The Best River Trip in America! Rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon River

View the Itinerary for this Summer’s Rafting Adventure on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River  When I was a river guide on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon I found myself with a couple of weeks off between assignments. I had read Tom Brokaw’s account of his wild trip down the Middle of […]

The Absolute Top Ten Best Things to Do in Seattle (The City of the Century)

Prior to moving to Seattle in 1996, I’d lived in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, and had traveled to many of the major cities of the world. By comparison, Seattle seemed beautiful, but small, provincial, and a little isolated…a pre-teen of a city. Cities From The Air # 13 A […]

When Is a Restaurant More Than Just a Restaurant?

My friends Wassef and Racha Haroun are both from Syria, with roots throughout the Middle East, though they have lived in the US for over two decades. They feel they are “hybrids,” a fairly uncommon group of people who has a deep understanding of and gratitude for both Levantine and Western cultures. Both left the […]

Adventure Matters: Sometimes You Have to Eat It to Save It!

It is fady to kill a lemur. The punishment is ill health, and five years in jail. Madagascar, the planet’s fourth-largest island, floats 250 miles off the east coast of Mozambique in the southwest Indian Ocean. The Afro-Indonesian people govern their lives with a series of social taboos, or fadies. And a long-time fady, rooted […]

The Hardest Place in the World to Visit

The covering has the disconcerting effect of obnubilating as well as illuminating the woman behind it. Local tourists overlooking Al Ragasat Canyon. #SaudiArabia A photo posted by Richard Bangs (@richardjbangs) on Mar 21, 2016 at 12:21pm PDT Shrouded in black niqab and ankle-length abaya, she floats towards me. Behind, her friends are firing salvos of […]

Far and Away, Flat Out, The West’s Best Road Trip!

It feels like we’re driving to the edge of the world where the water falls off. Infinity is just ahead. To the right are mountains that arc up from the basement of time. On the left, a dry lakebed now glassed with salt. This is the driest state in the country, not so surprising, but […]

Brian Monnin & The Galapagos Kids

Some years ago I put together a book, Paths Less Traveled, for which I dispatched well-known authors to adventure destinations and asked them to write of their experience. Tom Robbins reported from Tanzania; Bobbie Ann Mason from New Zealand; Edward Hoagland from Yemen; Roy Blount, Jr. from the Amazon, and on. For the Galapagos I […]

How to Indulge in the Many Personalities of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a portmanteaux of geographic personalities, an overstuffed valise of seductive charismas and tropic endowments. If geography is destiny, then Puerto Rico atones for the ill-tempers of other parts of the world, and instead is blessed with an island-wide jocund, incited, in part, by its natural features…its mountains, forests, beaches, rivers, lakes, cliffs, […]

Las Vegas: The Secrets Behind the Curtains

There is no place on the planet with such a nimiety of magic. Every stage, every song, every bite and brew, every light is so sufficiently perfected as to be indistinguishable from sorcery. So, what goes on behind the curtains here? How do they do it? I decided to find out, and probe under the […]

Here Be Dragons: The “Sacred Terror” of the Alps of Switzerland

“Placed on this planet since yesterday, and only for a day, we can only hope to glimpse the knowledge that we will probably never attain.”  -Horace-Bénédict de Saussure, 1796 Dateline: Mount Pilates, Switzerland I’ve penned a few books that have been placed in the category of “wilderness travel.” But perhaps the first to stock this […]