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The Great Outdoors: 26 Amazing Experiences

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Natural wonders that make you feel small.
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Lake Maninjau, Tanjung Raya, Agam Regency, West Sumatra, Indonesia
This is what I think of when travel comes to mind. I think untrammeled territory, wide open country, bits and pieces of the world I've never seen before, people doing things I didn't know they still do or ever did, and a big, booming landscape....
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Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur, Mexico
The ocean churns as a 36-ton mammal swims up to the boat. With your arm plunged into the cool water, you await the touch of a California gray whale. Like a house cat craving a scratch on the head, the whale pushes its rubbery skin, rough with...
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Roys Peak, Otago 9381, New Zealand
The guidebooks say this is a difficult trek but well worth it. After a huffing and puffing trek to the top of Roy’s Peak, I would most certainly like to concur. 11k in approximately 4-5 hours, a decent level of fitness is most needed for this...
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Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
A persistent rumor has it that Mount Kilimanjaro actually belonged to Kenya until colonial times when Queen Victoria gave it to her grandson Kaiser Wilhelm, who governed what would become Tanzania, as a rather lavish birthday...
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Mono Lake, California 93541, USA
The colors and incredible rocks at Mono Lake draw you in. It is like no place I have ever visited. The rock formations are called Tufa towers which form in a variety of ways at Mono Lake. The most visible formations are the towers on the lake’s...
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Sierra Buttes, California 96125, USA
One of the most spectacular views in the central high Sierra (about one hour's drive north of Truckee, CA) is surprisingly accessible. This wasn't always the case. The first time I saw these lakes--near to far, Young America, Upper Sardine, Lower...
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California, USA
“We wanted to go to Yosemite, but didn’t have time.” I’ve heard this refrain from several San Francisco visitors and they all have said it with regret. Yes, the reverent national park is outside of a short-drive comfort...
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Black Sand Beach, California, USA
We began our walk up the Lost Coast Trail by enjoying Black Sands Beach, which doesn't really have very much sand, in the Kings Range National Conservation Area. For the next 24 miles from Black Sands Beach, the Lost Coast Trail is primarily on...
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24442 Las Médulas, León, Spain
Las Medulas UNESCO World Heritage Site: A Roman gold mine dating back to the first century AD. The hill formations were all dug by hand!
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Unnamed Road, Peru
Colca Canyon, a three-hour drive north of Arequipa, is one of Peru’s most popular and extraordinary tourist attractions. The chasm is over 13,600 feet deep, making it one of the deepest in the world, and more than twice as deep as the...
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Jordan
As is often the case with travel expectations, there’s so much more to a site than what we can see in the confines of a screen or read in black and white letters on a page. Often the real place is a shock of depth, colors and aromas, and the way...
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Jökulsárlón, Iceland
This lake filled with giant, translucent chunks of iceberg is one of Iceland’s most distinctive and photogenic sights. Featured in high-profile movies, including two of the James Bond series and Batman Begins (as well as many local TV...
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Brisk winds whipped the chill factor to 11 degrees and below as shifting ice, spastic snowstorms and remote conditions readjusted itineraries daily on the Antarctica expedition. But no one seemed to mind when Mother Nature took the helm. Every...
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Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand
Lake Tekapo is a sweet little slice of heaven, and a paradise you'll have all to your own, should you visit outside the high season. The glacial waters running out of the Southern Alps are every bit as mesmerizing as they are refreshing - which is...
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Page, AZ 86040, USA
I saw this place in so many photos before but when I got there and saw it in person it was such an overwhelming experience. Getting there is easy. You take the Interstate 89 South from Page and after 7 minutes you get to the parking lot. The road...
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Fitz Roy
A great view of Mt. Fitz Roy can done as a day hike from the hiking town of El Chalten in Argentina. The trail starts in the woods, passes over streams, and gives ever more amazing vistas as you climb. For the full experience, you can camp at the...
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Northern Europe
Iceland mineral bath
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Narchyang, Nepal

In the mountain village of Koto, Nepal, there is a path that branches off the legendary 150-mile Annapurna Circuit and passes—ceremoniously, tantalizingly—through a large stone gate. This trail is off-limits, a nearby sign reads, unless you have a...

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Tungurahua, Ecuador
The little city of Banos is situated on the side of volcano Tungurahua and has gorgeous waterfalls like this one, the Pailon del Diablo or Devil's Cauldron. To get up this high the trail first drops about 1000 feet into the valley and then climbs...
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Kalispell, MT, MT, USA
After an hour's drive down a dirt road from the tiny town of Polebridge, Montana, we did a steep one-mile climb to our home for the night--the Hornet Peak Fire Lookout Tower. Before modern technology, Forest Service employees lived in towers like...
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Lozovac, Croatia
Located near the coastal city of Šibenik, Krka National Park is named for the river that runs through its lush forests and feeds its most famous site, Skradinski Buk—a huge, clear pool that starts and ends in waterfalls. The park is...
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Icefields Pkwy, Alberta, Canada
Not sure where to go from Glacier National Park, we decided to follow the advice of two Canadian residents whom we just met at a hostel in Montana. They insisted we follow Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada....
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745 U.S. 89, Kanab, UT 84741, USA
If you don’t win a coveted lottery permit to visit “the Wave” off Highway 89 in Utah, consider the nearby Buckskin Gulch. Covering more than 15 miles, Buckskin is a backpacking paradise for many avid hikers, but all you really need is an afternoon...
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Cannonville, UT 84718, USA
Within striking distance of Bryce Canyon lies a landscape full of monolithic stone spires known as sedimentary pipes. Here, the stone towers complement multicolored sandstone layers, hinting at 180 million years of geologic time. In 1948, a...
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Utah, USA
As its biblical name implies, Zion National Park has the appeal of a place out of time. Established on November 19, 1919, the canyon and its surrounding landscape feel like a natural temple, full of arches, hoodoos, and imposing walls, some of...
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Lummi Island, WA 98262, USA
On Lummi Island, about three hours from Seattle, you can bike miles of farm roads, search for an ancient Native American petroglyph on Sunset Beach, and take a “wild foraging-and-feasting” sea kayaking trip with Elakah Expeditions to prowl the...