EX­PLOR­ING WILD AMER­ICA

Con­nect with na­ture where wilder­ness thrives.

Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle Magazine - - Table Of Contents - BY JOSEPHINE MATYAS

Con­nect­ing with Amer­ica’s wild places is a great way to re­duce stress and in­crease fit­ness in breath­tak­ing set­tings. We’ve scoured the USA, from the wet­lands of Florida to the vol­ca­noes of Hawaii for ways (some un­ex­pected) to ex­plore a few of Amer­ica’s wilder­ness ecosys­tems.

Ever­glades Na­tional Park en­com­passes an ex­pan­sive area of wet­lands in south Florida. The 6,070-square-kilo­me­tre park pro­tects an In­ter­na­tional Bio­sphere Re­serve that is home to rare and en­dan­gered species like the man­a­tee, Amer­i­can croc­o­dile and the elu­sive Florida pan­ther. nps.gov/ever

Ev­ery­one knows Ari­zona’s Grand Canyon, but few have trekked off the beaten path to Chir­ic­ahua Na­tional Mon­u­ment

in the south­east cor­ner of the state. The moun­tains and fan­tas­tic rock for­ma­tions— nick­named “won­der­land of rocks”—were cre­ated mil­lions of years ago when gi­gan­tic vol­canic erup­tions cov­ered the area in com­pacted ash, which was lifted by forces and sculpted by wind and wa­ter. The re­sult is an un­earthly scene of bal­anced rocks, col­umns and pin­na­cles that stand as mon­u­ments to the power of na­ture. nps.gov/chir

Great Sand Dunes Na­tional Park & Pre­serve in south­east Colorado is where to ex­pe­ri­ence the tallest sand dunes in North Amer­ica. The park in­cludes a di­verse land­scape of grass­lands, wet­lands, forests, alpine lakes and tun­dra, along with the mas­sive Sa­hara-like sand­scape. It’s ideal for ad­ven­ture trav­ellers who want to hike up the dunes and sand­board down them on rented boards. nps.gov/grsa

Just south of Min­neapo­lis, the 57square-kilo­me­tre Min­nesota Val­ley Na­tional Wildlife Refuge pro­vides a habi­tat for a large num­ber of mi­gra­tory wa­ter­fowl, fish and other wildlife species, as well as wildlife recre­ational op­por­tu­ni­ties and in­ter­pre­tive pro­gram­ming for vis­i­tors. Here, coy­otes, bald ea­gles, fish and birds of all kinds thrive next door to a ma­jor city cen­tre. Vis­i­tors can en­joy bird­ing, hik­ing, hunt­ing, fish­ing and pho­tog­ra­phy.

fws.gov/refuge/min­neso­ta_­val­ley

North Carolina’s Linville Gorge Wilder­ness Area—part of Pis­gah Na­tional For­est—has been called the “Grand Canyon of the East.” Its steep walls de­scend to the Linville River, en­clos­ing a vast play­ground for hik­ers, rock climbers and moun­tain bik­ers. The wildlife pop­u­la­tion in­cludes bears, foxes, deer, rac­coons and birdlife.

bluerid­getrav­el­ers.com

Haleakala Na­tional Park—on the Hawai­ian is­land of Maui—has a cin­der desert land­scape that is oth­er­worldly. Vis­i­tors are drawn to the thin air el­e­va­tion to see the mas­sive crater sum­mit of the world’s largest dor­mant vol­cano. Much of the park’s pro­tected frag­ile flora and fauna is found nowhere else on Earth. Haleakala’s clean air makes it one of the best as­tro­nom­i­cal view­ing lo­ca­tions on the planet. nps.gov/hale

Cany­on­lands Na­tional Park in Utah is what writer and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist Ed­ward Abbey called the “most arid, most hos­tile, most lone­some, most grim, bleak, bar­ren, des­o­late and sav­age quar­ter of the state of Utah—the best part by far.” The park pro­tects a time­less vista of cliffs and canyons formed in what was an an­cient seabed by the on­go­ing force of ero­sion. This is a red rock wilder­ness, weath­ered and frac­tured into dra­matic fins, nee­dles and arches. nps.gov/cany

MAI NGUYEN

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