The Grand Canyon. The Rocky Mountains. The Great Lakes. Many of the names of our American natural wonders are ... a little on the nose.

To be fair, back in the day when people were exploring 3.8 million square miles of largely uncharted territory, literally circling the wagons to brainstorm the name of a random mountain or lake probably got old fast. “Well, they’re pretty rocky, ain’t they? Rocky Mountains — boom. Done.”

But in this vast, amazingly diverse land we call the United States, there are still lots of pretty damn strange names of natural features that might make you say, “Hm, maybe I should go to that pretty place with the funny name.”

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Each June, the Inupiat community of Barrow, Alaska, kicks off the summer with a harvest festival called Nalukataq.

This annual ceremonial feast is as full of fun as it is reverence. There's singing and dancing and blanket-tossing and plenty of muktuk (fried whale blubber) and other traditional foods, sandwiched between solemn moments of prayer and reflection. People of every age and gender participate, celebrating their culture and showing their appreciation for the hard work that got them through another frigid winter.

But mostly, the festival is about their beloved bowhead whales.

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The North Pole was once one of the most inaccessible places on Earth.

Robert Peary's 1908 expedition to the Arctic. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

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13 incredible photos of one of America's most remote national parks.

Kobuk Valley National Park is seriously beautiful.

Welcome to Kobuk Valley National Park, one of the most remote national parks in America.

Located just north of the Arctic Circle in western Alaska, Kobuk Valley includes mountain ranges, rivers, and sand dunes ... all in a landscape that looks like nothing else you’ve seen on this planet.


Here are 13 amazing photos that prove it.

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