Tag Archives: “American Alps”

July 23, 2018 A backpacker at Park Creek Pass, North Cascades National Park.

Photo Gallery: Hiking and Backpacking North Cascades National Park

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

On my first trip to North Cascades National Park, I was sure I’d found heaven. The hard-earned views of a sea of jagged spires and snow- and ice-covered peaks stretching as far as you could see instantly cemented the place as one of my favorite mountain ranges. I’ve returned many times, backpacking, climbing, ski mountaineering, and dayhiking and backpacking with my family.

But not many hikers and backpackers know much about Washington’s North Cascades, one of America’s least-visited national parks. And the season for heading into the backcountry there is upon us.

Check out the gallery of photos below; I think it will persuade you to put this park high on your list. Find links to my stories about the North Cascades below the photo gallery. Continue reading →

July 2, 2018 Image Lake, Glacier Peak Wilderness, Washington.

Photo Gallery: 20 Gorgeous Backcountry Lakes

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By Michael Lanza

Water makes up about 60 percent of our bodies—and, I suspect, 100 percent of our hearts. We crave it not only physically, for survival, but emotionally, for spiritual rejuvenation. We love playing in it for hours as children and we paddle and swim in it as adults. We’re drawn by the calming effects of sitting beside a stream or lake in a beautiful natural setting, an experience that possesses a certain je ne sais quoi—a quality difficult to describe, but that we can all feel in our heart. Continue reading →

October 2, 2017 A backpacker near Park Creek Pass, North Cascades National Park, Washington.

Primal Wild: Backpacking 80 Miles Through the North Cascades

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By Michael Lanza

“Lots of bears at Grizzly Creek.”

Those words that a backcountry ranger spoke to me over the phone just yesterday echo through our heads now, as my friend Todd Arndt and I descend switchbacks from misleadingly named, 6,500-foot Easy Pass into the densely forested valley of Fisher Creek in Washington’s North Cascades National Park. Fog swirls around the jagged peaks nearly a vertical mile above us. Battleship-gray skies threaten a common meteorological occurrence in these mountains—rain—although we’ve seen only sprinkles and wind so far. We’re hiking downhill past ripe huckleberry bushes toward a thicket of slide alder and chest-high brush that the trail passes through—ideal bear habitat.

“That’s where they’ll be,” I say to Todd. Without taking his eyes off that tangle of alder and tall brush, Todd just says, “Yup.” Continue reading →

June 7, 2010

Exploring the ‘American Alps:’ the North Cascades

In Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment

By Michael Lanza

The wind and horizontal rain battered us and the fog reduced visibility to 50 feet at times as we hiked up Sahale Arm. We struggled into the maelstrom with rain jacket hoods cinched snugly, our heads bent forward into the wind. Bullets of cold rain pelted my cheek.

It was mid-July in Washington’s North Cascades National Park, but it felt like mid-October—no surprise in the northernmost and one of the wettest mountain ranges in the contiguous United States, where 110 inches of precipitation falls annually on its western slope. My friend David Ports and I were headed up toward some of the most severely vertical mountain scenery in the country—though that morning, it didn’t look like we’d get treated to any of it. Continue reading →

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