing a repertoire of off-speed pitches. Hiking and backpacking can be hard on your body. But over the years, I’ve learned various tricks to soften the blow of hard miles, and they have helped enable me to hike 20, 30, even 40 miles in a day. Continue reading →

July 17, 2016 Lake 8522, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.

12 Simple Tips For Taking Better Outdoor Photos

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   9 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Do you wonder how some people come back from national parks and other outdoor trips with fantastic photos? Would you like to take the kind of pictures that make people ooh and aah? It may not be as complicated as you think. Continue reading →

July 11, 2016 Image Lake, Glacier Peak Wilderness, Washington.

Photo Gallery: 15 Favorite Backcountry Lakes

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

Water makes up about 60 percent of our bodies—and, I suspect, 100 percent of our hearts. We crave it not only physically, for survival, but emotionally, for spiritual rejuvenation. We love playing in it for hours as children and we paddle and swim in it as adults. We’re drawn by the calming effects of sitting beside a stream or lake in a beautiful natural setting, an experience that possesses a certain je ne sais quoi—a quality difficult to describe, but that we can all feel in our heart. Continue reading →

July 4, 2016 Nate hiking Mount Washington, Presidential Range, N.H.

Big Hearts, Big Day: A 17-Mile Hike With Teens in the Presidential Range

In Family Adventures, Hiking   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

Like two spooked deer, Marco and Liam bound ahead of us on the trail, pause to wait for us to catch up, and then sprint ahead again. Powered by the blindly stratospheric self-confidence of athletic teenage boys, they do this repeatedly as we hike a trail paved with rocks the size of bowling balls and dorm-room refrigerators. We are in the early hours of a marathon dayhike over the four peaks of New Hampshire’s Northern Presidential Range, but they are treating it like a short, interval-training workout.

Something tells me this strategy won’t carry them through our long day. But I say nothing. I’m just curious to see how long a pair of fit young bucks can keep this up. Continue reading →

July 3, 2016 Day two in The Narrows, Zion National Park.

Photo Gallery: Backpacking Zion’s Narrows

In Backpacking, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

The sound of rushing water increased in volume as we walked downstream in the calf-deep North Fork of the Virgin River, where walls press in close and reach toward the clouds in The Narrows of Zion National Park. Turning a bend in the canyon, we came upon one of the most incongruous sights in the desert: a waterfall pouring from cracks in the canyon’s sandstone wall. Known as Big Springs, this oasis of cascading water and greenery clinging to a redrock cliff is just one of the many wonders awaiting backpackers in Zion’s Narrows. Continue reading →

← Older posts