Intrepid explorer Rob Mark became the first person to ever explore the massive beaver dam located in Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta, Canada.
Many people think that our world has already mostly been explored. However, that simply is not true. There are still many instances of extremely remote areas that no human has probably ever set foot in. That includes the North American continent. Just ask Rob Mark.
Mark, 44, recently became the first person to explore the world’s largest beaver dam after trekking through 124 miles of dense, stagnant swampland. He is a member of the Explorer’s Club located in New York City.
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After four years of planning, one failed trip due to bad weather, and nine days of hiking through extremely inhospitable terrain, Mark finally reached his destination. It took him close to five hours to complete the last mile of the trek as he battled his way through an unforgiving bog that continually threatened to grab him and not let go.
“I had a great sense of accomplishment,” Mark told the Edmonton Journal. “When it comes to being the first to go somewhere, besides the Poles and some mountain ranges, there is not much left you can do.”
The dam in question was first spotted in 2007 by a researcher studying the area on Google Earth and measures an incredible 2,790 feet wide. That is over a half mile wide! The next largest dam in the world, located in Montana, measures in at 2,139 feet wide.
Prior to Mark’s expedition to the dam, it had only been seen by satellite, airplane, and by native trappers from a distance.
“No one goes in there,” Mark told GrindTV. “There’s no reason to. The trappers don’t go in there—no one does. They’ll go a couple miles to the right of it or a couple miles to the left of it, but that middle portion is just a nightmare.”
In addition to the terrain, Mark also had to battle weather and bugs on his expedition. A thunderstorm set in during the last leg of the trek and the bugs were worse than Mark encountered during a month spent living in the Amazon rainforest. He had no choice but to wear his rain jacket the entire time as the mosquitoes were biting him through his clothes. He compared their sound to that of a helicopter.
“I spent a month in the jungle in the Amazon once, and the mosquitoes are worse getting to the dam,” he said. “I have never encountered bugs that bad.”
Mark spent a day at the dam once he reached it before making his return trip in a speedy three days. The dam was the first solid ground that Mark encountered on his trip. A lone beaver greeted the explorer upon his arrival before disappearing from view after slapping the water with its tail several times.
“It’s undoubtedly a first,” Wood Buffalo National Park spokesman Tim Gauthier told the Edmonton Journal. “That’s one heck of an odyssey through incredibly inhospitable territory.”
Despite his achievement, there wasn’t much for Mark to take a picture of at the dam site.
“When I got there I expected to see a big beautiful dam,” Mark said according to GrindTV. “It’s huge, but it’s not tall and there’s nothing to take a picture of. It’s completely covered with dirt and it’s completely overgrown. So there was no nice beaver dam face to take a picture of or anything like that.”
Despite the area not being the most photogenic, Mark still took some incredible photos and will also be the first human to set foot on the world’s largest beaver dam and that is pretty darn cool if you ask us.
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All images via GrindTV.