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How I Get Outdoors… A Lot

How I Get Outdoors… A Lot

As we paddle toward yet another class III whitewater rapid on Idaho’s Payette River, my 13-year-old son, Nate, in the kayak ahead of me, looks over his shoulder and calls out, “Dad, just follow my line.” Then he deftly steers his boat into a foaming pileup of waves, disappears briefly in the trough between two big rollers, and then emerges a moment later, upright and plowing forward through a wave train into the calmer waters beyond the rapid.

Heeding his advice, I follow his course precisely, digging my paddle into the muscular waves as they slam the snout and sides of my inflatable kayak, and somehow manage to keep my boat upright and myself inside it. When the rapid spits me out its bottom end, Nate gives me a smile and a nod. I’ve done well.

I have rafted this river before, including with my entire family (see photo above, which shows my daughter, Alex, then 10, in the bow of our raft, which has almost completely disappeared in a rapid on the Payette). But today marks my first time taking an inflatable kayak down it.

How do you fit in your outdoors time? I like to get out a lot. But to shoehorn my outdoor time into a busy home and work schedule, I have to get creative. I shared my secrets at Nature Valley’s Nature Project blog. If you’re a busy parent who would like to get outdoors more than you do, you might find this article helpful.

—Michael Lanza


About The Author

Michael Lanza

A former field editor and primary gear reviewer for Backpacker Magazine, Michael Lanza created The Big Outside to share stories and images from his many backpacking, hiking, and other outdoor adventures, as well as expert tips and gear reviews to help readers plan and pull off their own great adventures.

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    Finding the time to arrange camping trips like the ones i did when i was a 15 year old is near impossible. Getting the balance right is key. Organised yet spontaneous? Doesnt happen anymore

    Thanks for the interesting post though and that river rapid looks like great fun.


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photo of Michael Lanza

Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside and former Northwest Editor at Backpacker magazine. Click my photo to learn more about me and my blog. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside now to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. And click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

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