North America

The Trip Finder, January 1997


North America
By Kathy Martin O'Neil


Alaska | Alberta | British Columbia | Colorado | Labrador | Classic Maine | New Mexico | New Nevada | Classic Oregon | Wyoming/Montana

Alaska
Paddling the Noatak River
The Route
An eight- to ten-day float via raft, kayak, or canoe down the Class I and II upper Noatak through Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, where you should be able to observe caribou, wolves, grizzlies, Dall sheep, and peregrine falcons
When To Go
Jun - Aug
Difficulty
Easy to moderate
Travel Advisory
The Noatak has few rapids--perfect for keeping camera and binoculars handy to watch the late-summer migration of 400,000 caribou across the Noatak basin to their wintering grounds on the south side of the Brooks Range.
High/Low Points
Watching a wolf or grizzly chasing a caribou on shore
Listening to the intermittent drone of bush planes shatter the silence

Outfitters Departures Price
Alaska Discovery
Alaska Wilderness Journeys
Arctic Treks
Nichols Expeditions
Sourdough Outfitters
Wilderness Alaska/Mexico
3
2
1
1
6
1
$2,650
$2,885
$2,350
$2,300
$2,000
$2,150


Alberta
Exploring the Canadian Rockies
The Route
A six-day multisport trip around four magnificent national parks in the Canadian Rockies by mountain bike, road bike, raft, and foot, among snowcapped peaks, tarns, glaciers, and ice fields
When To Go
Jul - Aug
Difficulty
Moderate
Travel Advisory
Guided mountain biking is not allowed inside the national parks (Banff, Kootenay, Yoho, and Jasper), but there's an abundance of trails for all abilities just outside them in Kananaskis Country, an equally scenic wilderness area.
High/Low Points
Taking a spin in the 11 p.m. dusk--now that the day-tourist crowds have retired to their RVs
Discovering that the mosquitoes are as bad as you've heard (bring deet-based repellent and slather it on)

Outfitters Departures Price
Backroads
Roads Less Traveled
5
4
$1,598
$1,345


British Columbia
Climbing Mount Waddington
The Route
A 12-day expedition to the highest peak in British Columbia, the crown of the Coast Range, for a difficult and technical ascent to the spirelike 13,260-foot summit. Climbers are flown by helicopter to base camp on Tiedemann Glacier.
When To Go
Jul - Aug
Difficulty
Strenuous
Travel Advisory
This trip is for alpinists in peak condition: You'll climb with full packs on ice as steep as 60 degrees and make a summit attempt that includes two 5.6-rated rock pitches and a two-pitch section of exposed 40-degree ice.
High/Low Points
Standing atop Waddington's summit, one of the most remote in North America, to take in a sweep of glaciers and granite towers
Spending eight days climbing a mountain that's lower than more than 50 of Colorado's peaks

Outfitters Departures Price
American Alpine Institute
3
$2,710


Colorado
Fly-Fishing and Floating the Gunnison Gorge
The Route
A three-day trip down a narrow river canyon flanked by 2,000-foot-high granite walls to cast for trophy browns and rainbows. The bottom of the canyon is so rugged that you have to float the river in a raft to get to the fishing spots.
When To Go
May - Oct
Difficulty
Moderate
Travel Advisory
You'll need a Colorado fishing license ($5.25 for a one-day nonresident's license, $18.25 for five days). The limit is one brown trout over 16 inches and three under 12 inches, rainbows are catch-and-release only--using barbless hooks.
High/Low Points
Casting for native fish on one of the most legendary stretches of trout river in the West
Being outsmarted by those same wily native fish

Outfitters Departures Price
Blazing Adventures
Dvorak's Kayak and Raft Expeditions
Gunnison River Expeditions
Telluride Outside
Wilderness Aware Rafting
24 permit dates
30 permit dates
90 permit dates
75 permit dates
30 permit dates
$740 per person
$615 per person
$1,500 per boat
$1,685 per boat
$750 per person


Labrador
Canoeing Whitewater Rivers and Nameless Lakes
The Route
A brisk ten-day paddle through Labrador's wilderness of black spruce and windswept barrens to explore lakes and channels and to float the Udgjuktok River east to the icebergs of the Labrador Sea
When To Go
Jul - Aug
Difficulty
Moderate
Travel Advisory
Previous whitewater canoeing experience is essential: This can be a challenging paddle through Class III rapids. It may require lining and tracking upstream and portages of 50 to 1,500 yards.
High/Low Points
Successfully maneuvering your canoe through Fire Rapid, a mile-long Class III gutbuster
Choosing between a $500 round- trip flight from Halifax or a 24-hour drive from Quebec City to the Goose Bay meeting point

Outfitters Departures Price
Battenkill Canoe
2
$1,595


Classic Maine
Cycling the Penobscot Peninsula
The Route
A five-day ride up and down rolling back roads, through fishing villages, around the island of Isleboro, and along the rocky coastline, with van support, stays at country inns, and time for sea kayaking and day hiking
When To Go
Jun - Oct
Difficulty
Easy to moderate
Travel Advisory
Raingear is a must in coastal Maine, as are warm layers for the chilly sea breezes and cool nights throughout the summer.
High/Low Points
Sharing an Atlantic lobster feast with your biking buddies after a day's ride past Penobscot Bay's famous lobster fleet
Suiting up for a full day of biking in cold drizzle and pea-soup fog

Outfitters Departures Price
Backroads
Bike Riders
Vermont Bicycle Touring
6
5
12
$1,398
$880
$995


New Mexico
Mountain Biking the Pacific Coast
The Route
An eight-day fat-tire exploration of southwestern coastal Mexico, with rides along secondary shoreline roads, cattle and goat tracks, and clifftop trails to empty beaches and fishing villages. Side trips are possible for snorkeling and hiking.
When To Go
Oct - May
Difficulty
Easy to moderate
Travel Advisory
Bring your own bike and brush up on your high-school Spanish. Though mega-development is creeping its way down the coast, these towns south of Puerto Vallarta and Mazatl¤n are not yet heavily touristed.
High/Low Points
Biking down a dirt road through a coconut plantation to Tenacatita Bay for some serious bodysurfing
Steering clear of the local drivers while pumping along the coastal highway when there are no secondary roads

Outfitters Departures Price
Outland Adventures
on demand
$795-$995


New Nevada
Horsepacking the Jarbidge Wilderness
The Route
A weeklong horseback journey through a high-desert plateau forested with aspen and mountain mahogany, populated with elk and mountain lions, and surrounded by the largest concentration of 10,000-foot peaks in Nevada
When To Go
Jun - Sep
Difficulty
Moderate
Travel Advisory
Keep your eyes on the ground when you're hiking the canyons and mountains. This is old gold-mining territory, with unmarked shafts that can swallow hikers whole.
High/Low Points
Hustling your horse over a mountain pass with views into four states before winding into the town of Jarbidge for a cold beer
Brushing up against the leaves of a mountain mahogany--and itching for the rest of the day

Outfitters Departures Price
American Wilderness Experience
6
$995


Classic Oregon
Rafting the Rogue River
The Route
A three- to five-day run down the Class III rapids and riffles of southern Oregon's Rogue River canyon, where you'll hopefully spot bears, river otters, and ospreys. At night you'll camp on sand beaches; most outfitters offer a lodge option, too.
When To Go
May - Oct
Difficulty
Easy to moderate
Travel Advisory
Because the water's warm for most of the summer and most of the rapids are short, the Rogue is a perfect river for trying your hand at a one- or two-person inflatable kayak--a daily option on most trips.
High/Low Points
Pinballing through the nonstop Class III-IV rapids of steep and narrow Mule Creek Canyon
Spending the last three miles paddling hard against the wind, with little current to carry you across the flats to the takeout

Outfitters Departures Price
ARTA
ECHO: The Wilderness Company
OARS
Orange Torpedo Trips
Outdoor Adventures
Sundance Expeditions Inc.
weekly
weekly
weekly
weekly
20
weekly
$560-$660
$595-$715
$625-$725
$485-$585
$548-$598
$495


Wyoming/Montana
Skiing the Yellowstone and Teton Backcountry
The Route
A seven-day backcountry ski tour among the winter elk and bison of Yellowstone National Park, or a six-day run of the mountain ridges and powder bowls of the Tetons, with overnights in lodges, huts, or yurts
When To Go
Nov - Apr
Difficulty
Moderate
Travel Advisory
Novices are as welcome as experts--each of these trips, even on the Teton routes, is tailored to your skiing skills. Backcountry instruction is available from your guides.
High/Low Points
Tracking champagne powder in utter isolation inside national parks that are massively congested during the rest of the year
Climbing out of your cozy sleeping bag in the middle of the night to trudge 50 feet to the outhouse

Outfitters Departures Price
Jackson Hole Mountain Guides
Off the Beaten Path
Rendezvous Ski Tours
on demand
1
on demand
$1,100
$1,995
$850

Copyright 1997, Outside magazine

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