A coral formation off the Whitsunday Islands in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, beloved Heart Reef protruded naturally from the water’s surface in the shape of a heart. The small atoll can only be appreciated from the air—snorkeling, diving, and landing of any sort are verboten—making it a popular destination for scenic helicopter flights, especially those involving marriage proposals. Unfortunately, Australia has plans to expand its coal industry on the mainland near the Whitsundays, and dredge spoil may threaten life around Heart Reef and the greater Great Barrier ecosystem in future years.
Slot canyons are rife with shapes and colors, their stripes and spirals often creating optical illusions. X Canyon, located on Navajo land roughly 30 minutes from Page, Arizona, is an uncrowded alternative to Antelope Canyon. Overland Canyon Tours is the only outfitter permitted to enter the slot canyons, some of which have 150-foot walls that close to a mere three feet. Look up and you’ll likely see all kinds of images, especially black hearts emerging from red-orange flames.
Sitting about 7,000 feet up the Calanca Mountain Trail between the Calanca and Mesolcina Valleys in the Swiss Alps, hikers reach Lac Calvaresc (“lake of heart”), a green pool of water that offers a refreshing dip in summer. The marmots enjoy it too. Most people visit Heart Lake on a three-day hiking trek from San Bernadino, staying in mountain huts along the way.
Photography by Eric Chanand Carrie Kellenberger via Flickr. All other photographs via Shutterstock.