Why go high? Because going down is so much fun. Author: Maren Horjus Publish date: Feb 16, 2019 “YOU'RE CLEAR!” my partner shouts. Or was it, “You’re not clear!”? Between the whipping wind and my pounding heart, my ears are picking up every third word. My skis hang over the edge of the cornice overlooking the central Tyndall Gorge in Rocky Mountain National Park. Below the drop-off, the narrow, near-vertical Dragon’s Tail couloir twists between granite spires like a bobsled track. Despite fantasizing about this exact moment for the few hours it took to climb here, my brain offers a final, firm protest against madness and gravity. Then, my partner gives the thumbs up, our signal that he’s in position to watch me (a safety precaution). My stomach drops. I take a deep breath and will myself forward a few long inches. Time to fly. Objects in free fall accelerate at 9.8 meters per second. Squared. Thankfully, I land after a mere 4 … [Read more...] about Want to Explore the Wilderness in Winter? Ski It.
When her son experienced a health scare in the mountains, Lisa Jhung had to examine the unknowns of backcountry travel. Author: Lisa Jhung Publish date: Jan 24, 2019 I had planned on writing a sunny, celebratory post this week. On January 18, I headed up to the mountains for a long-planned winter hut trip with family and friends, and I knew we’d have an awesome time snowshoeing, skiing, sledding, board-gaming, and eating. When 16 of us (eight kids and eight adults) ascended a mile up a snowy trail to one of Colorado’s 10th Mountain Division Huts last Friday, at 11,350 feet, I was looking forward to writing about all the fun. And we did have fun. We played games, strummed the hut guitar, and built jumps in the snow. We made turns in untracked powder, shared group meals, and all worked together to complete a 1,000-piece puzzle (remarkably gratifying). The kids had a dance party. Any trip like this requires an exorbitant amount of planning, … [Read more...] about When Family Adventures Turn Scary
From big fish caught to big mountains summited, kids can do the darndest things. Author: Lisa Jhung Publish date: Dec 27, 2018 It's that time again, when roundups of epic feats, chart-topping songs, and best-of lists (like our 6 Favorite Hikes of 2018) fill your inbox as another year draws to a close. For adventure-loving families, we pulled together a different sort of roundup: Cool record-setting things kids did in the outdoors in 2018. Seven-year-old Montannah Kenney from Texas became the youngest female to summit Kenya's 19,341-foot Mount Kilimanjaro in March. That same month, 7-year-old Semanyu Pothuraju from India became the youngest male to top Kilimanjaro. In June, 11-year-old Katie Borka from Virginia nabbed the Guinness World Record for finding the most four-leaf clovers in an hour (166). And 17-year-old Matthew Swanson caught the biggest northern pike on record in the state of Minnesota last May. We've always saluted kids in the great … [Read more...] about Record-breaking Kids of 2018 and Beyond
All I want for Christmas is to be outside with my family. Author: Lisa Jhung Publish date: Dec 24, 2018 Ah, the holidays, when quiet family time gets derailed by, well, the holidays (a sentiment captured by this Saturday Night Live clip). And while the idea of hiking in the great outdoors sounds like the perfect antithesis to holiday mayhem, parents know that, despite their best efforts, family hikes aren’t always full of peace on earth. So what’s a parent who’s longing for quality time in the outdoors with their family to do? Editor Dennis Lewon went big one year and hiked his brood down the Grand Canyon’s South Kaibab Trail to spend Christmas at the Bright Angel Campground. His was a nature-rich holiday escape story of success. Of course, backpacking won't fit into holiday plans for many. Last year, the day after Thanksgiving, my two boys and their two cousins (ages 6 to 15 at the time) and my husband and I spent a few hours at an … [Read more...] about Quality Time Is the Best Holiday Gift
A backcountry neophyte discovers the importance of buying the right bedding. Author: William M. Rochfort, Jr. Publish date: Dec 12, 2018 This is so much better than hypothermia. That’s what went through my mind before I nodded off to sleep on a 25°F March night on Mt. San Jacinto in California, 16 years ago. I lay, cozied up in my REI Co-op Sub Kilo, in my tent atop several feet of snow. Until that moment, I’d never realized that spending a freezing night in the wilderness could be so easy. Then, I was still a backcountry neophyte. For most of my life, I’d spent all my free time playing soccer. But after my second ACL surgery, my doctors told me my field time was over. I needed a new activity, and backpacking didn’t appear to involve much quick, lateral movement. Plus, I’d just read an issue of BACKPACKER that made me want to explore the landscapes of the West. My first trip, to Horseshoe Mesa in Arizona just three months before that … [Read more...] about The Secret to Sleeping Outside? Get the Right Bag.