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Day Trip: Death Valley National Park

As first-time visitors to Death Valley National Park, we seriously underestimated the scale of America's hottest, driest and lowest national park. A day-trip to the largest national park in the lower-48 is barely enough time to get a sense for the dramatic and varied landscape and definitely not enough time to get out to do much exploring on foot. If we ever make a return visit to Death Valley NP, we'll plan for an overnight stay in the park, for more boots on the ground hiking time plus opportunities for sunrise and night photography.

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Zodiac Excursion – Button Islands

What a spot for the last Zodiac excursion on One Ocean's Labrador and Torngat Mountains expedition cruise: the Button Islands are located near an upwelling of ocean currents laden with nutrients, which make these barren, low islands the Arctic equivalent of an African watering hole. A frigid Zodiac safari in the Button Islands is likely to encounter sea birds, marine mammals and polar bears.

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Torngat Mountains National Park

After an emotional and educational excursion to Hebron, it was back to nature for two days in Torngat Mountains National Park - the only National Park in Labrador. Each year, approximately 500 visitors come by boat, charter plane or helicopter, to visit this remarkable "place of spirits". In addition to Zodiac excursions in Saglek and Nachvak fjords, we had the opportunity to take a short, guided hike at the head of the north arm of Saglek fjord. The people, scenery, geology and wildlife were some of the highlights of the cruise.