Tag Archives: Mark Fenton

September 3, 2018 A backpacker above Island Lake in Wyoming's Wind River Range.

Best of the Wind River Range: Backpacking to Titcomb Basin

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By Michael Lanza

We pause along the trail above Seneca Lake, looking out over water bluer than the cobalt sky, glistening in bright sunshine. A bit farther, reaching a “low” pass at just over 10,600 feet in the Wind River Range, we see the jagged crest of the Continental Divide, pushing several summits to nearly 14,000 feet. The sense of anticipation leaps a notch higher. Then we crest another rise to see Island Lake backdropped by the long procession of razor peaks framing Titcomb Basin.

At this point, just a few hours into our backpacking trip, we are already smitten with the Winds. Continue reading →

August 21, 2017 A hiker on Bondcliff, on the Pemi Loop in the White Mountains, N.H.

Being Stupid With Friends: A 32-Mile Dayhike in the White Mountains

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By Michael Lanza

As we near the top of Mount Flume in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, the first of nine summits we hope to reach today, a light shower begins falling. It seems a less-than-ideal portent near the front end of one of the longest and hardest days of hiking any of us has ever undertaken—especially for three people somewhere between two and three decades past their hiking prime. But this only strikes us as one more in a long list of reasons to laugh at the absurdity of our self-imposed mission: to see whether we still have the stuff to knock off a dayhike that few mountain walkers would even contemplate. In that context, the arrival of the rain we knew was forecasted comes all in a day’s foolishness.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson once opined, “It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.” Continue reading →

July 4, 2016 Nate hiking Mount Washington, Presidential Range, N.H.

Big Hearts, Big Day: A 17-Mile Hike With Teens in the Presidential Range

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By Michael Lanza

Like two spooked deer, Marco and Liam bound ahead of us on the trail, pause to wait for us to catch up, and then sprint ahead again. Powered by the blindly stratospheric self-confidence of athletic teenage boys, they do this repeatedly as we hike a trail paved with rocks the size of bowling balls and dorm-room refrigerators. We are in the early hours of a marathon dayhike over the four peaks of New Hampshire’s Northern Presidential Range, but they are treating it like a short, interval-training workout.

Something tells me this strategy won’t carry them through our long day. But I say nothing. I’m just curious to see how long a pair of fit young bucks can keep this up. Continue reading →

August 31, 2015 Hiking Clouds Rest, Yosemite National Park, California.

Best of Yosemite, Part 1: Backpacking South of Tuolumne Meadows

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By Michael Lanza

I am floating in the stratosphere.

The feeling reminds me of childhood dreams of flying, but this is no dream. We are hiking across the slender, granite spine of 9,926-foot Clouds Rest, between sphincter-puckering abysses of deep air in the heart of Yosemite National Park. Below my left elbow, the rock drops off like a very long and insanely steep slide for several hundred feet before reaching forest; and that’s the side that feels less exposed. Below my right elbow, a cliff face sweeps downward a dizzying, stomach-churning 4,000 feet—that’s a thousand feet taller than the face of El Capitan. Continue reading →

July 26, 2015 Dawn above Lyell Fork Canyon of Merced River, Yosemite National Park.

One Photo, One Story: Going Deep Into Yosemite

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By Michael Lanza

One the final morning of a three-day, 65-mile hike deep into the southeast corner of Yosemite National Park, three friends and I started hiking shortly after first light, to take advantage of cool morning temperatures and enjoy some morning light on the mountains. Climbing through switchbacks hundreds of feet up a steep granite wall of the canyon carved by the Lyell Fork of the Merced River, we reached this high overlook just as the rising sun set fire to distant, jagged peaks around Red Peak Pass, which we had crossed the day before. Continue reading →

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