Category Archives: International Adventures

Stories and photos from classic international adventure trips, from Patagonia to New Zealand, Iceland to Norway, and more.

January 14, 2018 Michael Lanza near the summit of Thompson Peak, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.

Discover More Great Outdoors Adventures Now

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Family Adventures, Gear Reviews, Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged ,   |   5 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Why do you read my blog? I’m genuinely interested in knowing, so please tell me in the comments section at the bottom of this blog post. But based what I’ve heard and seen from many readers like you who follow The Big Outside, I know you’re probably looking for the best backpacking trips, family adventures, dayhikes, and other great outdoors adventures, plus my tips on how to pull off those trips, and my expert gear reviews. As you start to plan (or you should be planning) the adventures you’ll take this year, I’m going to use today’s blog post to point you in the right direction. Continue reading →

January 11, 2018 At Kaweah Gap, Sequoia National Park, California.

Why I Endanger My Kids in the Wilderness (Even Though It Scares the Sh!t Out of Me)

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skiing   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   12 Comments

By Michael Lanza

A glacial wind pours through a snowy pass in the remote mountains of Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park. Virtually devoid of vegetation, the terrain offers no refuge from the relentless current of frigid air. Some of the troops are hungry, a little tired, and grumpy; mutiny doesn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility, so I don’t want to add “cold” to their growing list of grievances. I coax everyone to push on just a little farther, down out of the wind to a sun-splashed, snow-free area of dirt and rocks for lunch.

But I don’t like the looks of the steep slope we have to descend. Blanketed in snow made firm by freezing overnight temperatures, and littered with protruding boulders, it runs hundreds of feet down to a lake choked with icebergs—in mid-July. A trench stomped into the snow by other trekkers diagonals down to our lunch spot. It’s well traveled, but someone slipping in that track could rocket downhill at the speed of a car on a highway. I turn to our little party—which ranges in age from my nine-year-old daughter to my 75-year-old mother—and emphasize that we have to proceed extremely carefully. Continue reading →

January 2, 2018

New Year Inspiration: My Top 10 Adventure Trips

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

By Michael Lanza

I often get asked, “What’s your favorite trip?” And I can’t answer that one. To pick just one from all the amazing adventures I’ve had the good fortune to take feels like an impossible task. So instead, I’ve assembled the following list of my 10 all-time favorites (so far). It includes, among other five-star trips, backpacking the Teton Crest Trail and John Muir Trail; hiking across the Grand Canyon; and trekking in Iceland, Patagonia, and Italy’s Dolomite Mountains (lead photo, above). Continue reading →

December 19, 2017 Trekking the Dientes Circuit on remote Navarino Island in Chilean Patagonia.

Trekking Remotest Patagonia on the Dientes Circuit

In Backpacking, International Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

As we climbed toward Paso Australia, on the southernmost trek in the world, the Dientes Circuit in Patagonia, the wind gathered strength, shoving us forward and sideways, spinning us around. As if to suggest that we ain’t seen nothin’ yet, our young Chilean guide, Maurice, warned, “It’s going to be windy up there at Australia Pass.”

In fact, at the 2,641-foot (805m) pass, it became hard to stand and walk. We alternately braced ourselves against the most furious gusts and stumbled a few steps forward during lulls of merely howling gales. Clouds hurried overhead, slamming against a row of stark, stone pinnacles jutting into the sky, some of the peaks that give this remote mountain range its name: Dientes de Navarino, or “Teeth of Navarino.” Continue reading →

December 11, 2017 Teenage girl descending off the Fenetre d’Arpette on the Tour du Mont Blanc in the Swiss Alps.

My Top 10 Family Outdoor Adventures

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skiing   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   7 Comments

By Michael Lanza

As a parent of teenagers who’s taken his kids on outdoor adventures since before they can remember, I’ll share with you the biggest and in some ways most surprising lesson I’ve learned from these trips: Our outdoor adventures have been the best times we’ve had together as a family—but not only because of the places and experiences themselves. The main reason is that these trips have given us innumerable days with only each other and nature for entertainment—no electronic devices or other distractions that construct virtual walls within families in everyday life. These times have brought us closer together. Continue reading →

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