Yosemite National Park

Ask Me: Tips On Backpacking Glacier National Park and the John Muir Trail

[Note: I recently received these similar questions from two different readers]

Michael,

I wrote you last year about the Teton Crest Trail and my buddies and I completed it back in July. It was amazing. We are starting to plan our next backcountry trip and were thinking about Glacier National Park. What do you recommend for a 5- to 6-day, 35- to 50-mile trip in GNP? What about on the John Muir Trail? We are considering both. Thanks for the info, always helpful.

Justin

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Trekking the Alta Via 2 in Parco Naturale Paneveggio Pale di San Martino, Dolomite Mountains, Italy.

10 Favorite Photos From 2014 Adventures

By Michael Lanza

Was 2014 a good year for you? After poring through thousands of photos I shot on more than a dozen trips this year, including return visits to iconic national parks like Yosemite and Zion, and a couple of adventures that have been on my to-do list for years—backpacking the Timberline Trail around Mount Hood and trekking in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains—I picked my 10 favorite images of the year. I’ll write about these trips in upcoming stories at The Big Outside. For now, let these pictures give you a little inspiration to make 2015 a great year outdoors.

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The "diving board," summit of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park.

Ask Me: Is Early June Too Early For Hiking Mount Whitney and in Yosemite?

Michael,

My wife and I, mid-30s, are planning a getaway week (from our kids 3 and 5) for the first week of June. We’ve booked cheap round-trip flights from Cleveland (900’ above sea level) to Las Vegas. I scored permits to overnight on Mount Whitney June 8-9. Our itinerary includes Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite, hike to Cathedral Lakes (or beyond), backpack over Clouds Rest, camp near junction with John Muir Trail. Half Dome early a.m., descend Mist Trail to Yosemite Valley. Free Day in Yosemite (North Rim dayhike?). Summit Whitney.

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The "Diving board," Half Dome, Yosemite National Park.

10 Favorite Images From 2013 Adventures

By Michael Lanza

After plowing through several thousand photos taken over the course of about 15 trips last year, I selected the following 10 that represent, for me, either the essence of each adventure or a moment when light, landscape, and composition came together just right. At this coldest and darkest time of year, kick back for a few minutes and daydream over these possibilities. You’ll find links in a few of the descriptions below to existing stories about these places at The Big Outside, and I’ll eventually post stories with many more photos from all of them.

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Sunset above Buck Creek Pass, Glacier Peak Wilderness, Washington.

Photo Essay: A Year of Outdoor Adventures

By Michael Lanza

A few weeks ago, as I hiked with my daughter up the steep Grandview Trail in the Grand Canyon, knocking off the last few miles of a three-day backpacking trip that had been wonderful on many levels, I was feeling awfully satisfied. For starters, through most of this fall, I’d had a bad itch to get out somewhere—and the Big Ditch, it turns out, is a pretty good place to scratch that itch. Plus, we’d just enjoyed three absolutely gorgeous, summer-like days of father-daughter time, and the company of two other families who joined us.

But seen from a longer view, returning to the Grand Canyon again felt like the perfect way to cap off another good year outdoors. In 2013, I got to seven national parks; five federal wilderness areas; an Idaho mountain range (the White Cloud Mountains) that might… no, should… become either federal wilderness or a national monument in the near future; and had the unforgettable pleasure of standing with my 12- and 10-year-old kids, my 15-year-old nephew, and my 76-year-old mom on the crater rim of Mount St. Helens.

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