Dinosaur National Monument

Sunset at Idaho's City of Rocks National Reserve.

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

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.

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Our rafting and kayaking party in Lodore Canyon, Dinosaur National Monument.

3-Minute Read: Rafting Through Dinosaur National Monument

By Michael Lanza

Our flotilla of five rafts and two kayaks drifted lazily toward what looked like a geological impossibility: a gigantic cleft a thousand feet deep where the river appeared to have chopped a path right through the Uinta Mountains of northeastern Utah. Cracked cliffs of burgundy-brown rock framed the gap. Called the Gates of Lodore, its’ a canyon as famous today for its scenery and whitewater as it was once infamous for the crises that befell its first party of explorers, led by a one-armed Civil War veteran, who set out in wooden boats a century and a half ago to map the West’s greatest river system.

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Middle Fork Salmon River, Idaho.

Ask Me: Can You Recommend Rafting Outfitters and Trips?

Hi Michael,

I just found your blog today after starting my research for a summer guided rafting tour for families. In my next life I’d like to come back as one of your offspring! My husband would like to take our eager son on a guided, overnight rafting trip this summer to celebrate his 10th birthday: father-son trip, but someone else does the heavy lifting so dad and son can focus on enjoyment of the river, campfires and overall one-on-one time. We live in the Bay Area but our son is keen to travel for this trip—Idaho, Utah, Oregon, or Colorado, to name a few suggestions. Can you point us toward some well-regarded guiding companies and provide any insight to consider when we comparison shop?

Kind regards,
Catherine
Lafayette, CA

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