After spending nearly a decade as a reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper, Robert Annis broke free of the shackles of gainful employment to become an award-winning outdoor travel journalist.
In the Company of Wolves
THE WOLF TRACKS — large, wide paws about the size of an NBA player’s fist, claws digging into the frozen ground — are fresh, likely made just minutes earlier. Kneeling down to get a better look, our guides estimate a dozen wolves could be traversing this lonely stretch of wilderness just west of Canada’s frozen Hudson Bay. The chase is on.
A few yards away, I scan the horizon over the pine and barren willow trees for the wolf pack I traveled nearly 2,000 miles to see. I’d bee...
At the western edges of North and South Dakota, large swaths of grassland prairie collide abruptly with multicolored rock formations of limestone, shale, volcanic ash, and sandstone. When seismic upheaval created the Rocky Mountains 65 million years ago, these Dakota badlands formed almost as an afterthought, as sand, silt, and mud flowed down ancient rivers to be deposited here, hundreds of miles away.
I hoisted myself over the rocks and dusty buttes of the Caprock Coulee Trail ....
The Largest Island on the Largest Lake on the Largest Island on the Largest Lake in the World
Is this the most ridiculous adventure ever?
It started as an innocent, non-threatening lark. I would hike and paddle my way to the largest island on the largest lake on the largest island on the largest lake in the world, which also happens to be in the middle of the least visited national park in the lower 48 states. A virtual Russian nesting doll of idiocy, adventure, or maybe both.
Although I consider myself more of an Average Joe adventurer these days, I’m no stranger to difficult outdoor...
Get Up Close and Personal with Alaska’s Bears
The gigantic bear ambles closer and closer. Weighing between 800 and 1,000 pounds, its the largest predator I’ve ever come across—and I’ve certainly never been this close. Now, just yards away from me and the eight other bear-watchers in my tour group, just off the eastern coast of Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve, it looks up across the flat, tiny patch of meadow between us and meets my gaze. I’ve wanted to see a bear in the wild for years, but in these first few seconds, I’m secon...
This Remote Patagonian Oasis Is the Perfect Outdoor Lodge
Patagonia is a bucket-list list destination for many fly fishers, including me. But when I got an invite to Melimoyu Lodge, an ultra-high-end lodge in Chile, I almost turned it down. I only picked up a fly rod in earnest last spring, and I continue to struggle with my casting. At this point, me traveling to Patagonia to fly fish was like a beer-league softball player suddenly being inserted into game seven of the World Series. But my desire to throw myself into the middle of this vast gorgeous wilderness once again won out.
A rock star’s legacy lives on in Joshua Tree 50 years after his shocking funeral pyre
Hiking a social trail behind Joshua Tree National Park’s famed Cap Rock, I came across a peculiar sight that, if you know what you’re looking for, actually isn’t so unusual at all: a crude cross made of dark stones below a scribble of orange graffiti.
It was a makeshift memorial to Gram Parsons, the 1970s rock star who had a deep connection to the park in life — and in death. So much so that fans, nicknamed “Grampires” by some park staff, still haunt this dusty patch of Mojave Desert decades ...
National parks overcrowded? Visit a national forest.
Wilderness areas outside of Yellowstone, Bryce Canyon, and Shenandoah can offer more remote, intimate, and immersive experiences than the busy parks.
Campers are Great, But (Gasp!) You Really Should Rent an RV | Outside Online
“That sign warned trucks about going up this road—tight switchbacks and no shoulder,” I said. “Should we find another route?”
“I think we’ll be alright,” Sally said.
A Race to the Top
It’s another warm early December day in the Cuban countryside, perfect for a bike ride. I launch myself up a hill, legs spinning fast in a big gear. As the grade increases, I rise from the saddle and stomp on the pedals. The top of the hill is only 20 bike lengths away, and I feel a moment of triumph that none of the other riders have passed me.
That is until I notice a Cuban rider named Jorge on my left pedaling j...
Bourbon and bikes: Discovering Kentucky's distilleries on a cycling adventure
As we pedaled our bikes over the rolling hills of Kentucky, I could practically taste the bourbon.
There’d be a glass waiting for us at the end of the ride, of course — two fingers of whiskey, with a single ice cube. But being surrounded by the raw ingredients had the flavor tickling my tongue. Fields of corn beginning to brown in the August sun. Clear water trickling down limestone cliffs into a massive underground aquifer. The scent emanating from the distilleries themselves, that sweet cor...
The Ultimate Guide to All 8 Midwest National Parks
South Dakota packs adventure into a western pocket of the state, home to two national parks: Badlands and Wind Cave. Explore wondrous geological formations both above and below ground in these natural playgrounds.
SEE THE COMPLETE TRIP GUIDE
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
All aboard to Cuyahoga Valley National Park! Sandwiched between two prominent metropolitan areas, this northern Ohio park charms with its easy access, scenic train ride and prolific waterfalls.
Exploring the Alaskan Wilderness from the Deck of a Luxurious…Tugboat?
We stood on the bow of the ship, scanning the cloudy horizon for a speck of black. Suddenly, a shout of “whale!” pierced the silence. A spout of water shot into the sky, signifying a humpback purging the salty Pacific seawater from its blowhole. Captain Matt Whelan steered the boat toward the massive mammals as we prepared our cameras. For the next hour, we clicked away as humpback after humpback leapt upward in the air, like an aquatic, 35-ton Le...
How to photograph Yosemite like Ansel Adams
I’m a good photographer, but obviously no Ansel Adams. Adams had a unique style – a way of photographing landscapes playing with light and shadow, creating iconic images both stark and beautiful – and on a recent trip to Yosemite National Park, I learned how to capture some of that magic myself.
Although Adams traveled the world, the place he’s most closely identified with is Yosemite – California’s most awe-inspiring location, made even more so by his photographs. T...
Burying My Father During Quarantine
Just a few days before we all were ordered to stay home, my dad died. Congenital heart failure was listed as the cause of death, not COVID-19, but the coronavirus would still impact us in a multitude of ways in the following weeks.
Before he passed, as the country started seeing more coronavirus cases in mid-March, I had urged Dad to stay inside until all the craziness could blow over. He thought I...
Biking the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500’s Legendary Racetrack
It’s nearly 7 a.m. when I roll up to the starting line of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Next Sunday, the venue will fill up with some 300,000 cheering fans for the Indy 500, the most popular auto racing event in the world. But today the stands are empty, and the only spectators are a few pit-crew members and track staff preparing for an action-packed day of practice. Even so, my neck hairs stand at attention. I may be in the saddle of a Giant TCR Advanced road bike, not an IndyCar cockpit,...