Category Archives: National Park Adventures

Stories and images from my many hiking, backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, skiing, and family adventures in national parks in the U.S. and around the world.

January 17, 2017 Mangrove tunnel, East River, Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, Florida.

Photo Gallery: Paddling the Everglades

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By Michael Lanza

I confess: Everglades National Park was not near the top of my adventure to-do list before I went there the first time, during an all-day layover in Miami waiting for a flight to Chile to trek in Patagonia. After a short hike in the park, I knew I had to return for a longer visit with my kids. My family spent our first day there paddling through a series of long mangrove tunnels on the East River (lead photo above), watching scores of exotic birds fly just overhead: snowy egrets, white ibises, black anhingas, tri-colored herons, brown pelicans, great blue herons (everything that flies here seems to have a color in its name). And we saw alligators—several of them, up to 12 feet long—floating listlessly on the river’s surface. Continue reading →

January 16, 2017 Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River, Yosemite National Park.

Backpacking 150 Miles Through Wildest Yosemite

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By Michael Lanza

In early evening on a bluebird September day, deep in the wilderness of northern Yosemite National Park, my friend Todd Arndt and I—with legs feeling a little weary—reached our fourth pass of that day. We had hit the home stretch of the 23-mile, second day of a four-day, 86-mile hike; only a steep, quad-melting, 1,500-foot descent stood between us and soothing our very tired feet in the cool sand and cold water at Benson Lake (possibly the most unbelievable mountain lake I’ve ever seen).

Just beyond the pass, we strolled past quiet tarns where a few parties of backpackers were camped. And it struck me that they were the first people Todd and I had seen all day. That’s not an observation one expects to make in Yosemite. But we were exploring the “other Yosemite”—not the overcrowded park, but its most remote backcountry, on one of the most scenic multi-day hikes I’ve ever taken. Continue reading →

January 9, 2017 Trekking the Alta Via 2 in Parco Naturale Paneveggio Pale di San Martino, Dolomite Mountains, Italy.

My 10 Rules of Adventure Travel

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By Michael Lanza

I remember well my first big “adventure.” Two buddies and I, all 19, biked from our hometown in central Massachusetts to the summit of Mount Greylock—the highest peak in the state. It took us four days to ride there and home again. We had cheap 10-speeds, bulky, old sleeping bags, no tent but two big plastic sheets to lay on the ground beneath us and over us if it rained—which it did the first night—and hardly a clue about what we were doing.

Although it was not evenly remotely exotic, in our minds, it was an epic adventure, and it helped kindle in us a fire for more experiences that would give us that buzz again—that feeling of being entirely on our own and not knowing what’s going to happen next, but whatever lay ahead, we were excited to leap into it. Continue reading →

January 8, 2017 Hiking the Taylor Creek Trail, Zion National Park.

Photo Gallery: Hiking the Kolob Canyons of Zion National Park

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By Michael Lanza

Hiking in the Kolob Canyons area of Zion National Park, you get down to business with five-star scenery with your first step from your car. At the Lee Pass Trailhead, Taylor Creek Trailhead, or the Kolob Canyons Viewpoint, you’re immediately greeted with views of crimson cliffs soaring hundreds of feet tall. Then it just keeps getting better. Continue reading →

January 2, 2017

New Year Inspiration: My Top 10 Adventure Trips

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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 →

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