The Trip-Finder, January 1999
Trekking the Futaleufu
Earth River Expeditions
800-643-2784, www.earthriver
Wilderness Travel
800-368-2794, www.wtexpeditions

The Route: Eight days and 50 miles of hiking through Patagonia's green-and-granite answer to Yosemite. You'll trek beside, rather than hurtle down, the mythic Futaleufu River's Class V whitewater, ply outrigger canoes across two alpine lakes, and bed down in gazebos with hot tubs.

When to go: November through April

Difficulty: Moderate

Travel advisory: If you prefer walking to paddling, hike around Lago Espolon instead; you'll catch great views of the lake and the calciated peaks in the distance.

High/low points:

  • Sleeping in a 500-square-foot mountainside cave just above Zeta, a deadly, Z-shaped Class VI rapid.
  • Dangling from a thin steel cable as you pull yourself across the raging Futaleufu to get to the cave.

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