Tag Archives: Payette River

February 6, 2017 At Kaweah Gap, Sequoia National Park, California.

Why I Endanger My Kids in the Wilderness (Even Though It Scares the Sh!t Out of Me)

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By Michael Lanza

A glacial wind pours through a snowy pass in the remote mountains of Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park. Virtually devoid of vegetation, the terrain offers no refuge from the relentless current of frigid air. Some of the troops are hungry, a little tired, and grumpy; mutinous doesn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility, so I don’t want to add “cold” to their growing list of grievances. I coax everyone to push on just a little farther, down out of the wind to a sun-splashed, snow-free area of dirt and rocks for lunch.

But I don’t like the looks of the steep slope we have to descend. Blanketed in snow made firm by freezing overnight temperatures, and littered with protruding boulders, it runs hundreds of feet down to a lake choked with icebergs—in mid-July. A trench stomped into the snow by other trekkers diagonals down to our lunch spot. It’s well traveled, but someone slipping in that track could rocket downhill at the speed of a car on a highway. I turn to our little party—which ranges in age from my nine-year-old daughter to my 75-year-old mother—and emphasize that we have to proceed extremely carefully. Continue reading →

December 10, 2015 Hell Roaring Lake, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.

Ask Me: Dayhikes and Backpacking Trips in Idaho’s Sawtooth and White Cloud Mountains

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Hi Michael,

I appreciate your generosity in offering to help with planning for our upcoming Idaho trip. We’re looking to do a few things. Primarily, we’ll be dayhiking, but we’re also planning on at least one overnight backpacking trip. If there’s a three-day, two-night trip we shouldn’t miss, we’d be open to that, too. Our six-year-old son is traveling with us and he’s an experienced hiker and backpacker. He can do 8 to 9 miles/day with around 2,000 feet of elevation gain. We usually build in a rest day in between the hard days to let him recover. We’re bringing our ducky so we can paddle a lake or two and we might bring our mountain bikes. Continue reading →

July 12, 2015 Alice Lake, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.

Ask Me: Backpacking Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains

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[Note: I received the following three similar inquiries from readers.]

Hi Michael,

Thank you for your thoughtful, inspiring and informative work! I hike and camp monthly with four girlfriends and once a year we go on a longer backpacking trip and are currently planning our next trip. We are headed to Idaho! I’ve been trying to put together a loop in the Sawtooth Wilderness. I’ve read enough of your posts to know you’re the expert on the Sawtooths. Can you recommend a loop that is about 40 to 50 miles? The one I read about starts at the Grandjean Trailhead clockwise around Sawtooth Lake, south around Cramer lakes, down and around Spangle Lake, then north towards Elk Lake, back to Grandjean. Maybe there’s a shortcut on this loop? Continue reading →

July 6, 2015 Alex at Kaweah Gap, Sequoia National Park.

Photo Gallery: Raising Outdoors-Loving Kids

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By Michael Lanza

As my 14-year-old son, Nate, and I paddled our kayaks toward one of the class III rapids on the Payette River in southwest Idaho, I suggested he run it ahead of me: My son’s knowledge of the Payette’s rapids, and skill at paddling them, both outstrip mine. He grinned at me and responded, “Don’t worry. I wouldn’t let you go in first.”

Great sense of humor, that kid of mine. Continue reading →

October 19, 2014 Whitewater rafting Idaho's Payette River.

How I Get Outdoors… A Lot

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As we paddle toward yet another class III whitewater rapid on Idaho’s Payette River, my 13-year-old son, Nate, in the kayak ahead of me, looks over his shoulder and calls out, “Dad, just follow my line.” Then he deftly steers his boat into a foaming pileup of waves, disappears briefly in the trough between two big rollers, and then emerges a moment later, upright and plowing forward through a wave train into the calmer waters beyond the rapid. Continue reading →