TheBigOutside Blog

Michael Lanza, creator of and Northwest Editor of Backpacker Magazine, writes about hiking, backpacking, climbing, backcountry skiing, paddling and other self-powered outdoor adventures

From New Zealand to 10 national parks, 2010 was a good year

We scrabbled up the last hundred feet to the volcano’s rim, the mountainside of loose stones sliding out beneath each footstep. Steam hissed from dark cracks between rocks, holes reaching unfathomably deep into the planet’s crust. Then Kiwi trekking guide Stewart Barclay and I reached the rim of serially active Mt. Ngauruhoe in New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park—which erupted 45 times in the 20th century—and gazed down into a crater filled with the debris from violent upheavals: crumbling walls in a kaleidoscope of colors, heaps of rubble piled up below.

A hiker in Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

That was 10 months ago, the second of 15 trips I took in a busy year of adventuring outdoors for work that took me away from home for a total of just over three months. Looking back over 2010 now, I remember less how hectic it was than specific scenic and emotional highlights—the kind of moments that slowly harden into durable memories. Those are the end product of travel and the motivator that keeps us aching for the next one.

Read the full story and see other stories and photos of outdoor adventures at


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