There are few places left in the world that remain essentially as they were 10,000 years ago. The Okavango Delta is such a place, according to those who've been there.
ASC Executive Director Gregg Treinish is headed home after an expedition in the delta, and just sent in his final audio diary from his trip, as well as several more photos.
"[Right now] I feel really inspired," he says. "I feel really moved by what's here, and I feel so incredibly lucky to be part of this ecosystem and this project."
Listen to the recording here:
"We've been calling it the holy land, and finally we have arrived," he said about Mombo, a remote part of the delta where they arrived a few days ago.
In case you haven't heard, we're giving away an Alpacka Raft!
These lightweight, packable boats will change your perspective on what's possible in the backcountry. Weighing only 4-5 pounds, they are tough and capable of handling rowdy water.
The giveaway is alongside Gregg's Okavango expedition: Anyone who donates $50 or more to ASC before his return to the States on August 27 is entered to win. All donations will go directly toward remote wildlife research platforms.
Alpacka Rafts retail for between $785-1,850, and they will take you to some of the wildest landscapes on Earth. Enter now for a chance to win a packraft, and to support a great cause. Let's raise $5,000!
Wilderness heightens our senses. For a moment, imagine the feeling of mud between your toes, or sharp grasses scraping your legs. The heat of the sun beating on your back, sapping your energy.
After a few days living outside, your hearing and eyesight sharpen, and pain and hunger become more real, even though both can be dulled by necessity. Feeling this way connects us with something deep within, with our ancestry, and our instincts.
As Gregg says in an entry for National Geographic's Okavango blog, "I feel like I’ve poled 10,000 years back in time."
In the following audio diary, he describes arriving in Mombo, and the wash of emotions he has after their toil hauling their gear into this majestic, remote place, teeming with wildlife:
In the Nat Geo blog, he also described a clash between two of the largest mammals on Earth:
"This morning, after barely negotiating the second of several hippo pods we encountered throughout the day, we watched more than 40 elephants cross the river in front of us. Two trailing behind also had to back down to the cantankerous hippos."
"15 hippos next to us, an elephant on the island... this place is indescribable," Gregg said during the Google Hangout this morning. "I was already in tears once today when we emerged [onto the river] from fighting through the bush for so many days... This is one of my ultimate adventures so far."
If you missed the live hangout, you can stream it any time here:
Each of the four Explorers weighed in on their trip, on the importance of the Okavango, and on his place in the expedition.
Fighting through thick grasses, bushwhacking, carrying and dragging their boats and gear... the #Okavango14 expedition team has seen some rough travel lately. You can hear in Gregg's voice it's all worth it when an elephant watches him set up camp. Listen in:
Don't miss a chance to join the team LIVE in the delta tomorrow morning, Friday, August 22, via a Google+ Hangout hosted by National Geographic at 10 a.m. EDT.
Landmark is ASC's groundbreaking project to provide "boots on the ground" support for the American Prairie Reserve management team. Wildlife survey crews consist of skilled outdoors men and women who live and work on Montana's northern Great Plains, collecting data that informs APR's conservation management decisions.
By Meghan Riehl
We often stumble upon prairie dog towns while hiking transects, and are greeted with surround-sound chirps as the animals call out to warn each other of the tall bi-pedal creatures.
Black-tailed prairie dogs inhabit grasslands and sagebrush in extensive underground burrow systems. A keystone species, their colonies create a habitat that benefits more than 150 others. They're a food source for many animals, including coyotes, eagles, badgers and the endangered black-footed ferret, according to National Geographic.
At the end of July, our Landmark crew spent some of our free time helping a team of prairie dog biologists and field technicians.
Read the Landmark Notes blog: