Adventure-of-a-lifetime trips

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of May 16-22, 1996
Adventure-of-a-lifetime trips
Rapid transit on the Kern River
Trekking in India
Dinosaur National Monument
Puerto Rico's El Yunque rainforest
Red Rock west--of Vegas, that is

Adventure-of-a-lifetime trips
Question: I've been working like a dog for too long and need a good getaway--June would be best. I'd prefer hiking/trekking somewhere warm, and would like to go with a group. Something physically challenging (i.e., no porters) would be best. Medium cost (U.S. $1,000-$1,500) would be about right, excluding airfare (which is no object, as I'm airline crew). Any ideas?

Rob Hyndman
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
[email protected]

On every trekker's top ten list: Peru's Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Adventure Adviser: Excuse me while I drool in envy. I could spend all day going through travel catalogs and picking out dreamy trips in every exotic locale imaginable--especially knowing I wouldn't have to shell out cash for airfare. But, sadly, mundane reality beckons, so I'll keep things under control--lest I'm tempted to quit my job and run off to Peru--by recommending a few noteworthies and letting you take it from there.

Money-wise, most of the outfitters out there charge upwards of $2,000 in land cost alone, but if you're serious about staying within your price range, it is possible to scare up a good deal or two--although it may mean limiting yourself to Europe or the good ol' U.S. of A. REI Adventures' 13-day Pyrennees trek follows the Haute Route from Lescun, France, to Gavernie, Spain, through remote valleys and up steep cols, all for a budget-friendly $1,695 per person. You'll cover anywhere from six to 12 miles daily, which--at these altitudes--can make for a pretty rigorous trip. But the good news is that vehicle backup means you'll only need to carry a light daypack. Trips run--and here's the slight hitch--in July and August only. Call 800-622-2236 for more details.

Country Walkers offers a moderate 10-day walking tour through Peru's sacred Inca Valley, with a five-day challenging trek along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. You'll hike between five to eight miles a day, carrying only daypack and staying at well-equipped campsites along the way. Trips leave May through September, with one June departure, and will run you $1,850 for the whole shebang (airfare not included). Call 800-464-9255.

For even warmer climes, sign on with Himalayan Travels' 15-day hiking trip on old goat tracks through western Greece's lush Pindos Mountains. You'll traverse sheer Vikos Gorge, high passes, and 8,000-foot peaks, carrying a full pack through the more remote sections--all for the amazingly reasonable price of $1,095. Call 800-225-2380.

If, after all this, you're thinking about splurging, there are plenty more adventure-of-a-lifetime-type trips out there for the grabbing. Call these likely candidates for trip catalogs: Overseas Adventure Travel (800-221-0814), Mountain Travel-Sobek (800-227-2384), and Wilderness Travel (800-368-2794). In all cases, however, be aware that June trips (this is mid-May, after all) may already be fully booked.

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