Your everyday life is stressful. You’re surrounded by concrete, metal and invisible cell phone radiation waves. Well, you can blame all that stress on the front of your brain-the part right behind your forehead, known as the pre-frontal cortex. It’s responsible for you conscious thought and becomes active when you stress. Good news is that you can shut off that cortex. You can turn it off with the awe-inspiring beauty of nature. So get out of that office and get into the wilderness to connect with better parts of yourself and go on these four vacations that will reaffirm your manliness.
Kalalau Valley is a wild place that sits on the west coast of Kauai, the Garden Isle, in Hawaii. The Valley is only accessible through an 11-mile hike down the Na Pali Coast. The trek will take you up and over multiple cathedral cliffs that are like giant dragon claws that sprawl into the ocean. At some point, you’ll need to traverse “Crawler’s Ledge”, which is a 10-inch trail etched into the side of a cliff. Below is violent surf and above is a sheer wall that multiplies the effects of the trade winds that whip off the Pacific. The payoff is huge. Kalalau Valley is the garden of Eden with wild fruits, natural showers and small communes of naked hippies. Camp for a few days and pull yourself back up and out of the Valley on the same trail that brought you there.
Kabuk Valley National Park
This place is so remote that the National Park Service doesn’t even operate an office here. It is a desert above the Arctic Circle that reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit during a summer day. A half a million caribou migrate through the park every year, leaving their tracks scattered among the dunes. Go to the park in July, August or early September, and you’ll be able to “float” the slow-moving Kabuk river that’ll take you from one remote Alaskan village to another. It will take five to seven days to complete the journey, and you’ll need to be comfortable with back country camping. Along the way, you’ll be able to experience the Onion Portage, where a half a million caribou swim every year. Perhaps you’ll catch the locals harvesting the animals for subsistence while they cross the portage.
Glacier National Park
You have to drive the “Going to the Sun” road just to get into this National Park. It’s situated in the northwest of Montana where America meets Canada. Giant glaciers carved long, deep lakes and formed aggressive, snow-capped peaks. There are 700 miles of hiking trails inside this rugged park. Here, you’ll find all sorts of history in restored homesteads that dot the park. This place comes to life in the summer with blooming wildflowers, hungry bears and mosquitoes the size of your head. You might get treed by a grizzly bear, moose or badger, but the majesty of these park is worth it. It has plenty of campgrounds that offer a wide variety of amenities. You could also go back country camping if you’re man enough.
Patagonia sits at the southern tip of Chile and is perhaps the most pristine National Park in the world. It’s Glacier National Park on the Great Southern Ocean. You can boat around the park and be followed by Dolphins while you watch a glacier calving. (That’s when glaciers melt just enough to split and fall into the ocean.) This place offers deep fjords and majestic mountains. It’s also incredibly rugged. There are plenty of places to get lost, as the trails aren’t as well developed as the trails you’d find in the States. This might be the best place in the world to experience a variety of eco-systems in one day.