Columbia Gorge hikes

A backpacker in Titcomb Basin in Wyoming's Wind River Range.

10 Photos From 2017 That Will Inspire You to Get Outdoors

By Michael Lanza

What adventures did you take in 2017 that reinvigorated you? I had a good year. The 10 photos that follow are favorite images from a list of trips I took over the past 12 months that included trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc in the Alps and exploring the rainforests and volcanoes of Costa Rica, backpacking in Wyoming’s Wind River Range and Utah’s Dark Canyon Wilderness, dayhikes in the Columbia Gorge and up the most beloved peak in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, backcountry skiing in the High Sierra and Sawtooth Mountains, and whitewater kayaking in my back yard on Idaho’s Payette River.

As the people of Costa Rica like to say, “Pura vida,” which is Spanish for “pure life.”

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10 Really Cool Outdoor Adventures With Kids

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.

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A family hiking behind Ponytail Falls, Columbia Gorge, Oregon.

Photo Gallery: Hiking the Columbia Gorge

By Michael Lanza My son and daughter aren’t that into great views. I still remember my son saying to me, making no attempt to mask his disdain, “What is it about adults and views?” Kids don’t want an experience in nature that’s no better than a picture on the wall—they want to immerse themselves in it, get dirty and wet and throw stuff. That’s …

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Ponytail Falls, Columbia Gorge, Oregon.

Photo Gallery: A Big Day in the Columbia Gorge

By Michael Lanza

To some hikers, the Rock of Ages Trail on the Oregon side of the Columbia Gorge will feel like the supreme challenge, a gauntlet thrown down; to others, it could seem like a cruel joke. My friend Geoff Sears and I hiked on the balls of our feet much of the way up this crazily steep, unmaintained goat path—which climbs more than 2,000 vertical feet in one stretch of less than two miles—at times scrabbling along narrow spines of vegetation-cloaked rock where a slip could send us toppling downward through dense rainforest.

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Ponytail Falls, Columbia Gorge.

Nature In Your Face: Hiking the Columbia Gorge

By Michael Lanza

Horsetail Falls slices a thin, glowing white, 176-foot-tall incision down a cliff of black rock wallpapered with moss and ferns, crashing into a shallow, chilly wading pool at its base. To see it, today’s first waterfall, we had to hike all the way across the road from the parking lot.

My son, Nate, and daughter, Alex, give Horsetail the once-over without much comment or enthusiasm. It’s not easy to impress elementary-school-age kids with nature, not even when it roars louder and looms larger than their favorite video games. I understand why: To kids, nature’s no good if it’s no better than a picture on the wall—they want to immerse themselves in it, get dirty and wet and throw stuff. And that water’s too chilly on this overcast, cool, June day to wade into that pool. But I know they’ll be more impressed with the next falls awaiting us. And sure enough, a little while later, when we turn a corner on the trail through dense, dripping rainforest and see Ponytail Falls, they pick up the pace and gush, “That’s cool!”

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