Trips

A hiker overlooking New Hampshire's northern Presidential Range.

Step Onto Rock. Repeat 50,000 Times: A Presidential Range ‘Death March’

By Michael Lanza I shine my headlamp on my watch as we start up the Daniel Webster Trail: 3:35 a.m. My head has that squeezed, hungover feeling from not enough sleep; the four hours we grabbed on the floor of Mark’s van after driving up here last night fell a few hours shy of rejuvenating. But we don’t have the …

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Half Dome, Liberty Cap, and Nevada Fall in Yosemite National Park.

The Magic of Hiking to Yosemite’s Waterfalls

By Michael Lanza

My seven-year-old daughter, Alex, is engaged in some heavy intellectual lifting. I can tell by the way she stares quietly, her brow knitted in thought, at Upper Yosemite Falls. We’ve hiked for 90 minutes up a thousand vertical feet of hot, dusty trail above Yosemite Valley to stand below this curtain of water that plunges a sheer 1,430 feet off a cliff, ripping through the air with a sound like fighter jets buzzing us.

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Hikers on Blahnukur peak, near Landmannalaugar in Iceland's Central Highlands.

Earth, Wind, and Fire: A Journey to the Planet’s Beginnings in Iceland

By Michael Lanza

The land is on fire.

Actually, the land appears to be smoldering, stoked by some persistent furnace just beneath the surface. Which is essentially true.

Steam from hot springs and other geothermal features issues from scores of points from here to the horizon. Mud pots bubble and burp, and the color of volcanic activity is everywhere—paint-can spills of ochre, pink, gold, plum, brown, rust, and honey against a backdrop of purple pumice and electric-lime moss. An old, hardened lava flow pours down one mountainside in a jumbled train wreck of razor-sharp black rhyolite. Barren peaks extend ridges like the arms of starfish. Chattering streams carry the runoff from July snowfields smeared across the highlands. Scudding clouds stampede overhead, constantly rearranging the dappled sunlight splashing over the landscape.

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