Category archives for National Parks

7 Ideas to Upgrade Your Car Camping Gear

Car camping can be a nightmare junk show of cold feet, bad food and a sore back, or it can be a comfy efficient, experience. The difference is in the gear you pack along with you. These four essentials and three  extra items should improve your time in camp. See our ten favorite camping spots in…

Making a National Parks Adventure: Behind the Scenes of the New IMAX Film

The wind was gusting at 40 miles an hour, carrying a fury of snow and ice crystals that felt like they were cutting into my face even through my wool mask. Temperatures with wind chill dipped below minus 30ºF, and my fingers had started to lose feeling even in puff mittens intended for climbers scaling…

33-Year-Old Grand Canyon Speed Record Broken Twice in Three Days

In a motel room outside of Lee’s Ferry, Arizona, Ben Orkin’s alarm went off at 12:30 a.m. At 2 a.m. he was planning to launch his second attempt in as many years to become the first person to beat a 33-year-old record for fastest non-motorized descent of the Grand Canyon. His first attempt, in January…

Exploring Indonesia by Pirate Ship

The infinite darkness and blue of a clear ocean is startling; as when we stare into the night sky, it reminds us in a very guttural sense of how small we are. The water I floated in with buoyant ease was the clearest I had ever experienced, a seemingly infinite prism for the long rays…

Remembering the Grand Canyon’s Legendary Protector

It is just past six a.m. and the dawn rays are kissing a frothy spray dancing above the rapid ahead. The wind and hundred-plus desert temperatures are still sleeping. That reprieve of gusty, furnace-like heat tempers my nerves little. My mouth is desert dry thanks to adrenaline coursing through my body. I try to focus…

Our Historic Chance to Protect the Grand Canyon

I’ll never forget the first time I laid eyes on the Grand Canyon. It was late fall of 1974 and I was driving back east to New York after two months of rock climbing and living in Yosemite Valley, California. I had been behind the wheel of my old VW Bug for most of the…

6 Painful Lessons I Learned By Hiking the Grand Canyon

I guess you can call it a Grand beat down. I knew it would be hard, but not spirit-crushing hard. Our plan to walk the Grand Canyon as a sectional thru-hike would be a lengthy, logistical monster of sorts. Our food would be weighed by the ounce. Almonds and prunes would be rationed and counted…

A Backcountry Recovery in Yellowstone: “These Horses Saved My Life” (Part 5 of 5)

“Life is very, very short. It’s up to you to fill the book of life with beautiful and interesting chapters.” – Veteran Ray Knell The short days on an adventure are often the most memorable. The days when you relax, soak in the experience, and aren’t constantly pushing yourself. The days that you really get…

A Grand Canyon Adventure: Disaster at Hance

The moment I caught my first a glance of Hance, I regretted my decision to scout it. What I saw from that rocky promontory under the merciless June sun was less a rapid than a gnashing, boat-eating monster. Boulders lined the mouth of the rapid and littered its left side. Everywhere below was churning, chaotic…

A Backcountry Recovery in Yellowstone: Camping in the Lower 48’s Most Remote Place (Part 3 of 5)

I woke up to the not-so distant howl of a wolf in the deepest backcountry location in the Lower 48. The half light of coming dawn allowed me to barely see our five horses and two mules standing at attention seeking the source of the deep howl. Another wolf joined the chorus, this one further…