What do mount denali, death Valley and the Chinese/Nepal border have in common?
Our planet is an astonishing place, and nothing inspires a person to aim for greatness quite like the might of the natural world. Whether you choose to hit the countryside or the coast on your downtime, or you’re fortunate enough to live in a mountainous region or port town where nature’s extremes are visible even from the office window, the inimitable imagination in Earth’s patterns and features is both rousing and humbling.
What’s more, there’s nothing quite like visiting the highest peaks and the deepest valleys and basins to put things in perspective and keep you grounded. If you’re in the States, that means Mount Denali (up high) and Death Valley (down low). Peaking 20,000 feet above sea level, Dinali – which was until recently re-named after short-lived President McKinley – is also the third most isolated peak in the world. First climbed by Hudson Stuck and Harry Karstens in 1913, a certain Dr. Frederick Cook’s claim to have reach the summit in 1906 was later debunked. Yet, today over half those who attempt the climb make it to the top. Will you be one of them?
In addition to being the lowest point in the US, Death Valley's Badwater Basin is one of the hottest places in the world. Somehow, wildflowers, willows Bighorn sheep, hawks, and wild burros still manage to thrive there. Visiting is possible if you plan carefully and take plenty of precautions against the heat: pack plenty of water, and please don’t take your dog.
Still, it might make a more sensible place to visit than Mount Denali if it is extremes in which you are interested: Mount Whitney is less than 90 miles away, and is actually the highest place in the contiguous United States. Two for one! Parts of Whitney are in Inyo National Forest and parts are in Sequoia National Park, making it a rich area to visit. One route to the top can take as little as three and a half hours, so you can make a real weekend of your ‘extreme’ trips.
Every country in the world has its extremes, and visiting those in your country of birth or adopted home makes for a great ‘bucket list’ achievement. Whether it’s the heights of Kangchenjunga in Indonesia, or the depths of Lake Eyre in Australia, you’re sure to be wowed by what you find and return to work ready to conquer your industry. For a guide to the highest and lowest elevation points in 20 countries around the world, check out this fine new infographic from Budget Direct.