Olympic National Park

Sunset at Idaho's City of Rocks National Reserve.

Why I Never Miss a Wilderness Sunset or Sunrise

By Michael Lanza

The June evening was more than a few hours old when, without warning, the sky suddenly caught fire. The kids, teenagers and ’tweeners, and some of the adults in our group scrambled up onto a nearby rock formation at least 50 feet tall to observe the sunset from high off the ground. Like a wildfire swept forward by wind, hues of yellow, orange, and red leapt across bands of clouds suspended above the western horizon, their ragged bottoms edges, appropriately, resembling dancing flames.

For a span of just minutes that felt timeless, the light painted and repainted the clouds in ever-shifting, warm colors starkly contrasted against the cool, deepening blue of the sky—as if a vast lake had ignited. We stood hypnotized and enchanted on that evening during a long weekend of camping at Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve, until the last, dying flames of the celestial conflagration faded and were extinguished. For that brief time, the sunset had us all, adults and kids, completely in its thrall.

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A black bear along the Sol Duc River Trail in Olympic National Park.

Ask Me: Should I Hike or Backpack Solo in Bear Country?

Michael, Here’s a question I’ve struggled with. Because of the timing of my trips, I often end up hiking and backpacking solo. I enjoy that (and enjoy groups). However, as a result, I’ve had a number of bear and moose encounters that have left me a little uncomfortable, and with a feeling of powerlessness in those situations. I’ve read about …

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Young kids in twisted tree root at Idaho's Craters of the Moon National Monument.

10 Tips For Raising Outdoors-Loving Kids

By Michael Lanza As we neared Gunsight Pass in Glacier National Park, on a three-day family backpacking trip, a man and woman in their fifties stopped to talk with us. They sized up our kids and smiled; Nate was nine and Alex was seven. “We’re impressed!” they told us. “We never had any luck trying to get our kids to …

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The Wildest Shore: Backpacking the Southern Olympic Coast

By Michael Lanza

On a remote, sandy beach on Washington’s Olympic coast, we stop in our tracks and gaze up. A wall of muddy earth rises some 300 feet into jungle-like rainforest. A thick strand of hemp rope dangles down this steep, eroding embankment. A ladder of wooden steps built into the muddy ground rises in tandem with the rope.

We’re going up it.

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Zinke’s Plan to Jack Up National Park Entrance Fees is a Shell Game

The Going-to-the-Sun Road near Logan Pass, Glacier National Park.
The Going-to-the-Sun Road near Logan Pass, Glacier National Park.

By Michael Lanza

Beginning next year, the cost to enter 17 flagship national parks—including Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Glacier, Arches, Olympic, Acadia, and Denali—could more than double under a proposal from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The goal is to tackle an enormous maintenance backlog in parks that has built up for years.

But as structured, this plan won’t accomplish that goal, and burdens people who can least afford it. When it comes to confronting a problem that has become the shame of the Interior Department, this plan represents nothing more than throwing a rug over a crisis and calling it good.

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