The primo treks on this planet

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of March 6-13, 1996
Tips on Great Smoky Mountains park
Back to windsurfing school
The primo treks on this planet
Springtime getaway in Moab
The lodge life in northern Canada
Bike touring in Iceland

The primo treks on this planet
Q: I'm looking for a trip (fairly strenuous) with people around my age, out of the country (South America, Ecuador ...) in June or July. I'm female and going by myself, and I'm a little confused about all the adventure travel groups out there. Any recommendations? I'm pretty fit, and I know where to go around the globe is kind of limited at that time of year. My only concern is that it not be 100 percent winter conditions (I've had enough of that here), but I am interested in trekking. I'm confused and need to begin organizing.

Robin Julian
Chicago, IL
[email protected]

Too popular? The ancient village
of Machu Picchu

A: I've done some digging and have come up with a few choice trips and well-regarded outfitters worthy of a closer look.

In South America, consider a one- to two-week trek among hanging glaciers, fluted ice faces, cornices, and multicolored lakes in Peru's Cordillera Blanca, the world's highest tropical range. You'll cross three high passes above 15,000 feet--skip this one if you've had problems with altitude sickness--and get a close-up look at Quechua Indian village culture. For a dose of warmer climes--and, unfortunately, a glimpse of one too many tour buses--sign on for a trip extension to the ancient village of Machu Picchu. Look to outfitters like Wilderness Travel (800-368-2794), Southwind Adventures (800-377-9463), and Journeys International (800-255-8735) for group departures from April through October.

To avoid snowcapped peaks and ice axes altogether, try a five- to 16-day rural trek through the terraced hillsides, rice paddies, and orchid fields of northwestern Vietnam. Asian Pacific Adventures (800-825-1680), Himalayan Travel (800-225-2380), and Bolder Adventures (800-642-2742) run year-round trips.

Or consider heading even farther afield to Zambia for a moderate 12- to 18-day trekking safari between remote bush camps in South Luangwa and other parks. While frequent elephant, leopard, giraffe, and hippo sightings are almost guaranteed, bear in mind that it's not a bright idea to leave your tent after everyone's gone to sleep. Inquisitive lions and hyenas have been known to prowl these quiet camps at night. Trips generally run from June through October. Call Mountain Travel-Sobek (800-227-2384), Africa Adventure Company (800-882-9453), or Borton Overseas (800-843-0602) for details.

If these trips don't tempt you, consult the Outside Trip-Finder in our February 1996 issue--it's chock-a-block with classic adventures in nearly every corner of the globe, as well as more than 100 leading outfitters.

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