Famous for mountaintop sunrises, Haleakala National Park in Hawaii offers thrilling adventures from summit to sea. Visitors to the Kīpahulu District on the northeast coast of of Maui are treated to views of waterfalls, sweeping ocean vistas and powerful Hawaiian cultural experiences. You might even see a double rainbow. Photo courtesy of Chris Archer.
National Wildlife Refuge Week is a great time to remind everyone that refuges are some of the best places for birdwatching. One of the most thrilling birds to spot is the bald eagle. A majestic symbol of our nation, bald eagles are found in every state except Hawaii. Males and females work together to build large nests, and you’ll often see them hunting over open fields and water. This one just left its perch at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland. Photo by Curtis Gibbens (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Let’s keep the fun of National Wildlife Refuge Week going with this awesome elk at Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in Montana. During the fall rut, bull elk bellow out a series of grunts and whistles called a bugle. It’s a call to combat. In the mating season, challengers bugle to dominant elks, announcing a duel for the right to mate. This is just one of the many terrific sight and sounds you’ll find when you explore the outdoors. Photo by Somesh Nagthan (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The first national recreation area in the United States, Lake Mead stretches across 1.5 million acres of mountains, canyons, valleys and brilliant blue waters in Arizona and Nevada. Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a year-round playground for millions of Americans who come to boat, hike, cycle, camp, fish or enjoy a moment in the park’s nine wilderness areas. In addition to being a place for recreation, it’s also a home of plants and animals, and is a critical water source for many in the Southwest. Photos by National Park Service.
Sometimes we need to push ourselves. Get off the beaten path. Try something new. Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona offers backcountry adventures in a startlingly unique landscape. Deep blues, purples, reds and whites color the badlands and seem to shift throughout the day and with the seasons. Off the trail, you’ll need a good map, compass, sturdy shoes, sun protection, food and lots of water. The challenge is its own reward. The natural beauty is a bonus. Photo by Marlon Ignacio (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The name Observation Point mildly describes the epic view from this overlook at Zion National Park in Utah. More than 2,000 feet below, the North Fork of the Virgin River winds through the lush canyon, curving around the dramatic fin of Angels Landing. If the elevation gain of the hike there doesn’t take your breath away, then the view surely will. Photo by Leslie Poole (www.sharetheexperience.org).
There’s no better place to celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week than America’s public waters. On rivers, lakes, ponds, wetlands and oceans, you can paddle thrilling whitewater or float your way to relaxation. Grab your rod and reel (and maybe a friend) and try to hook the big one. Whatever you do, make a splash. Photo of Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area in Colorado by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management. #FindYourWay
The Giant Gap run of the famous North Fork of the American River Wild and Scenic River is one of the most challenging runs in northern California. Cliffs tower 2,000 feet above clear green streams, smashing a path through rapids choked with boulders. Heaps of mine tailings and an old cabin border the course of this roller coaster ride through historic Mother Lode. While the awe-inspiring river canyon is best known for its thrilling whitewater, its challenging hiking trails, excellent fishing, abundant wildlife and dramatic scenery make it a popular place to #FindYourWay. Photos by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands
Imagine a network of pathways and waterways through a corridor rich in natural beauty and historic importance. The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail runs from Pennsylvania through Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Visitors can explore by biking, hiking, riding or paddling. It’s a great place to get exercise the mind, body and spirit. Photo of Bonds Landing on the Potomac by Monica Larcom, National Park Service.
It’s Manatee Appreciation Day! These gentle giants can grow to over 14 feet in length and weigh over 3,000 pounds. Also, known as “sea cows,” manatees feed on seagrasses and other aquatic plants. Today, the total population is estimated to be at least 13,000 manatees, with more than 6,500 in the southeastern United States and Puerto Rico. When aerial surveys began in 1991, there were only an estimated 1,267 manatees in Florida. Check out more fun facts about manatees: https://on.doi.gov/2fpJzxv Photo from Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Complex by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.