Technology is creating our world All 197 million square miles of it believe smaller every day. We can utilize digital underwater maps to research the Great Barrier Reef, drones to fly over pods of Belugas from the Arctic, and high-definition satellite footage to research almost every spot on Earth.
It can be difficult to imagine there are still places on Earth where most human feet haven’t stepped, distant wild worlds we have never seen with our own eyes. But they do exist, and they are pretty damn magical. Listed below are only a few.
1. McMurdo Station, a remote scientific outpost in Antarctica.
Aside from scientists, not a lot of mammals make their home in Antarctica. There are plenty of reasons for it.
First, its located at the South Pole at the middle of a world playground where no country is permitted to claim ownership, build settlements, or extract resources. Secondly, it can get extremely cold. Like, -58 degrees Fahrenheit (-50 degrees Celsius) cold. That is right. 58 degrees BELOW ZERO.
McMurdo Station is available through an airstrip in the summertime, and about 1,000 employees from all over the world reside and work there. Before winter sets in, virtually all of them will leave. In the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, one resident very famously had to self-administer chemotherapy medication to herself later she discovered she had breast cancer since there was no other doctor on site throughout the winter.
2. Fewer than 10 people on Earth know where to find the worlds oldest tree.
For centuries, a solitary Acacia tree termed Tnr climbed in the middle of the Sahara desert. It was the most isolated tree in the world, with roots extending 118 feet below the surface. That is, until 1973, when a drunk truck driver plowed into it and killed it.
That sad story Coupled together with the human tendency to want to touch and take selfies with everything trendy means it is not surprising that biologists have opted to keep the place of the worlds oldest remaining shrub a closely-guarded secret.
Heres what we do know: Methuselah is a bristlecone pine tree located someplace in Californias White Mountains. Scientists have dated it at about 5,000 years, meaning it started growing ahead of the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids. Another shrub, Prometheus, was found in 1964 and might have been even older than Methuselah. Except that was only found after a scientist cut down it.
Humans: We are trusted with whatever.
3. Only 3 people have ever been inside the Mariana Trench, and among these is James Cameron, because of course it is.
A few hipsters would have you believe the deepest location on Earth is the second-to-last page of a David Foster Wallace novel, but theyd be wrong.
That honor really belongs to Challenger Deep, a crevasse inside the Mariana Trench. This underwater trough 1,500 kilometers long and about 40 miles wide is located in the deep Pacific sea at some point east of the Philippines and south of Japan near the island of Guam. And once we say “deep,” we really mean it. Challenger Deep is almost seven miles underwater. Since National Geographic pointed out: “When Mount Everest were dropped in the Marianas Trench, its peak would still be over a mile underwater.”
Only 3 people have been indoors Challenger Deep: Navy Lt. Dan Walsh and Jacques Piccard descended into it in 1960, also director James Cameron traveled there in 2012. If you would like to repeat their accomplishment, very good luck. Theres no natural light inside the depths of the Mariana Trench, the water temperature is barely above freezing, and the water pressure is about 8 tons per square inch, roughly 1,000 times that which we encounter at sea level.
4. Tristan da Cunha is 2,000 miles from anyplace.
Tristan da Cunha is the most distant location on the planet where people still reside. Not a lot of people, mind you. The present population is about 270 people, and most of those are descendants of the original families who settled there in the 1800s.
Tristan da Cunha is a tiny archipelago of islands in the south Atlantic with South Africa about 1,700 miles away and South America about 2,000 kilometers away. Its so distant that some people today think it inspired the mystical island at “Lost.”
Tristan da Cunha was found at the 1500s and annexed by the British in the 1800s as a means of maintaining an eye on Napoleon (who was exiled to the local island of St. Helena). If you would like to go there today, it is only reachable by boat.
5. Before 2010, the only way into Mdog County was over a suspension bridge.
Mdog County is one of Chinas wild all-natural treasures. Located in the hills of the Tibet Autonomous Region (occupied Tibet adjacent to Mainland China), it is home to dozens of creatures and thousands indigenous plants.
Its also Chinas most populated county. Of the 1.35 billion people living in China, only 12,000 people make their home in Mdog County, largely working as farmers. Part of this comes from Mdogs remoteness. For years, the Chinese government tried and failed to build a trusted road into the county. Their attempts were thwarted by mudslides, avalanches, and intense winter weather. Until five years ago, the only way into Mdog County was through an overland mountain route and over a 650-foot suspension bridge. An all-weather road was finished in 2013. And “all-weather” signifies “passable by all-terrain car for 2 months of the year.” Unless you’re a yeti, in which case, you would you.
6. Svalbard, Norway, is the worlds largest deep seed suspend.
Should you cant imagine a day without your down-filled parka, then the Svalbard islands are the 24,000-square-mile Arctic paradise. Located above the Arctic Circle, this parasitic land doesnt experience days and nights like the entire world at lower latitudes. Instead it will undergo weeks of absolute darkness followed by weeks of endless daylight.
If your circadian rhythms may handle it, then you can visit Svalbard by catching one of those daily flights from Oslo and then combine the 2,700 inhabitants at the town of Longyearbyen to get a plate of kjttboller and A glass of akevitt.
Or check out the Global Seed Vault, an underground bunker storing most of the worlds plant and food seeds in case of an extinction-level catastrophe. Svalbard was chosen as the place due to its remoteness and its protective layer of permafrost. More than 720,000 seeds have been stored from the Global Seed Vault from over 4,000 plant species.
7. SGang Gwaay is visited so rarely, iStock doesnt have photos of it.
SGang Gwaay is a tiny island tucked into the southwest corner of the lower portion of Moresby Island at Haida Gwaii, Canada. Occupied by the Indigenous Haida people before the late 1880s, it is of great cultural importance to the Haida and was recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site at 1991.
The village of SGang Gwaay Llnagaay (Nan Sdins or, formerly, Ninstints) was the primary settlement on the tiny island. Its beaches are dotted with cedar mortuary poles and totems along with the remains of many longhouses.
Getting to SGang Gwaay includes a short plane ride from Vancouver or a two-day drive from Vancouver to Prince Rupert, and a six-hour ferry ride to Haida Gwaii. After there, travelers must purchase a permit to enter Gwaii Hanaas National Marine Park by sea kayak or boat then take a brief course on responsible tourism. Following that, its only a few lovely days’ travel to reach this distant and magical location.
8. Gangkhar Puensum is the worlds tallest unclimbed mountain.
Mountain climbers of the world rejoice: There continue to be peaks to conquer, and Gangkhar Puensum is among these. Located in the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan at its boundary with China, Gangkhar Puensum reaches 24,836 feet (in contrast, Mount Everest is 29,029 feet). Perpetually cloaked in snow, its title in Bhutanese means “white peak of the 3 spiritual brothers.”
Four separate expeditions at 1985 and 1986 failed to get to the summit. No one has tried since.
Sadly, if climbing Gangkhar Puensum is the dream, it must stay unfulfilled. The Bhutan government has banned mountain climbing (at heights greater than 6,000 meters since 1994 and then altogether in 2003) out of respect for the spirits and gods which sailors believe live in and around the hills. It is an aggressive move, but one the government thinks is required to safeguard the Bhutanese society, faith, and environment from outside forces.
Meanwhile, the opinion in photos alone is pretty damn spectacular.
How many had you ever heard of? Think that your friends will have heard of more?
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