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Ideas & Inspiration  Ideas, inspiration, challenges, events and more.
 

Backpack Glacier National Park Montana
With its sheer peaks, wildflowers, alpine lakes filled with trout, grizzly bears, and, of course, glaciers, Glacier National Park is the ideal place to lose yourself for days. The park typifies the Rocky Mountain experience and yet has cathedrals of loose-rock mountains and yearlong snowfields that make it unlike anywhere else on the planet. This means backpacking options abound. Simple trips, like an overnighter to Akokala Lake, deliver a real wilderness experience, while a ten-day traverse of the Continental Divide across the backbone of the park is a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

The Forks of the Kern California
Locals describe the Forks of the Kern in two ways: It’s either 80 rapids in quick succession or one really, really long one. These 22 miles (35 kilometers) of nonstop Class IV and V rapids make the Forks of the Kern, only 150 miles (241 kilometers) from Los Angeles, one of the country’s premier whitewater runs. But it’s also a brilliant escape."

The Lost Coast California
Somewhere along the 80 miles (129 kilometers) of glorious northern California wilderness coastline between Fort Bragg and Eureka is a secret surf break as perfect in form as in setting. The Lost Coast wave is the stuff of American legend: a big, consistent, year-round swell that washes onto a rocky shore with high energy and perfect curvature—fast, clean, with long, long sweeps."

Mountain Bike the Tahoe Rim Trail California
Encircling the largest alpine lake in North America, the 165-mile (266-kilometer) Tahoe Rim Trail just may be the singletrack with the greatest view in the United States. More than 80 miles (129 kilometers) of the trail are open to mountain bikes."

The Sierra High Route California
If the Sierra’s original pathbreaker and solitude lover, John Muir, were alive today, it’s a fair bet he’d hike the Sierra High Route instead of the trail that bears his name. The High Route, arguably the best kept wilderness secret in the lower 48, shadows the John Muir Trail as the two traverse the remarkable kingdom of granite that lies between Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks."

Buckskin Gulch Arizona
It’s a toss-up whether the Narrows in Zion National Park of Buckskin Gulch in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is the best nontechnical, multiday slot canyon hike in the world. Beyond debate is the fact that the Buckskin Gulch-Paria Canyon route is nearly thrice as long—meaning more time immersed in a swirling red-rock chasm at points no more than six feet (two meters) wide and 500 feet (152 meters) high."

Mount McKinley Alaska
Standing atop the highest point in North America requires a good bit of luck and a big investment of time. The biggest obstacle on 20,320-foot (6,194-meter) Mount McKinley (or Denali, in native Athabaskan), which is the centerpiece of Alaska’s Denali National Park & Preserve, is the weather."

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve Alaska
Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve, the country’s largest national park, operates on an entirely different scale than the Lower 48. Let’s just review the numbers: Six times the size of Yellowstone, it’s home to the country’s largest collection of glaciers and peaks over 16,000 feet (4,879 meters), including nine of the 16 tallest mountains. Parts of the national park are so remote and unexplored that mountains, glaciers, and passes remain unnamed, and only two roads—both gravel—enter it at all."

Camp With Alaska Brown Bears Alaska
It’s thrilling to see big browns with no fence or barrier between you and them. At the Great Alaska International Adventure Vacations Bear Camp, you can quietly watch a dozen or more brown bears from a spruce-fringed meadow that lies between Mount Iliamna in Lake Clark National Park & Preserve and Cook Inlet."

Float the Tatshenshini-Alsek River Canada
The opportunity for a true wilderness expedition experience in the U.S. is slowly disappearing. The best bet you have left is a float down the Tatshenshini-Alsek river system (which does, however, require that you start in Canada). It’s not so much the isolation that makes the standard nine-day to two-week, 140-mile (255-kilometer) trip from Yukon’s Dalton Post to Alaska’s Dry Bay so sublime as it is the scenery."

Canoe the Boundary Waters Minnesota
If you’re planning to rob a bank in the Midwest, arguably your best escape route is through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. After entering this one-million-acre (400,000-hectare) bastion of lakes, streams, and primordial pine, birch, and aspen forests, you’re very unlikely to be found. That goes for law-abiding escapists, too. The Boundary Waters offer some 1,500 miles (2,414 kilometers) of canoe routes and 2,000 secluded campsites; in other words, it's the perfect territory in which to disappear for a while."

Hike Glacier Peak Washington
The Pac Northwest’s wilderness gem: a four-day backpacking loop around Glacier Peak, 10,541 feet (3,213 meters) of rock ribs and glaciers."

Heli-Ski the Chugach Mountains Alaska
In the Chugach Mountains, first descents are still routine, and nameless peaks promise more skiable terrain than even the biggest resorts in the Lower 48. Valdez serves as base for five of the seven heli-ski outfits that work the Chugach, but only Points North takes off from Cordova. Its clients gain nearly exclusive access to a 2,000-square-mile (5,180-square-kilometer) chunk of mountains, then retreat to the Points North Orca Adventure Lodge, a converted cannery."

Complete a NOLS Semester USA
It’s humbling and invaluable to hone your wilderness skills where they count most—in America’s wildest state. On a NOLS Semester in Alaska, you backpack the Talkeetna Mountains, traverse huge crevasse-riddled glaciers, and paddle the open ocean of Prince William Sound, learning, as they say at NOLS, to thrive, not just survive."

Tree-Climb Chilkat Alaska
Ascend 250-foot (76-meter) tall spruces smack in the middle of the world’s highest concentration of bald eagles."

Explore ANWR Alaska
North America’s most impressive (and most politicized) wildlife spectacle occurs each June in the continent’s northernmost no-man’s-land. That’s when and where the 200,000 caribou of the Porcupine herd culminate their 400-mile (644-kilometer) annual march from the Yukon to the coastal plains of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)."

Learn to Fly a Wingsuit
Learning how to jump out of an airplane wearing something that looks like a superhero costume—and then, well, fly like one—sounds like the most impossible, extreme thing a person could try. Really, it’s not. Modern wingsuits, which consist of extra fabric under the arms and between the legs to provide enough lift for flight, are popular and allow parachutists to enjoy freefall longer."

Leitisvatn Lake
Sørvágsvatn (Leitisvatn) is the biggest lake of the Faroe Islands. It is situated on the island of Vágar between the municipalities of Sørvágs Kommuna and Miðvágs kommuna. The name Sørvágsvatn means ‘The lake of Sørvágur’."

Fingal's Cave Scotland
Located on the island of Staffa, Scotland, Fingal’s Cave, also known as “Uamh-Binn” in Gaelic (meaning “cave of melody”), is well-known for its arching, cathedral-like geological features and emanating eerie sounds. The cave, along with the entire island of Staffa, is composed entirely of hexagonal basalt columns, which produces the naturally arched ceiling. The easiest way to see this awe-inspiring cave for yourself is to take a sightseeing cruise from the town of Mull. The cruises land close to the cave, and the hexagonal basalt columns serve as perfect stepping stones to walk along the shore and enter the cave."

Prague Castle Czech Republic
Prague Castle is a castle in Prague where the Kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman Emperors and presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic have had their offices. The Czech Crown Jewels are kept here. Prague Castle is the biggest castle in the world (according to Guinness Book of Records the biggest ancient castle) at about 570 metres in length and an average of about 130 metres wide.

Sutherland Falls New Zealand
Sutherland Falls is a waterfall near Milford Sound in the Fiordland National Park, New Zealand. Amongst the tallest waterfalls in the world, it has a steep slope. Sutherland Falls are fed by a small circular lake, named Lake Quill, which occupies a small rock basin that was formed by ice-action during the Ice Age, and spills almost directly down a near-vertical mountain-wall into a valley. Its most beautiful angle is taken from above on a helicopter flight, when you can see the lake behind the waterfall framed with snow-capped mountains in the cold seasons."

Río Secreto Mexico
Rio Secreto is also known as Mexico’s underground river. While just recently becoming a tourist destination, it’s likely that Río Secreto patrons will only grow. After all, with its thousands of stalactites and stalagmites along the river’s edge, visitors are left feeling as if they have traveled back in time, and to a place untouched by human hands. The underground passageways of seemingly endless tunnels stun the senses and will absolutely take your breath away."

Waitomo Glowworm Caves
The Waitomo Glowworm Caves attraction is a cave at Waitomo on the North Island of New Zealand, known for its population of glowworms, Arachnocampa luminosa. This species is found exclusively in New Zealand. They are around the size of an average mosquito. Geological and volcanic activity has created around 300 known limestone caves in the Waitomo region over the last 30 million years."

Fort Bragg's Glass Beach California
Glass Beach is visual proof that beauty can be generated from the unlikeliest of sources. The Fort Bragg, California beach is the result of early twentieth century residents dumping their garbage over the cliffs. The refuse included glass (of course), appliances, and even automobiles. Periodically, beach patrons and authorities would light fires to reduce the amount of garbage on the beach. Over the decades waves pounded the shores and broke down everything but the glass and pottery. What was left was worn into the smooth and colorful glass and stone that cover Glass Beach."

Giraffe Manor in Nairobi Kenya
Giraffe Manor is a luxury boutique hotel located only 20 kilometers from Nairobi city center. Built in the 1930s, this luxury boutique hotel has maintained all the charm of the era and is now famous for its resident herd of Rothschild Giraffe. Giraffe Manor offers you an unparalleled experience of the giraffes, with them vying for your attention at the breakfast table, the front door and even your bedroom window."