Columbine Lake

Rock Slide Lake in Idaho's southern Sawtooth Mountains.

Photo Gallery: 30 Gorgeous Backcountry Lakes

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 …

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Backpackers hiking the High Sierra Trail in Sequoia National Park.

Heavy Lifting: Backpacking Sequoia National Park

By Michael Lanza

I stare at the backpack on the ground in front of me. At 85 liters, with every milliliter of it stuffed with about 60 pounds of gear and food, it looks like something that should be lowered by a crane into a container ship rather than attached to a person’s back. If it had legs, teeth, and an appetite for meat, I wouldn’t stand a chance.

In fact, standing at the Sawtooth Pass Trailhead at 7,820 feet in Sequoia National Park, looking up at our imminent ascent to 9,511-foot Timber Gap, I’m thinking the chances that I’ll have an easy time of it are very, very slim. Probably like most parents, before I became a dad I had absolutely no idea how much heavy lifting was involved.

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High Sierra Trail above Middle Fork Kaweah River, Sequoia National Park.

Ask Me: Backpacking in Sequoia National Park

Hello Michael.

While researching for a summer backpacking trip with my wife, I came across your excellent website for the first time. Thank you for setting such a high bar in quality images and narrative. My daughter is a writer and would appreciate your style. Two questions about your article on the 6-day, 38-mile Sequoia National Park loop: If you were hiking that loop without your children, would you have still been content with the daily mileage, or would you have done something different? (We are physically fit and 60, so we do have limitations.) Secondly, you mention the mosquito population. Our trip would have to be in that mid-to-late July timeframe. Do you know if most hikers experience such a thickness of mosquitos that the experience is negatively affected to a great extent?

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