Choose Your Own Kid Adventure!

Larsen Family - Eagle River Nature Center, AK

The game of life imposes obstacles designed for each individual to conquer. When my wife was six months pregnant with our first son, others told us the blissful days of travel would end. We were determined to not face the fate of stagnant family exploration. Eight years later with two boys, our travels are just getting started. To date our family has experienced 36 plane rides, 16 national parks, 4 countries, and over hundreds of wildlife sightings. Photography has always been the way to preserve our family's adventures. We have kept our memories confined within our home, but now we are ready to share with the world.

Only in the last four years did I begin to sell my work at markets around the greater Seattle area. It has been a joy and a unique opportunity to meet so many different people. They walk into my booth, smile at the photos, and reminisce of their travels. After I get to know their fascinating lives they get to know me. Below are some of the most common frequently asked questions.

Are you the photographer?

Mike at the Gros Ventre, Grand Teton National Park, WY
  • Yes to 99% of the photos on Leave a Trail Photography. I drive with the Nikon D7100 on my lap, hike with 10 lbs of gear strapped to my back, and wait for the perfect opportunity for nature to happen.

This is your job?

  • Yes it is, if you can call this work. I love what I do and do what I love.

Do you wait all day to get the shot?

  • Patience is the key to wildlife. I wake at 5am and I am out till dusk. A day in the outdoors with no wildlife is better than any day in an office.

Were you really that close?

Spruce Moose, Denali National Park, AK
  • Yes, as "safely" close as possible without disrupting the wildlife's natural habitat. Once in a while an animal will cross dangerously near my path and the camera becomes an afterthought. It would not be an adventure without a little adrenaline. My goal is to survive so I can share the encounters with others.

Are these only in the northwest?

Pristine, Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
  • I love the Pacific Northwest and shoot here often since it's my backyard. But my family loves to travel. No matter how poor we get, eating 10¢ Top Ramen for meals, we will always keep our National Park Pass current. We believe in the "Every Kid in a Park" initiative. Our boys have a goal to visit all 59 National Parks before Tre's 18th birthday. 16 down, 43 more to go!

How do you plan the next trip?

  • I have a huge bucket list. My wife creates Google flight alerts of all destinations. When the kids get a break from school, we book the cheapest trip. Google essentially helps us choose our own kid adventure! Some top locations include Australia, polar bears at Churchill, and swimming with the narwhals at Baffin Island.

Are your kids always with you?

Tre and Ry Photographing an Elk - Grand Teton National Park, WY
  • Absolutely for 90% of the shots, it would not be a memory without my family. It's tricky when shooting with kids. I lay down rules prior to exploring.

  • No hugging or feeding bears, be quiet

  • Sightings may be a bust, but if you don't go you don't see, enjoy the drive

  • Have an escape vehicle - safely watch moose with the protection of a car

  • If animals attack, we must run faster than the person next to us while carrying 2 kids

Please join my family as we travel the world focusing on kid friendly activities. We'll share favorite locations that make us smile and hot spots to find wildlife. Our goal is to leave a trail that inspires new memories for your family to create. If you have new locations to share with us please comment below, we love growing our bucket list.

Mike Larsen

🌲 ᒪEᗩᐯE ᗩ TᖇᗩIᒪ🌲 ⓟⓗⓞⓣⓞⓖⓡⓐⓟⓗⓨ

#everykidinapark #wildlife #nationalparks #familytravel #nps100 #familyadventures #getoutdoors #findyourpark #goparks

Larsens Livin' It Up

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Welcome to Larsens Livin' It Up! I'm Mike. I live in Washington with my wife and two boys. You will often find us taking shots of moose, roasting s'mores in Alaska, or having a lightsaber battle. On this blog I share our world travels, tips to find wildlife, and adventures that make us smile. My goal is to inspire your family to live life to it's fullest! Make your own memories. Get Outside!

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