Tag Archives: Baron Lakes
By Michael Lanza
What makes a great backpacking trip? I’ve thought about that more than a mentally stable person probably should, having done many of America’s (and the world’s) most beautiful and beloved multi-day hikes over the years. Certainly top-shelf scenery is a mandatory qualification. An element of adventurousness enhances a hike, in my eyes. As I assembled this top 10 list, longer trips seemed to dominate it—there’s something special about a big walk in the wilderness—but two- and three-day hikes also made my list. Another factor that truly matters is a wilderness experience: All of my top 10 are in national parks or federal wilderness areas.
Some things, though, don’t require explanation; the validation comes in just doing it. So I give you here my admittedly personal and subjective list of the 10 best backpacking trips I’ve taken over more than a quarter-century (and counting) of humping a pack on trails all over the country, as a longtime field editor for Backpacker magazine and writing for this blog. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
Take three 15-year-old boys backpacking in the mountains and you never quite know what will happen. When my son, Nate, told me that he wanted to take two buddies out on their first backpacking trip, I agreed to it without hesitation. Over the course of three late-August days in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains—where we camped at two of the range’s numerous, beautiful mountain lakes—we saw one puncture wound (minor, from walking around barefoot), one case of diarrhea (I recommend against a diet consisting primarily of Slim Jims), and one pair of boots inadvertently dunked in a creek they were being carried across (I still don’t quite understand how that happened).
We also possibly created two new backpackers, and almost certainly forged some memories that three young men will carry perhaps for the rest of their lives, laughing hard whenever they recall this trip together. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
I’m stepping out on a limb here, but I think there are very few mountain ranges in America with as many drop-dead, gorgeous high mountain lakes as Idaho’s Sawtooths. In fact, the only range that beats out the Sawtooths in that department may be the High Sierra (and not coincidentally, the two share other similarities, including geology). Over nearly 20 years of wandering around Idaho’s best-known hills, I’ve seen many of those watery jewels, and I’ve put together this gallery of photos from many of them. Continue reading →
I’m an avid reader of your blog and know that you’re very familiar with Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, so I was hoping you could give me some advice on either a good 3-day backpacking route or a base camp area where I could take three big day hikes from. I consider myself to be pretty fit and I have a handful of backpacking trips under my belt, so I feel comfortable putting in 10 to 15 miles per day, even over strenuous terrain. Thanks for any suggestions you can provide and for all of your informative and inspirational trip reports.
Brighton, MA Continue reading →
[Note: I received the following three similar inquiries from readers.]
Thank you for your thoughtful, inspiring and informative work! I hike and camp monthly with four girlfriends and once a year we go on a longer backpacking trip and are currently planning our next trip. We are headed to Idaho! I’ve been trying to put together a loop in the Sawtooth Wilderness. I’ve read enough of your posts to know you’re the expert on the Sawtooths. Can you recommend a loop that is about 40 to 50 miles? The one I read about starts at the Grandjean Trailhead clockwise around Sawtooth Lake, south around Cramer lakes, down and around Spangle Lake, then north towards Elk Lake, back to Grandjean. Maybe there’s a shortcut on this loop? Continue reading →