Life's a Wild Trip

South-coast solitude: Australia's Tasmania     Photo: Corel

7. See the World from Behind Bars
Morocco / High Atlas Traverse

(New Trip) Pedal from the colorful markets of Marrakech to the loftiest peaks in North Africa, the High Atlas Range. This 15-day exploratory ride takes you over a 10,404-foot pass, between 13,000-foot peaks, and through mountains still inhabited by the Berber tribes that have lived here for centuries. OUTFITTER: KE Adventure Travel, 800-497-9675, www.keadventure.com WHEN TO GO: November PRICE: $1,945 DIFFICUTLY: Strenuous

New Zealand / Cycling on the South Island
Nowhere else in the world do velvety roads wind by such idyllic scenery. Sandwiched between ice-capped peaks and jagged coastlines, you'll pump up to six hours a day from the Tasman Sea to Queenstown, through old-growth forests, over a 3,000-foot pass, and past geysers and glaciers. OUTFITTER: Backroads, 800-462-2848, www.backroads.com WHEN TO GO: November-March PRICE: $3,398 DIFFICULTY: Moderate

Canada / Coast Mountain Crossing
COAST MOUNTAIN CROSSING Ten days of wilderness singletrack—need we say more? Starting on smooth mining trails near Tyax Lake, you'll crank up 6,500-foot ascents, into the heart of the Coast Range, before descending to the technical trails of British Columbia's western rainforests. Thirty- to 40-mile days are punctuated by nights spent stargazing from wilderness camps or soaking in hot tubs at historic B&Bs. OUTFITTER: Rocky Mountain Cycle Tours, 800-661-2453, www.rockymountaincycle.com WHEN TO GO: September PRICE: $2,495 DIFFICULTY: Strenuous

TRIP ENHANCER
Garmin eTrex Vista GPS

Soggy maps proving difficult to decipher? Break out the eTrex Vista GPS ($375; 800-800-1020). Better screen resolution (288X160), a more accurate WAAS signal, and downloadable maps from MapSource or Garmin (sold separately) let you use your paper version as emergency Wet-Naps. Just don't forget batteries.

8. Journey to the Ends of the Earth
Mongolia / Riding with the Eagle Hunters
Riding with the Eagle Hunters When Aralbai, your guide, honors you with a sheep's ear hors d'oeuvre, don't gag. You're in Mongolia for 11 days to learn traditions of the Kazakh eagle hunters, named for the hooded golden eagles they carry on their arms. Ride horses with the hunters by day; by night, sleep in a mud-brick cabin, dance to the sounds of the morin khuur (a two-stringed fiddle), and sip vodka, which will make that ear slide down nicely. OUTFITTER: Boojum Expeditions, 800-287-0125, www.boojum.com WHEN TO GO: November-January PRICE: $1,950 DIFFICULTY: Easy

Australia / Tasmania Trek
(New Trip) It's easy to become disoriented in Tasmania's Southwest National Park. The nearest settlement can be a week's walk away, trails often morph into muddy mangrove-covered slopes, and most of your companions are wallabies. So be sure to grab your map before the Cessna abandons your group and its 40-pound backpacks of food and gear near Melaleuca Lagoon. From there it's a ten-day, 55-mile hike along the South Coast Track, where you'll bask on deserted beaches, scramble up 3,000-foot passes, wade across tea-tree-stained lagoons, and weave through towering celery-top pines. OUTFITTER: Wilderness Travel, 800-368-2794, www.wildernesstravel.com WHEN TO GO: February 2003 PRICE: $2,495 DIFFICULTY: Strenuous

Mozambique / First Descent of the Lugenda River
(New Trip) The Yao of northern Mozambique have seldom seen foreigners and have certainly never seen your fancy fiberglass boat. This summer be the first to paddle kayaks down the Lugenda River. For two weeks and 700 miles you'll float the copper flatwater past the Yao's thatch-roofed huts, dense woodlands, iselbergs—gnarled rock spires poking out of the flat land—and around pods of hippos. Camp on islands scattered in the quarter-mile-wide river or along its banks under skies framed by ebony trees near the Niassa Reserve, home to 14,000 elephants. OUTFITTER: Explore, 888-596-6377, www.exploreafrica.net WHEN TO GO: June PRICE: $5,000-$7,000 DIFFICULTY: Strenuous

9. Paddle with the Whales
Argentina / On the Coast of Patagonia

Tourism is strictly regulated on the Argentine waters north of Patagonia's Valdés Peninsula, where nearly a third of the world's southern right whales breed. But you can skirt the rules and sea kayak with the 55-foot-long mammals by helping conduct a wildlife census. As you paddle between beach camps for ten days and a total of 60 miles, you'll watch female whales care for their calves and surface within feet of your kayak, while the males slap their flukes to get their mates' attention. You'll help guides count giant petrels, black-browed albatrosses, and some 40 other bird species. OUTFITTER: Whitney & Smith Legendary Expeditions, 403-678-3052, www.legendaryex.com WHEN TO GO: October, November PRICE: $3,250 DIFFICULTY: Moderate

Mexico / Circumnavigating Isla Carmen
(New Trip) Endangered blue whales more than five times as long as your kayak love to cruise past Isla Carmen in the Gulf of California looking for tasty crustaceans. Get close to the world's largest animals and be among the first to circumnavigate Carmen by sea kayak, paddling between six and eight miles per day for nine days. Along the way you'll also watch fin whales, snorkel with angelfish in 72-degree water, and search for rare blue-footed boobies. Spend nights camping in sheltered coves where volcanic rock juts into the sea. OUTFITTER: Sea Kayak Adventures, 800-616-1943, www.seakayakadventures.com WHEN TO GO: April PRICE: $1,350 DIFFICULTY: Moderate

Norway / Paddling the Svalbard Archipelago
In July and August, go where the whales go: the Svalbard Archipelago, 600 miles northwest of mainland Norway. Here you'll find 90- to 190-ton blues, 40-foot-long humpbacks, square-headed sperm whales, hundreds of walruses, auks, and kittiwakes—and 24-hour daylight to take it all in. Paddle a sea kayak ten miles a day for eight days through frigid 32-degree water along Svalbard's western coastline, returning each night to cozy cabins (polar bears make camping inadvisable) and spicy bacalau stew aboard a former Norwegian trawler. OUTFITTER: Tofino Expeditions, 800-677-0877, www.tofino.com WHEN TO GO: July, August PRICE: $8,000 (includes airfare from Tromsø, Norway) DIFFICULTY: Moderate

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