The World's Last Remaining Adventures and Discoveries

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The forest of undiscovered creatures
Aprada tepui, a remote rainforest mesa on the border of Venezuela and Guyana, is so little explored that in 2006 researchers discovered a cave - Cueva del Fantasma - large enough for a helicopter to fly into it. The area is also home to rare poison dart frogs, carnivorous plants and hundreds of other undiscovered species - and who knows, maybe a cave that can accommodate a jumbo jet.
The territory of the sea gypsies
Most of the beaches in the 800-island Mergui Archipelago, Burma, have never been visited by anyone but the native sea gypsies. That means endless coastlines of virgin scuba diving. The problem is getting there - between 1940 and 1997 Mergui was off limits to outsiders, but now the Burmese government allows limited access to dive boats, though they strictly control their movements.
The highest unclimbed mountain
As far as geographers can tell, the highest unclimbed mountain in the world is Gangkhar Puensum, a 7,570 metre spine of granite marking the border between Tibet and the tiny kingdom of Bhutan. Mountaineers made failed assaults on the peak in 1985 and 1986 but couldn't knock it off. In 1998, after Bhutan blocked access to the mountain for spiritual reasons, a Chinese team tried and failed to reach the peak from the Tibetan side.
Impossible terrain in the Americas
The Pan American Highway runs unbroken from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to the farthest tip of Argentina...except for a 87-kilometre break between Panama and Colombia known as the Darien Gap. Home to two national parks, this swampy, mountainous terrain has only been crossed by a handful of off road expedition vehicles and a small cohort of hikers. No wonder - impossible terrain and roaming bandits and armed guerillas have kept this one of the least visited spots on Earth.
The Yucatan's hidden underwater world
Mexico's Yucatan is dotted with cenotes - underground lagoons; some 500 km of watery passageways have been documented crisscrossing the peninsula. Scientists and explorers, however, think there could be countless kilometres of underwater rivers and passages still to be discovered. Several local groups, including the Global Underwater Explorers, discover new caves every year.
The pristine African rainforest
There is no road access to Ivindo national park, in Gabon, one of the last intact and unexplored rainforests in Africa. In 2001, during his megatransect of the continent, the biologist Michael Fay discovered the Langoue Bai, deep within Ivindo, a glade where elusive forest elephants, buffalos, gorillas and chimps romp with little fear of humans.
The unscaled Tibetan mountain range
For several years, the Japanese mountaineer Tamotsu Nakamura has catalogued the unclimbed mountains in the eastern Tibetan Nyainqentanglha range, which is tightly controlled by the Chinese government. His photos of the unclimbed peaks have the mountaineering world drooling. According to one estimate the area has 164 mountains over 6,000 metres, with 159 yet to be summited.
The impenetrable animal refuge
This vast area of thorn and scrubland on the border of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia has remained little developed because of its brutal climate. In particular, the three million hectare Kaa-Iya del Gran Chaco national park, the largest in Bolivia, is an impenetrable thicket that protects some of the continent's last remaining jaguars, pumas, maned wolves, and at least one indigenous tribe that has no contact with the outside world.
The unmapped Russian peninsula
Though the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula has exploded in popularity with adventure travellers, especially fly fishers, over the past decade, most of the area's rivers and streams have yet to be mapped. Last summer, a team of six veteran kayakers set out to descend as much virgin whitewater as they could as part of the Kamchatka Project expedition, which was intended to raise conservation awareness and perhaps spark a kayaking industry.

The untouched ecosystem
The Mozambiquan region of Mt. Mabu is so remote that scientists only discovered it when they noticed a blank spot on Google Earth in 2005. When they finally trudged into this mountainous rainforest, three years later, they discovered a whole ecosystem untouched by man, including new species of snakes, butterflies and a chameleon. Now scientists are wishing they could scrub it off the map again to keep the treasure trove safe from local loggers.
Raft the unmapped tributaries of the Nile
You'd think that after 5,000 years, we'd know something about the Nile and its tributaries, but the Blue Nile river, originating in Ethiopia and running through the Sudan before connecting with the main event at Khartoum, was only fully navigated for the first time in 2004 when the filmmaker Gordon Brown and Pasquale Scaturro made it from Ethiopia to Alexandria in Egypt. The river's countless tributaries and rugged terrain continue to stymie explorers and cartographers.
Mountains of virgin snow
There are literally thousands of unclimbed and unskied peaks in British Columbia, but some of the most spectacular are in the Coast Mountains, including the 2,400-metre Spectrum Range and Rainbow Ranges. Skiers with the stamina and ambition to make the trek into the mountains can make genuine first climbing ascents and first skiing descents to their hearts' content.
Kite Skiing Greenland
The vast, unforgiving icecap covering the interior of Greenland has been an exploration blank spot, with most expeditions keeping close to the coast. But in the past decade explorers have begun venturing further and further into the interior, often by kite-ski. In June last year, the Greenland Legacy Crossing set a world record when two kite-skiers travelled an astounding 370 miles in one day in their sleds.
The wild, unfished tributaries of Mongolia
Taimen are the largest salmonid - think trout and salmon - in the world, with the aggressive toothy fish reaching 100 to 150 centimetres. Mongolia is one of the last refuges of the sport species, and adventurous anglers, often using ground squirrels as bait, are still finding untouched fishing tributaries off the Eg and Urr rivers in the country's north.
The 5,000-metre-deep Australian canyon
Off the Bonney Coast of Australia lies an underwater canyon system so deep and so vast it is only now being mapped. The maze, which reaches depths of 5,000 metres, has turned out to be a biological hotspot, with the specially equipped Southern Surveyor research vessel pulling up undiscovered species of fish and plankton almost every time it voyages out.

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The World's Last Remaining Adventures and Discoveries

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