Canyoneering in Zion National Park enticed the author and Dan Johanson (pictured) to try a new pursuit.

Interviewing Royal Robbins ranks among the best experiences in my modest writing career. Robbins pioneered Yosemite rock climbing, achieving historic first ascents on both Half Dome and El Capitan. But when we met in 2009, he spoke mostly about his favorite kayaking first descent on the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River.

Arthritis led Robbins to shift from climbing to kayaking in his 40s. He liked whitewater nearly as much as granite, but later got to enjoy both because his arthritis eventually improved. Robbins was able to keep climbing and kayaking into his 70s. Positive thinking had everything to do with that, he believed.

high sierra

California’s highest peaks stand in the Sierra Nevada Range, attracting climbers both young and young-at-heart.

on mount muir

The author enjoyed introducing mountaineering to two younger companions on Mount Muir.


The Pacific Crest Trail offers thousands of adventurous miles to hikers of all ages.


Those willing to try cross country skiing discover the wonders of winter.


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