Twenty of the world's top athletes and explorers share their wildest dream trips—a dazzling list of never attempted feats daunting to even these world-class competitors. For the rest of us, consider their must-do adventures—and start planning. —Kate Siber

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Photo: Will Steger climbs a glacier in Ellesmere Island in 2008
Will Steger climbs a glacier in Ellesmere Island in 2008.

Photograph by Ben Horton, Will Steger Foundation

Will Steger

Polar Explorer

“The Inuit or Eskimo people call this area the land of hardship and starvation,” says Will Steger of Canada’s Arctic—in other words, an obvious vacation destination for the famed polar explorer. “For adventure’s sake, I’m stringing together an extremely challenging route, up valleys and rivers and crossing mountains, the whole thing,” says Steger of a 2,000-mile dream expedition that he will undertake during the winter of 2013—14. “A lot of the areas I’ve always wanted to go to and others I want to revisit, particularly some of the native cultures along the way.”

Starting on the Arctic Ocean at the MacKenzie Delta in the Northwest Territories—one of the coldest places in the Northern Hemisphere in winter—Steger will cross thick forests, huge lakes, headwaters of grand rivers most of us have never heard of, open plains, and frozen mountain ranges all the way to South Indian Lake in northern Manitoba. He’ll travel territory he’s never seen but also stop in villages where he’s known three generations of Inuit.

The ever present dangers of bitter cold, storms, and the unknown that would deter less trained individuals don’t phase Steger. In fact, that’s a large part of the appeal. “Go to any wild place, for as long as you can, even if it’s a week or two, and you’ll get a new perspective on your life,” he says.

Next: See Will Steger's Must-Do Trip: Dogsled the Boundary Waters, Minnesota

See the Ultimate Adventure Bucket List 2011

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Explorer Bio

Photo: Portrait of Will Steger
Will Steger

Polar Explorer

Over more than 45 years, Will Steger has traveled tens of thousands of miles by kayak and dogsled. He led the first unsupported dogsled trip to the North Pole in 1986, completed the longest unsupported dogsled expedition ever with a 1,600-mile trip across Greenland in 1988, and completed the first dogsled traverse of Antarctica in 1990. He established the Will Steger Foundation, which educates and inspires people to engage in climate change solutions.