Dark Canyon Wilderness

A backpacker on the Continental Divide Trail in Glacier National Park.

12 Expert Tips for Finding Solitude When Backpacking

By Michael Lanza Solitude has always reigned as one of the holy grails of backpacking: We all dream of finding that lonely campsite deep in the wilderness with an amazing vista, or hiking for miles or days encountering few or even no other people on the trail. But reality often conflicts with expectations for many backpackers when they discover that …

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Ancient Puebloan ruins in Woodenshoe Canyon, in Utah's Dark Canyon Wilderness.

Ancient and Modern Folly: Backpacking Utah’s Dark Canyon

By Michael Lanza About five miles down Woodenshoe Canyon, under a blazing sun in southeast Utah’s Dark Canyon Wilderness, David stops on the sandy trail ahead of me and points to a barely distinguishable feature in the cliffs above us. We set our backpacks on the ground and follow a faint path up onto slabs below the cliffs. Scrambling and …

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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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Ancient ruins in Woodenshoe Canyon, in Utah’s Dark Canyon Wilderness.

Trump May Shrink Some Monuments. Here’s What We Could Lose

By Michael Lanza

As my friend David and I set out from the Peavine Canyon Trailhead on a 40-mile, mid-May backpacking trip through southeastern Utah’s Dark Canyon Wilderness—part of the Bears Ears National Monument now in the gunsights of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who’s proposing that President Donald Trump radically shrink this and other national monuments, something no president has ever done—a young cowboy rode up on a horse. He launched into a conversation that lasted just a few minutes, but spoke volumes about the broad chasm dividing the values and motives of people like Zinke, Trump, and others who want to diminish these lands from those of us who use and cherish them.

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Ancient Puebloan ruin in Woodenshoe Canyon, Dark Canyon Wilderness, Utah.

3-Minute Read: Backpacking Utah’s Dark Canyon Wilderness

By Michael Lanza

About five miles down Woodenshoe Canyon, in southeast Utah’s Dark Canyon Wilderness, David stops on the trail ahead of me and points to a barely distinguishable feature in the cliffs above us. We drop our backpacks and follow a faint path in the sand and up onto sandstone slabs, scrambling and zigzagging our way up onto a wide ledge below an overhanging cliff face. In the shaded alcove below that overhang, we stop before the ruins of a tiny, one-room stone structure perhaps large enough for two people to lie down inside, built centuries before Columbus arrived in the New World.

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