Tag Archives: Wyoming

February 14, 2017 The view from Baldy Knoll, Teton Range.

Photo Gallery: Backcountry Skiing the Tetons

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By Michael Lanza

After upwards of 20 trips in Grand Teton National Park—backpacking, dayhiking, climbing, canoeing, backcountry skiing—I’ve yet to lose the sense of awe I get every time I look at these sharply angled peaks, which resemble the archetypal pictures of mountains shaped like upside-down V’s that we drew as children. But there’s definitely something unique and special about getting out here in winter, when the high country wears a thick mantle of white. And there’s something very special about traveling through these mountains on skis. Continue reading →

January 30, 2017 Backpacking the Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail, Glacier National Park.

My Top 10 Favorite Backpacking Trips

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By Michael Lanza

What makes a great backpacking trip? I’ve thought about that more than a mentally stable person probably should, having done many of America’s (and the world’s) most beautiful and beloved multi-day hikes over the years. Certainly top-shelf scenery is a mandatory qualification. An element of adventurousness enhances a hike, in my eyes. As I assembled this top 10 list, longer trips seemed to dominate it—there’s something special about a big walk in the wilderness—but two- and three-day hikes also made my list. Another factor that truly matters is a wilderness experience: All of my top 10 are in national parks or federal wilderness areas.

Some things, though, don’t require explanation; the validation comes in just doing it. So I give you here my admittedly personal and subjective list of the 10 best backpacking trips I’ve taken over more than a quarter-century (and counting) of humping a pack on trails all over the country, as a longtime field editor for Backpacker magazine and writing for this blog. Continue reading →

January 23, 2017 Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park.

The National Park Everyone Must See: Yellowstone

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By Michael Lanza

When I think about Yellowstone National Park, I recall seeing a wolf pack suddenly appear on a skyline ridge high above me and begin howling at the vast, impervious sky; and another wolf pack, on a bitterly cold winter day, descend at full speed upon an elk herd, spurring the entire herd to dash off, moving in unison as if it were one organism. Thinking about Yellowstone conjures mental images of Lower Yellowstone Falls pouring thunderously into the colorful magnificence of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, both in summer and half frozen in the depths of winter.

I remember smiling at the reactions of my kids to geysers erupting in the Upper Geyser Basin, or whistling fumaroles in the Lower Geyser Basin, or the kaleidoscopic surface of Grand Prismatic Spring. Watching a bear sow with cubs in tow shuffle across a meadow at dusk, and hundreds of bison quietly grazing a grassy valley. Hearing the nasal shriek of an elk bugling as I stood on a boardwalk amid the steam of Mammoth Hot Springs at dawn on a chilly autumn morning (lead photo, above). Continue reading →

January 2, 2017

New Year Inspiration: My Top 10 Adventure Trips

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   9 Comments

By Michael Lanza

I often get asked, “What’s your favorite trip?” And I can’t answer that one. To pick just one from all the amazing adventures I’ve had the good fortune to take feels like an impossible task. So instead, I’ve assembled the following list of my 10 all-time favorites (so far). It includes, among other five-star trips, backpacking the Teton Crest Trail and John Muir Trail; hiking across the Grand Canyon; and trekking in Iceland, Patagonia, and Italy’s Dolomite Mountains (lead photo, above). Continue reading →

December 29, 2016 Death Canyon Shelf, Teton Crest Trail.

Photo Gallery: Backpacking Grand Teton National Park

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By Michael Lanza

After at least 17 trips into the backcountry of Grand Teton National Park, I still can’t get enough of these sharply serrated peaks and deep, cliff-flanked canyons, the alpine lakes and icy creeks, campsites with jaw-dropping views, or the explosion of wildflowers in summer. I count the Teton Crest Trail among my top 10 favorite backpacking trips, and two camping areas on it among my list of top 25 favorite backcountry campsites of all time (although, honestly, other spots where I’ve pitched a tent in this park would make almost anyone’s list). But I’ll let the photos below speak for themselves.

And here’s a heads up: If you want to backpack the Teton Crest Trail in 2017, the time to apply for a backcountry permit is coming up in days. Read on for details. Continue reading →

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