National Park Adventures

Trail Running Across Marin: Four Days, 42 Miles, Inn-to-Inn

By Michael Lanza

“You have to embrace the hills.”

That subtly foreshadowing line from an e-mail my running partner today, Janet Bowman, sent me a few days ago leaps to mind, as we struggle to run up a trail pitched at the angle of an Olympic ski jump. Perspiration streams off my head like a hard rain as, rapid-fire, I gasp for air and release loud bursts of breath—this even though we’re only moving at a pace that might be described as a determined shuffle. Just minutes into a 9.5-mile trail run across the rugged hills of Northern California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA)—one that will carry us up and down 2,300 vertical feet—I’m wondering how many anaerobic-threshold moments lie ahead.

And I’ve only gone less than a mile.

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Exploring America’s Big Sandbox: Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes

By Michael Lanza

We walk along the crest of giant sand dunes as narrow as the peak of a roof, watching sand cascade down either side under our boots, and listening to it “singing” with squeaks and booms. Mouse-size kangaroo rats roam the dunes, leaping five feet into the air. At night, shooting stars arc like flaming arrows through a pitch-black sky.

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Exploring the ‘American Alps:’ the North Cascades

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