The Trip-Finder

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Adventure Found, January 1998

The Trip-Finder

The dilemma: 50 memorable destinations and only one life. Better get going.


Botswana: Exploring the Okavango Delta on elephantback
For six days, sojourn at Abu's Camp, an exclusive tented safari base. From there you'll make daily game-viewing forays via foot, canoe, Land Rover, and pachyderms Abu, Bennie, Kathy, Bibi, Nyaka Nyaka, and Mthondo Mbomvo.

Cameroon: Mountain-biking the Western Highlands
Self-supported mountain-biking across the shoulders of 13,541-foot Mount Cameroon and the Bamileke Highlands. Trip lasts 15 days.

Ethiopia: Kayaking the Blue Nile Gorges
A hair-raising, self-supported, seven-day descent through a 7,000-foot-deep canyon sprinkled with Class IV and V rapids. Also included are visits to ancient holy sites on the islands of Lake Tana.

Mali: Journey to Timbuktu or Saharan salt mines
A 17-day expedition to a remote Saharan outpost, with stops at far-flung Dogon villages and an optional trip extension to Araouane. Or a two-week expedition to the legendary forbidden salt mines at Taoudeni.

Mauritania: Cruising the Sahara
A dusty, 17-day, 1,000-mile overland circuit by Land Cruiser, with visits to the vast dunes of El Khatt, the Bedouin citadel of Rachid, the oasis town of N'beika, and stops at numerous Bedouin encampments along the way.

Morocco: Trekking the High Atlas
Two to three weeks of hiking through North Africa's highest mountain range, with ascents of 13,665-foot Mount Toubkal and/or 13,356-foot Mount M'Goun, along with visits to Marrakech and Fez.

Namibia: Crossing the desert on horseback
Thirteen days and 217 miles of cantering among zebras, springboks, and ostriches, through starkly beautiful Naukluft Park and on to the sea.

Tanzania: Tracking wildlife in Mahale and Katavi mountain parks
Two weeks of trekking through completely undeveloped parks, where you'll track the world's largest group of chimpanzees in Mahale and see herds of buffalo, elephants, and lions in Katavi.

Zambia: Going on safari in Kafue National Park
A classic African safari: five days of traveling by foot or four-wheel drive through one of Africa's largest and least populated national parks, observing hippos, lions, and yellow-backed duikers.

Zimbabwe: Tracking rhinos in Hwange National Park
Play Ph.D. candidate for nine days as you camp in the bush and help biologists track, count, and study the endangered black rhinoceros, a 3,000-pound beast that is notoriously bad-tempered and aggressive.


Australia: Studying Koalas on Kangaroo Island
Track and observe koalas as they chew their way through the "Galapagos of Australia," a wildlife haven ten miles south of Adelaide in the Southern Ocean. You'll work for 11 days alongside an Aussie naturalist.

Bhutan: Trekking to the World's Highest Unclimbed Peak
A 13-day trek recently opened to Westerners. You begin near Bumthang and head north along the Dhur Chu river, over 15,500-foot Togli La pass, and down the Chamkhar Chu valley to a camp below 24,742-foot Gangkar Puensum.

Burma: Sailing the Mergui Archipelago
Five days of cruising a vast uninhabited island rainforest aboard a 55-foot sailing trimaran equipped with sea kayaks and scuba equipment. Includes daily shore excursions to white-sand beaches.

China: Climbing Muztagata
A difficult 18-day climb by crampon, ski, and snowshoe of the 24,758-foot "Father of All Ice Mountains," with a three-day drive along the historic Karakoram Highway and a visit to the ancient market town of Kashgar.

Hawaii: Mountain-Biking Molokai
Spend seven days at a 100-year-old, 54,000-acre cattle ranch laced with dirt roads and singletrack trails on Hawaii's least-populated major island. You'll then make day rides from three remote but well-equipped camps.

Japan: Hiking Inn-to-Inn in the Northern Alps
A ten-day trek among craggy peaks, larch forests, red oaks, and yellow aspens in Chubu Sangaku National Park, ending with a pilgrimage to the top of 12,388-foot Mount Fuji, Japan's most sacred mountain.

Micronesia: Cruising Palau and Yap
Exploring by yacht two rarely visited islands, where you'll snorkel some of the world's most spectacular underwater scenery, as well as sea kayak, hike, beachcomb, and swim. The trip lasts 16-17 days.

Mongolia: Horseback Riding and Kayaking in the Land of Genghis Kahn
Circumnavigate remote Lake Høvsgøl on horseback and by sea kayak. During the 120-mile, 12- to 16-day trip, you'll visit local herding families, hike, and have the chance to catch your own salmon dinner each night.

Nepal: Rafting and Kayaking the Tamur Kosi
A 75-mile whitewater descent of a newly opened river festooned with Class III and IV rapids, with five of the world's ten highest peaks as a backdrop. The trip lasts 13 days.

Papau New Guinea: Touring the Southern Highlands
Fourteen to 21 days canoeing and riverboating along the Sepik River and trekking in the southern highlands, home to the Huli Wigmen and other native tribes.


Argentina: Surveying Wildlife Along the Patagonian Coast
A 14-day, 50-mile marine safari in expedition Kleppers, during which you'll assist a biologist with a wildlife survey and paddle alongside southern right whales, sea lions, and dolphins.

Brazil: Climbing Pico da Neblina
Two weeks and 120 miles of backpacking through the Amazon rainforest, starting at the remote village of Séo Gabriel. The trip culminates in a steep but nontechnical climb of Pico da Neblina, Brazil's highest mountain.

Chile: Cruising or Paddling the Fjords of Pumalin Park
A five- to 12-day expedition by kayak or sailboat along the remote coastline of a new 800,000-acre park created by American clothing mogul Doug Tompkins, with hikes to old-growth forests and hot springs.

Chile: Hiking the Lake District and Easter Island
A 17-day tour that starts with five days of hikes and excursions in the Lake District, followed by a week on remote Easter Island during the annual Tapati Rapa Nui folklore festival, with numerous visits to archaeological and cultural sites.

Ecuador: Kayaking the Quijos
Seven to nine days of Class III, IV, and IV+ whitewater on a virtually unpaddled river and two of its tributaries.

Honduras: Touring the Jungle, Mountain, and Sea
A dizzying 15-day adventure that includes wildlife viewing by dugout canoe, visits to the Misquito and Pech tribes, jungle hikes through cloud forests, and rafting the Cangrejal River.

Peru: Trekking Colca Canyon
A donkey-supported trip from Huambo into a vast, arid, 10,600-foot-deep canyon, with stops at remote Indian villages and waterfalls, plus a drive over the 14,000-foot Altiplano. The trip takes 11 days.

South Georgia Island: Overland Arctic Trek
A 21-day journey by Russian polar research ship to a subantarctic island. From there you'll make a challenging six-day overland trek along the last leg of Ernest Shackleton's escape route from the Antarctic ice in 1916.

Uruguay: Horseback Riding in Gaucho Country
Stay for a week at Estancia La Calera, a 22,000-acre fifth-generation family ranch on the pampa northwest of Montevideo. A three-night camping excursion by horseback to neighboring ranches is included.

Venezuela: Touring Amazonas by Bush Plane
Fly with legendary bush pilot Boris Kaminski to visit a ranch in the wildlife-rich Llanos grasslands and the remote villages of the Yekuana, Makiritare, and Hodi Indians.


Croatia: Cruising the Dalmatian Coast
Yachting for 12 days in a 95-foot motor-powered sailboat from Split to Dubrovnik via the islands of Brac, Hvar, Korcula, and Vis, with island hikes and visits to medieval villages and remote Adriatic beaches.

France: Hiking la Grande Traversïe des Alpes
Thirty-three days and 240 miles of trekking from Chamonix to Nice through the mountain terrain along GR 5, one of Europe's premier long-distance trails. Stay along the way in hiker's huts and village g²tes.

Iran: Climbing Mount Damavand
A 17-day journey in the land of ayatollahs, including an ascent with ice ax and crampon of 18,934-foot Damavand, Iran's highest mountain, as well as excursions to Isfahan, Persepolis, and numerous ancient Persian and Greek ruins.

Ireland: Walking the West Country
Rambling for seven to ten days along the windswept coasts and green meadows of Dingle Bay, Connemara, and the Aran Islands, followed by nightly pub-crawling and stays in centuries-old country inns.

Israel: Cycling from Jerusalem to the Red Sea
Seven to 17 days of a history-steeped ride through forest, valley, and desert. Includes visits to Masada, the Dead Sea, and Eilat, plus an overnight stay at a kibbutz and an optional camel excursion into the Uvda Wilderness or Elat.

Italy: Hiking the Dolomites
Trekking through the green meadows and soaring spires of white rock that line one of Europe's best trail systems. Overnights during the five- to 11-day trips are in village inns and remote but cozy rifugios.

The Netherlands: Skating the Zuider Zee
Zephyr's seven-day in-line skate tour rolls along the smooth, flat bike paths of the northern province of Friesland, with stops at museums, historic sites, and seaside villages.

Norway: Dogsledding in Lapland
An eight-day mush led by renowned dogsled racer Sven Engholm from the high Arctic village of Karasjok out across the Finnmark Plateau and back through low birch trees and tundra. Nights are spent in mountain lodges.

Portugal: Cycling the Azores
A hilly, weeklong, 204-mile ride on Séo Miguel Island along hydrangea-lined roads. The route winds past fishing villages and vineyards and around crater lakes and hot springs.

Yemen: Touring the Frankincense Route
A 17-day, 1,000-mile Land Cruiser tour that includes visits to the city of Sana'a, the palace at Wadi Dahr, and the ancient ruins of Shabwa, plus an 11-hour, 265-mile excursion across the Ramlat as-Sabatayn Desert.


Alaska: Sea-Kayaking College Fjord
Four days of exploring a virtually unknown backwater of Prince William Sound, where you'll paddle among sea otters, icebergs, and hanging glaciers, and set up base camp on a spectacular ledge overlooking the sea.

The Arctic: Cruising Ellesmere and Greenland
The 434-foot Russian icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov takes an 11-day voyage out of Resolute with landings by Zodiac or helicopter. You'll see polar bears, musk oxen, glacier-topped sea cliffs, Inuit villages, and prehistoric archaeological sites.

California: Backpacking the John Muir Trail
Hiking through the heart of the Sierra, you'll negotiate passes above 10,000 feet and finish the 23-day, 212-mile hike with a climb of 14,495-foot Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the Lower 48.

Colorado: Inn-to-Inn Paddle-rafting on the Arkansas
A relatively posh but damp four-day inn-to-inn rafting trip from Buena Vista through the Class III and IV rapids of Browns and Bighorn Sheep Canyons.

Cuba: Mountain-Biking Off-limits Territory
Touring 320 miles on rudimentary roads. For two weeks you'll pedal from inn to inn through the small towns and countryside of this lush Caribbean island.

Mexico: Visiting Baja's Cave Paintings by Muleback
The most spectacular rock art in the Western Hemisphere lies in the remote Sierra San Francisco. This 11-day expedition takes you to numerous rock art caves, prehistoric camp- sites, and 200-year-old ranches.

Nova Scotia: Biking the Cabot Trail
Pedaling for five days on the 184-mile paved loop around Cape Breton Island. You'll pass Acadian fishing villages and vast stands of coniferous forest, with side excursions into Cape Breton National Park.

Quebec: Hut-to-Hut Skiing in the Charlevoix Mountains
Start north of Baie-St.-Paul and ski 62 miles in seven days through hilly fir and birch forest. Along the way, cross the River of Flies and the River of Whirlpools. Overnight in cozy wood-heated cabins.

United States: Mountain-Biking the Continental Divide
An epic 75-day, 2,500-mile self-supported border-to-border dirt ride from Canada to New Mexico, with 27 crossings of the Continental Divide and thousands of vertical feet of quad-killing climbs.

Washington: Climbing Mount Rainier
Climb with rope, ice ax, and crampons to the 14,410-foot summit of the highest glaciated peak in the Lower 48, via either the Muir or Emmons Glacier route.

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