Category Adventure

Wild wonders

The Canadian Rockies make a perfect playground for adrenaline-seeking adventurers. 

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By now, the story is well known. In 1883 three construction workers toiling away on the Canadian Pacific Railway stumbled across a cave in the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. They encountered a series of hot springs. After various disputes, it was decided the area be protected. In 1885 Banff National Park was created; the very first in Canada.

The protected area that is the Rocky Mountains – or the ‘Canadian Rockies’ – evolved from there. Numerous national parks later emerged to give this vast terrain the protection it deserves...

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On top of the world

The Great Himalaya Trail is the mother of all hiking routes, and could be used to help impoverished mountain villages.

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Nearly five years ago, Robin Boustead, a British explorer and mountaineer, started a journey across the high mountains of Nepal. He had been researching treks there for five years, having fallen in love with the Himalayas back in 1992. In September 2008 he set out. He wrote down routes, trails and distances; using GPS, he mapped water sources, villages and campsites. He crossed the entire country, marking up a 1,700-kilometre route (1,050 miles). It crossed passes as high as 6,200 metres and included 150,000 metres of climbing and descending. In July 2009 he completed the trail, having lost more than 20 per cent of his bodyweight...

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Into the wild

In July last year, a ‘bear cam’ was set up in Alaska to livestream bears hunting for food. But it does not compare to the real experience.

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When you have trekked into the wild and find yourself standing close to a giant bear, there are a few things you should remember. Firstly, that these are among the wild’s most dangerous creatures. Note that they are excellent swimmers, frighteningly intelligent, with a better sense of smell than dogs. They can weigh up to 680kg. Think you can run away? Forget it: in short bursts, bears can run up to 65 kilometres per hour (40 miles). “These are wild animals, and you need to really respect that,” says John Quinley, assistant regional director at Katmai National Park, in southern Alaska. “You don’t want to sneak out a sandwich in front of them...

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Taking the high road

The Karakoram Highway was one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century. Today the world’s highest paved international road makes one of Asia’s most pulsating bike rides. 

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Danger and beauty often go hand in hand. For decades, the Karakoram Highway has tempted thrill-seeking cyclists with a route that snakes in between giant glaciers, scenic valleys and towering peaks. The landscape is remote, raw and extremely challenging. Of the world’s 14 mountains that climb above 8,000 metres, the road gives access to five. It can be narrow and unstable, clinging desperately onto the mountain outlines. For the careless, a fatal abyss awaits. Some have seen wreckages lying below. For the risk-averse, the area’s proneness to earthquakes, floods and landslides probably doesn’t help...

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Top dogs

Across the frozen fjords of Greenland, dog sledding remains the chief mode of transport for local hunters and fishermen, whose part-time jobs are to take tourists into the wild.

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‘A dog is a man’s best friend,’ goes the phrase. Nowhere is that more true than on trips into Greenland’s remote wilderness where, hundreds of kilometres from the nearest house, the only return ticket to civilisation is a wooden sleigh and a pack of dogs. Maybe it’s the silent peacefulness of the island’s solitary landscape that attracts adventurers into this arctic wonderland, or perhaps the feeling of braving strong winds and -30˚C temperatures alongside acclimatised hunting dogs. Whatever the pull, a more natural experience is hard to find.

While dog sledding – also known as ‘mushing’ – may appear an...

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The lost world

Deemed “inaccessible” by explorers until the late 19th century, Mount Roraima’s mystical nature and endemic wildlife continues to fascinate scientists and hikers alike.

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There turned out to be no dinosaurs on top of Mount Roraima. But when the first expedition to climb the 2,734-metre-tall mountain returned in 1884, with tales of unearthly rock formations, strange, unknown animals and samples of 53 undiscovered plants, speculation of what other undiscovered species might exist on the mystical plateau could well be forgiven.

128 years on, the mountain still intrigues. A growing number of hikers each year visit its characteristic heart-shaped summit, which is protected by 500-metre cliffs covered in a thick drifting layer of clouds...

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