Tag Archives: Sawtooth National Recreation Area

February 2, 2017 Skiing below Mount Heyburn, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.

Photo Gallery: Backcountry Skiing Idaho’s Sawtooths

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By Michael Lanza

At a pass just below 9,400 feet on the north side of 10,229-foot Mt. Heyburn, in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, the wind that had been steadily turning the dial upward reached full volume. Another snow squall burst upon us, spraying white bullets sideways and dropping a veil over the rocky, snow-spattered, serrated ridge just overhead. Six of us had labored 2,000 feet uphill on skis in search of a doorway into a secluded mountain paradise of sorts, a high basin known in some circles as the Monolith Valley, though not marked as such on any map. A slender gash between Heyburn and another 10,000-footer, Braxon Peak, the Monolith exists in the topographical shadows, easily overlooked. Most of our group have only seen tantalizing photos that revealed legions of rock spires towering above untracked snow.

As sometimes happens, we had found something in between what we had hoped for and what we expected. Continue reading →

December 15, 2016 Quiet Lake, White Cloud Mountains, Idaho.

Photo Gallery: A Father-Son Backpacking Trip in Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains

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By Michael Lanza

As we approached the rocky, 10,877-foot summit of Patterson Peak, we saw them from a distance, a couple of white specks moving slowly, but standing out against the gray rock and cliffs on that overcast day in early October. It was a pair of mountain goats, scrabbling over the loose, shifting talus. We tried to get a closer look, but even as they appeared to move effortlessly, they quickly expanded the gulf between us. Within minutes, they had disappeared into the cliffs and swirling clouds. But we had gotten another taste of the wild nature of Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains. Continue reading →

November 13, 2016 The Narrows, Zion National Park.

My 10 Most-Read Stories at The Big Outside

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By Michael Lanza

Which story of mine first led you to this blog? Which stories here interest you the most? (I’d really appreciate reading your answers to those questions in the comments section below this story.) I can tell you what your fellow readers of The Big Outside come to my blog looking for. I’ve compiled here a list of the 10 most-read stories over the past several months at The Big Outside. It includes feature-length stories about the adventures my readers most want to do, and some of my articles of tips on outdoor skills to help you make every trip a success. Continue reading →

November 7, 2016 The Subway, Zion National Park.

5 Great Adventures to Take in 2017

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By Michael Lanza

Where will you take a big outdoor adventure in 2017? This is the time of year when I like to start planning for next year, because if you lead a busy life, big trips don’t happen unless you get them on the calendar early. For two of the national park trips I describe below, Zion and Everglades, the prime season is around the corner; and for other destinations in this story—Sequoia and Olympic national parks and Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains—you be wise to plan dates and the route and travel logistics in advance.
Continue reading →

October 11, 2016 Above Baron Lake in Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains.

3-Minute Read: Backpacking With Teens in Idaho’s Sawtooths

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By Michael Lanza

Take three 15-year-old boys backpacking in the mountains and you never quite know what will happen. When my son, Nate, told me that he wanted to take two buddies out on their first backpacking trip, I agreed to it without hesitation. Over the course of three late-August days in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains—where we camped at two of the range’s numerous, beautiful mountain lakes—we saw one puncture wound (minor, from walking around barefoot), one case of diarrhea (I recommend against a diet consisting primarily of Slim Jims), and one pair of boots inadvertently dunked in a creek they were being carried across (I still don’t quite understand how that happened).

We also possibly created two new backpackers, and almost certainly forged some memories that three young men will carry perhaps for the rest of their lives, laughing hard whenever they recall this trip together. Continue reading →

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