Tag Archives: California

December 5, 2016 Sunset at Idaho's City of Rocks National Reserve.

10 Photos From 2016 Adventures That Will Inspire You to Get Outdoors

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By Michael Lanza

What trips did you take in 2016 that reinvigorated you and fired your enthusiasm for the outdoors? Looking back through thousands of photos I took over the past year, I’ve selected some favorite images I captured on 10 memorable adventures in 2016—including several with my family. The list ranges from multi-day backpacking, river, and climbing trips in five states to outings as short as a half-day within an hour of my home. These trips occurred in seven national parks and an equal number of places managed as wilderness, from Washington’s North Cascades to Dinosaur National Monument in Utah and Colorado, from California’s Mount Whitney to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Perhaps more than anything, these pictures illustrate the diversity and wealth of natural beauty that we have many reasons to celebrate in America. Continue reading →

November 14, 2016 Surprise Canyon, Panamint Range, Death Valley National Park.

A Mind-Boggling Chunk of Lonely: Backpacking in Death Valley National Park

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By Michael Lanza

“Can you believe how much water there is?!” Katie asks incredulously. It’s a logical question, and the response of silence from the rest of us answers her pretty succinctly: No, we can’t.

We’re backpacking in a lonely corner of the water-starved and nearly barren Panamint Range in southern California’s Death Valley National Park. One of the most insufferably hot and dry deserts on the planet, Death Valley averages less than two inches of rainfall a year. The temperature on this mid-May evening still hovers around a steaming 90° F in the shade, even as sunset fast approaches. That actually feels relatively frosty compared to when we stopped at the park’s Furnace Creek visitor center this afternoon, at 190 feet below sea level, where the outside thermometer read a searing 108° F. Continue reading →

November 13, 2016 The Narrows, Zion National Park.

My 10 Most-Read Stories at The Big Outside

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By Michael Lanza

Which story of mine first led you to this blog? Which stories here interest you the most? (I’d really appreciate reading your answers to those questions in the comments section below this story.) I can tell you what your fellow readers of The Big Outside come to my blog looking for. I’ve compiled here a list of the 10 most-read stories over the past several months at The Big Outside. It includes feature-length stories about the adventures my readers most want to do, and some of my articles of tips on outdoor skills to help you make every trip a success. Continue reading →

November 7, 2016 The Subway, Zion National Park.

5 Great Adventures to Take in 2017

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By Michael Lanza

Where will you take a big outdoor adventure in 2017? This is the time of year when I like to start planning for next year, because if you lead a busy life, big trips don’t happen unless you get them on the calendar early. For two of the national park trips I describe below, Zion and Everglades, the prime season is around the corner; and for other destinations in this story—Sequoia and Olympic national parks and Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains—you be wise to plan dates and the route and travel logistics in advance.
Continue reading →

October 31, 2016 Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park.

10 Really Cool Outdoor Adventures With Kids

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By Michael Lanza

Want to guarantee that your kids are always excited about getting outdoors as a family? Find adventures that excite them. We adults tend to look for nice scenery, but that, by itself, isn’t always going to fire up a school-age child or teenager. No matter what their age, kids want to engage with the outdoors—to get dirty and wet and climb around. By thinking a little more about trip planning, parents can find places and activities that inspire everyone scenically and experientially. Continue reading →

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