Adventures

Rattlesnake to Westwater Canyon Packraft

Rattlesnake to Westwater Canyon Packraft

A three-day hiking and packrafting trip on the Colorado River.
The Top 10 Best Hikes in the World

The Top 10 Best Hikes in the World

Hank and Brian Leukart look back on their past decade of trekking.
Tour du Mont Blanc Backpack

Tour du Mont Blanc Backpack

Hiking the 12-day, 170-km Tour du Mont Blanc with five friends from around the world.
The Neverending New Zealand Story Packraft

The Neverending New Zealand Story Packraft

Heading out on an epic hiking and paddling adventure across New Zealand’s South Island.
Superstition Mountains Traverse Backpack

Superstition Mountains Traverse Backpack

Brothers packraft Arizona’s Salt River and backpack the Superstition Mountains.
Bears Ears: Honaker Trail to Slickhorn Canyon Packraft

Bears Ears: Honaker Trail to Slickhorn Canyon Packraft

A hiking and packrafting trip to explore Utah’s newest national monument reveals an ongoing political fight.
Nepal’s Three Passes Backpack

Nepal’s Three Passes Backpack

Hiking Nepal’s tough, high-altitude, Everest-region trek.

films

The John Muir: Two brothers. One controversial conservationist.

The John Muir: Two brothers. One controversial conservationist.

Brothers Hank and Brian Leukart hike the John Muir Trail over 18 days, while investigating the history of John Muir, Ansel Adams, and the native peoples of the California Sierra.
Pear Lake Snowshoe Backpack

Pear Lake Snowshoe Backpack

A two-day hike through Sequoia National Park past Heather Lake and Emerald Lake to Pear Lake.
Volcanoes National Park Grand Loop Backpack

Volcanoes National Park Grand Loop Backpack

A loop hike in Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii’s Big Island.
Visiting 28 friends in 30 places in 5 minutes

Visiting 28 friends in 30 places in 5 minutes

Watch me travel all around the world over ten years.
Trans-Catalina Trail Backpack

Trans-Catalina Trail Backpack

Backpacking the Trans-Catalina Trail across California’s Catalina Island with a new backpacker.
Wonderland of Rocks: Boy Scout Trail to Queen Mountain Loop Backpack

Wonderland of Rocks: Boy Scout Trail to Queen Mountain Loop Backpack

Hiking over massive granite monoliths in Joshua Tree National Park’s most notorious backcountry.
Tomales Bay Sea Kayak

Tomales Bay Sea Kayak

Attempting Tomales Bay kayaking and Kings Canyon backpacking trips while recovering from a broken leg.
High Sierra Lakes: Fernandez Trail to Rainbow Lake Packraft

High Sierra Lakes: Fernandez Trail to Rainbow Lake Packraft

How a bit of imagination transformed a high-altitude backpacking trip in Ansel Adams Wilderness.
Camino de Santiago Backpack

Camino de Santiago Backpack

Hiking the 540-mile Camino de Santiago across Spain with an inspiring group of friends.

Appalachian Trail: Garrison to Arden Backpack

My brother and I hike 30 miles on the Appalachian Trail before he heads off to his wedding.
Hong Kong Food Tour

Hong Kong Food Tour

Eating the best food in Hong Kong, while exploring the city’s generational political divide.
Umbrella Dreams: Fighting for Hong Kong Democracy

Umbrella Dreams: Fighting for Hong Kong Democracy

Filming a documentary short about students fighting for democracy at the Occupy camps in Hong Kong.
Pescadero Creek Loop Backpack

Pescadero Creek Loop Backpack

Best friends take a 3-day, 35-mile backpacking trip near San Francisco.
Iceland: South to North Traverse Backpack

Iceland: South to North Traverse Backpack

Two brothers search for eternal life in the Icelandic wilderness during what may be the last time in history anyone is able to see all of Iceland’s natural, untouched beauty.
Everest Base Camp Trek Backpack

Everest Base Camp Trek Backpack

Two brothers tackle the trek to Nepal’s Everest Base Camp and film the entire adventure.

best essays

The Romantic Road in Germany Road Trip

The Romantic Road in Germany Road Trip

Exploring medieval towns and lavish castles on Germany’s Romantic Road.
Israel Road Trip

Israel Road Trip

Why you should fire your tour guide and lead yourself through Israel and the West Bank.
Lijiang, China

Lijiang, China

A romantic comedy in Lìjiāng and Dàlǐ, China.
Huangshan East-to-West Loop Backpack

Huangshan East-to-West Loop Backpack

How I left my virtue at Huangshan, China’s Yellow Mountain.
Shanghai

Shanghai

Sucked into an elaborate tea ceremony con in Shanghai, China.
Angkor Cycle

Angkor Cycle

Cycling through Cambodia’s Angkor, the world’s biggest religious complex.
Vietnam Cycle

Vietnam Cycle

Encountering magical turtles and afterlife-destined motorcycles on a bicycle trip in Vietnam and Cambodia.
Post-Revolution Egypt Backpack

Post-Revolution Egypt Backpack

Backpacking through a revolution in the Land of the Pharaohs.
Amritapuri Ashram

Amritapuri Ashram

Seeking a life-changing hug and the secret to life from India’s most famous female spiritual leader.
Turnagain Arm Cycle

Turnagain Arm Cycle

Bicycling Anchorage’s Coastal Trail, Lost Lake, and the Turnagain Arm.
Half Dome Day Hike

Half Dome Day Hike

After climbing Half Dome, I can’t bear to leave Yosemite.
Indian Ruins Road Trip

Indian Ruins Road Trip

Trying to one-up my middle school teachers by taking an Indian ruins road trip through America’s Southwest.
Twilight Road Trip

Twilight Road Trip

Exploring Forks, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula, the setting of a teen vampire novel.
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim Snowshoeing Backpack

Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim Snowshoeing Backpack

Brothers tackle a classic trek with magical, holiday cheer.
Los Angeles Derby Dolls

Los Angeles Derby Dolls

Understanding the post-feminist ethos of roller derby.
Buckskin Gulch to Middle Trail Backpack

Buckskin Gulch to Middle Trail Backpack

Hiking the world’s longest slot canyon with a boy made of paper.
Torres del Paine O Circuit Backpack

Torres del Paine O Circuit Backpack

Hiking the Torres del Paine Circuit on another family’s vacation.
Honduras and Utila Dive

Honduras and Utila Dive

A Central American love story.
West Coast Trail Backpack

West Coast Trail Backpack

Brothers tackle dangerous surge channels on the West Coast Trail.
Bicycling to nowhere

Bicycling to nowhere

The peculiarity of studio cycling and Los Angeles gym culture.
Disneyland

Disneyland

Disneyland is more romantic than you think.
Botswana Safari

Botswana Safari

Witnessing a zebra birth in Botswana, Africa.
McGonagall Pass to Muldrow Glacier Backpack

McGonagall Pass to Muldrow Glacier Backpack

A harrowing attempt at crossing the McKinley River in Denali National Park, Alaska.

more essays

Europe Couchsurfers Train Trip

Europe Couchsurfers Train Trip

My quest for an airline’s highest elite status ends with me visiting my best friends, all over the world.
Santa Cruz Island: Scorpion Anchorage to Prisoner’s Harbor Sea Kayak

Santa Cruz Island: Scorpion Anchorage to Prisoner’s Harbor Sea Kayak

A kayak-camping trip with ten friends on Santa Cruz Island in California’s Channel Islands.
Can travel change you?

Can travel change you?

Speaking to high school students about the value of authentic travel before a 540-mile hike across Spain.
Yucatán Peninsula Road Trip

Yucatán Peninsula Road Trip

How I saw ancient Mayan cities, Egyptian temples, and other world wonders without pesky tourist crowds.
El Fuerte de Samaipata Ruins

El Fuerte de Samaipata Ruins

A visit to the pre-Incan ruins of El Fuerte de Samaipata, Bolivia.
Mt. Washington Winter Summit Day Hike

Mt. Washington Winter Summit Day Hike

Summiting New Hampshire’s Mount Washington in winter.
One Day in London

One Day in London

A one-day, whirlwind tour of London with two quirky British friends.
Czech Republic Beer Breweries Road Trip

Czech Republic Beer Breweries Road Trip

Taking a beer breweries road trip in the Czech Republic’s quirky South Bohemia.
New Year’s Eve in Prague

New Year’s Eve in Prague

Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Prague.
Portugal Road Trip

Portugal Road Trip

Road tripping Northern Portugal.
Living Like a Local in Moscow

Living Like a Local in Moscow

Finding friends in Moscow is easy when you make an effort to live like a local.
Mount Whitney Backpack

Mount Whitney Backpack

Hiking to the Mount Whitney summit, the highest point in the continental US.
Marble to Cottonwood Canyon Loop Backpack

Marble to Cottonwood Canyon Loop Backpack

A four-day backpacking trip through Death Valley’s Marble and Cottonwood Canyons.
Egyptian Nile Cruise

Egyptian Nile Cruise

A guided, return trip to Egypt highlights the country’s growing political problems.
California Riding and Hiking Trail Backpack

California Riding and Hiking Trail Backpack

How not to take my eight-year-old nephew, and other newbies, on a first-time backpacking trip.
Tiger Leaping Gorge Backpack

Tiger Leaping Gorge Backpack

Trekking China’s Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the world’s deepest canyons.
Splendid China Folk Village

Splendid China Folk Village

Have you ever missed a flight and ended up at Genghis Khan horseback battle reenactment?
Yangshuo Karsts Climbing

Yangshuo Karsts Climbing

Rock climbing and Taylor Swift in Yángshuò, Guangxi, China.
Huizhou Villages

Huizhou Villages

How my wish to become a flying martial artist came true in rural China.
Japanese New Year in Tokyo

Japanese New Year in Tokyo

A visit to Tokyo’s Meiji Jingu Shrine during the Japanese New Year.
Catalina Island: Avalon to Parsons Landing Sea Kayak

Catalina Island: Avalon to Parsons Landing Sea Kayak

A July 4 sea kayaking-camping trip on Catalina Island.
Ostrander Hut Ski

Ostrander Hut Ski

Skiing to remote Ostrander Ski Hut in Yosemite National Park.
Varkala Paragliding

Varkala Paragliding

A flying experience in Varkala, India rejuvenates two backpackers.
Kerala

Kerala

The Kerala Backwaters turn out to be a relaxing, alternate-universe India.
Tiger Safari

Tiger Safari

A tiger prevents me from killing an Indian taxi driver.
Taj Mahal Train Trip

Taj Mahal Train Trip

Chaos surrounds train ticket purchases in Delhi, India.
Dakshinkali Tour

Dakshinkali Tour

Witnessing mass animal sacrifices in Dakshinkali, Nepal.
Cottonwood Spring to Munsen Canyon Backpack

Cottonwood Spring to Munsen Canyon Backpack

Learning not to attack but to revere, while searching for Joshua Tree’s eight hidden palm oases.
Sanctuary River Packraft

Sanctuary River Packraft

Packrafting the Sanctuary River in Denali National Park.
Knowles Coastal Trail Cycle

Knowles Coastal Trail Cycle

Bush planes, ATVs, trains, and packrafts are often the only way to get around Alaska, the U.S. state with the fewest miles of road.
Harding Ice Field Day Hike

Harding Ice Field Day Hike

Exploring the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Chelan Lakeshore Trail Backpack

Chelan Lakeshore Trail Backpack

Hiking the Chelan Lakeshore Trail before a wedding.
San Francisco and Bay Area Coast Road Trip

San Francisco and Bay Area Coast Road Trip

San Francisco day trips to Muir Woods, Point Reyes National Seashore, Año Nuevo State Reserve, and Santa Cruz.
Searching for the perfect coffee shop

Searching for the perfect coffee shop

A lifelong quest for caffeinated nirvana.
North Kaibab Trail (halfway to Roaring Springs) Day Hike

North Kaibab Trail (halfway to Roaring Springs) Day Hike

Visiting the Grand Canyon North Rim’s Cookout Experience and Yosemite’s Wawona Hotel Lawn Barbecue.
Telescope Peak Backpack

Telescope Peak Backpack

Hiking at night to Death Valley’s highest point.
Bridge to Nowhere Day Hike

Bridge to Nowhere Day Hike

Bungee jumping in the San Gabriel Mountains.
Korean Bell of Friendship Kite Flying

Korean Bell of Friendship Kite Flying

Reenacting Mary Poppins at the Korean Bell of Friendship.
Seattle to Los Angeles Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip

Seattle to Los Angeles Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip

A travel guide to three Pacific Coast Highway road trips over seven years.
Area 51 Viewpoint: Tikaboo Peak Day Hike

Area 51 Viewpoint: Tikaboo Peak Day Hike

A travel guide to America’s most mysterious military base.
Walden Pond

Walden Pond

An unnerving drive through rustic New England to a five-year college reunion.
San Francisco

San Francisco

A slapstick AirTrain comedy, ice skating, and Alcatraz in San Francisco.
The Wave Day Hike

The Wave Day Hike

Visiting The Wave, a sandstone formation near the Utah-Arizona border.
Vegas Road Trip

Vegas Road Trip

Why Las Vegas is a horrible place.
Rescue Diver Training Dive

Rescue Diver Training Dive

Becoming a certified Rescue Diver.
Alaska Northwest Passage Cruise

Alaska Northwest Passage Cruise

It’s harder than you think to leave Celebrity Cruises.
My Best Friend’s Wedding

My Best Friend’s Wedding

Losing a tuxedo and a friend in a single weekend isn’t easy.
Salton Sea

Salton Sea

The Salton Sea is an ocean in the middle of a desert, and it’s not the only sign of the world’s end there.
Cape Town

Cape Town

Learning about South African apartheid on Robben Island.
Aqua Peak Backpack

Aqua Peak Backpack

Hiking in Joshua Tree can be rejuvenating if you can remember to bring matches.
Pop Punk Concerts

Pop Punk Concerts

Pop punk rock stars inspire eternal youth at their intense rock concerts.
Hollywood’s Griddle Cafe

Hollywood’s Griddle Cafe

Aspects of Los Angeles may be vapid, but some things make it palatable.
Coachella 2007

Coachella 2007

Things go horribly wrong at an enormous music festival.
Leavenworth

Leavenworth

Exploring a faux-Bavarian village in Washington State.
Lake Serene Day Hike

Lake Serene Day Hike

The thought of sandwiches while hiking make happiness impossible.
Hells Canyon: Copper Creek Day Hike

Hells Canyon: Copper Creek Day Hike

Rural Washington is both beautiful and buggy.
Mount St. Helens: Boundary Trail Day Hike

Mount St. Helens: Boundary Trail Day Hike

Owning a car isn’t necessarily enough to get to Mt. St. Helens.
Bangkok Shopping

Bangkok Shopping

Hunting elephants in Thailand, even souvenir elephants, isn’t easy.
Mekong River Cruise

Mekong River Cruise

Using a machete to repair a speed boat in the Mekong River.
Golden Triangle Motorcycle

Golden Triangle Motorcycle

Getting lost on a motorcycle near the Burmese border.
Mae Sot Backpack

Mae Sot Backpack

Picking friends while backpacking is harder than it looks.
How to play Jotto

How to play Jotto

Learn how to play the best travel game ever invented.
Normandy

Normandy

Remembering the past in Normandy and Seattle.

maps and galleries only

Baja, California Road Trip

Baja, California Road Trip

A 1,020-mile road trip to Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada, and San Felipe.
Shi Shi Beach to Ozette Lake Backpack

Shi Shi Beach to Ozette Lake Backpack

A seemingly prehistoric coastal backpack, worlds away from civilization, with only the pounding surf and rugged coastline as a backdrop.
Costa Brava Road Trip

Costa Brava Road Trip

A Spanish roadtrip to coves of deep blue sea, beaches of golden sand, and medieval towns.
Wrangells Traverse: Goat Trail to Nizina Lake Backpack

Wrangells Traverse: Goat Trail to Nizina Lake Backpack

A seven-day backpacking and packrafting trip across the rugged Wrangell Mountains, home of two of the highest volcanoes in the US, Mount Blackburn and Sanford.
McCarthy Creek Packraft

McCarthy Creek Packraft

An intense creek packrafting day in Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.
Ubehebe Country Loop Backpack

Ubehebe Country Loop Backpack

A three-day backpack through Ubehebe country in Death Valley.
Cueva del Puente Day Hike

Cueva del Puente Day Hike

A three-level chamber with stalactites, stalagmites, Taino pictographs, and numerous bats.
Montaña Redonda Day Hike

Montaña Redonda Day Hike

A lush mountain hike with 360-degree panorama views, swings, flying brooms and hammocks.
Mount Baldy Day Hike

Mount Baldy Day Hike

An 11-mile hike to the highest point in Los Angeles with sweeping views from the Pacific Ocean to the Mojave Desert.
Flathead River North Fork Packraft

Flathead River North Fork Packraft

A five-day packraft trip on the North Fork of the Flathead River.
Eagle Peak Backpack

Eagle Peak Backpack

A hike to the top of Eagle Mountain in Joshua Tree National Park.
Waimanu Valley Backpack

Waimanu Valley Backpack

A strenuous, 9-mile switchback trail with stunning views of the Waipio Valley.
Hilina Pali Trail to Halape Beach Backpack

Hilina Pali Trail to Halape Beach Backpack

A Hawaii Volcanoes National Park southern seacoast hike to a beach with swaying coconut trees.
Kalalau Trail Backpack

Kalalau Trail Backpack

A 22-mile backpack from Ke’e to Kalalau Beach on Kauai’s Napali Coast.
Foothills Trail Backpack

Foothills Trail Backpack

A 7-day backpack through lush foothills in North and South Carolina.
Broughton Islands Expedition Sea Kayak

Broughton Islands Expedition Sea Kayak

An epic, 5-day kayak-camping expedition in remote Canada.
Escalante River: Fence to Coyote Canyon Packraft

Escalante River: Fence to Coyote Canyon Packraft

A five-day packrafting and hiking trip on Utah’s Escalante River.
Mineral King: Black Rock and Sawtooth Pass Backpack

Mineral King: Black Rock and Sawtooth Pass Backpack

A four-day hike through Sequoia National Park’s Mineral King area, over Black Rock and Sawtooth Passes.
Joshua Tree Oases Backpack

Joshua Tree Oases Backpack

A 2-day hike to all of Joshua Tree’s backcountry oases, including Fortynine Palms Oasis, Lost Palms Oasis, Munsen Oasis, Summit Springs Oasis, and the Last Oasis.
Sandstone Peak Day Hike

Sandstone Peak Day Hike

The most beautiful day hike in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Maclehose Trail Backpack

Maclehose Trail Backpack

A 5-day hike through Hong Kong’s country parks.
Ry to Kongesbro River Kayak

Ry to Kongesbro River Kayak

A two-day kayaking trip starting in Ry and ending in Kongesbro.
Panorama Trail Day Hike

Panorama Trail Day Hike

Panorama Trail Hike Details Day Hike: Alpine, Forest Yosemite National Park, Northern California 8.7 miles 986 ft gain — 4,031 ft loss 4,179 ft min — 7,280 ft max
Mt. Williamson Plane Crash Day Hike

Mt. Williamson Plane Crash Day Hike

A hike to the wreckage of two plane crashes, a Fairchild C119 Flying Boxcar and a Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando, near Mount Williamson in the Los Angeles National Forest, starting from Islip Saddle.
Dades River Day Hike

Dades River Day Hike

A trek through sandstorms and a deep river gorge.
Mgoun River Valley Day Hike

Mgoun River Valley Day Hike

A stunning hike through the Mgoun River Canyon.
Todra Gorge Day Hike

Todra Gorge Day Hike

Beautiful views of the Todra Valley.
Merzouga Sand Dunes Day Hike

Merzouga Sand Dunes Day Hike

A trek across the Sahara Desert.
Thousand Island Lake Backpack

Thousand Island Lake Backpack

A top-tier backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Reef Bay Trail Day Hike

Reef Bay Trail Day Hike

Danish sugar plantation ruins, stone walls from cattle grazing, and ancient rock carvings left behind by the pre-Colombian Taino.
Arthur’s Seat Day Hike

Arthur’s Seat Day Hike

360-degree views of both Edinburgh and the Lothians in Holyrood Park.