Life's a Wild Trip

Mar 1, 2002
Outside Magazine

Silent as stone: Angkor ruins in Cambodia

19. Swim with Sharks
Costa Rica / Live-Aboard Off Cocos Island

Bring courage and an empty logbook. With ten days on the live-aboard Okeanos, you'll need plenty of room to record all the scalloped hammerhead and reef sharks that swim by on nearly every dive. Dry out with an optional trekking excursion on lush, 18-square-mile Cocos. OUTFITTER: International Adventures Unlimited, 800-990-9738, WHEN TO GO: Year-round PRICE: $2,995 DIFFICULTY: Moderate

South Africa / The Big Five Dive
Even if you feel safe on the three days you're inside a steel cage watching great whites, your ten free dives could be a little nerve-racking, and this is one time you won't want to chum the water. On this 12-day, hotel-based trip on South Africa's northeast coast, you'll see ragged-tooth, hammerhead, and bull sharks in their natural habitat—aka hunting grounds. OUTFITTER: EcoVentures Nature Tours and Travel, 800-743-8352, WHEN TO GO: July, September PRICE: $3,900 DIFFICULTY: Moderate
Galápagos Islands / Cruising on the Sky Dancer
(New Trip) The hardest part about your eight days on the Sky Dancer will be resurfacing—and not because the 24-person live-aboard is anything less than first-class. No, it's that the white-tipped, whale, and Galápagos sharks will have you jonesing for your scuba tank all hours of the day, as will the gigantic manta rays that swarm here in Darwin's playhouse. OUTFITTER: Ecoventura, 305-262-6264, WHEN TO GO: Year-round PRICE: $2,895 DIFFICULTY: Easy

20. Pursue Lost Horizons
USA / Utah / Rock Art and Archaeology in the Escalante Outback

Archaeologist Don Keller, who's scoured Escalante National Monument's backcountry for the past decade, has uncovered numerous ancient petroglyphs, but many of his finds remain undocumented. Join Keller this spring, hiking for nine days, three of which are spent photographing and mapping 4,000-year-old Anasazi and Fremont rock-art panels. OUTFITTER: Southwest Ed-Ventures, 800-525-4456, WHEN TO GO: April PRICE: $1,250 DIFFICULTY: Moderate

USA / Hawaii / Multi-Island Hike
There's a lot more to Hawaii than Sex Wax and surf gods: Poke around the Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs on the Big Island, taro terraces on Oahu (both of which have been around since a.d. 500), and the ancient Hawaiian heiau (temples) on Kauai and you'll feel like a hand fresh off Captain Cook's Endeavor. But fear not, this custom seven-day camping and hiking trip is flush with the hedonistic pleasures for which Hawaii is famous: soaking under tropical waterfalls, sunning on secluded white sand beaches, and snorkeling with dolphins and sea turtles. OUTFITTER: Hawaiian Islands Eco-Tours, 866-445-3624, WHEN TO GO: Year-round PRICE: $895 DIFFICULTY: Easy to moderate

Cambodia and Vietnam / Discover Ancient Ruins
Spend hours exploring the 12th-century temples of Angkor Thom, Angkor Wat, and Ta Prohm, the Hindu centerpieces of the Khmer kingdom, on this four-day trip to the Angkor ruins—the front end of an 11-day cycling tour through Vietnam. When the heat becomes unbearable, lounge by the pool at the Grand Hotel d'Angkor, a French colonial palace with all the touches of early-20th-century Indochina: wicker chairs, lazily swirling fans, and teak beds. OUTFITTER: Butterfield & Robinson, 800-678-1147, WHEN TO GO: October-April PRICE: $2,250 (Vietnam costs an additional $5,450) DIFFICULTY: Easy

Olympus C-700 Digital Camera

This featherweight digicam ($699; 888-553-4448) has two megapixels' resolution with a 10x optical zoom and a 27x digital zoom that outfocuses anything in its class. If you're lost, use the images in the view screen as a visual breadcrumb trail.

21. Behold the Wonders of the Cosmos
Canada /Northern Lights

Nowhere else on the planet do the northern lights have more pizzazz than in Churchill, Manitoba, and this year, they'll be at their best: Scientists are expecting great solar storms, meaning that for four nights you'll likely see flaming oranges, streaks of deep blue, and patches of magenta over the early-spring subarctic skies. Days are spent dogsledding and watching for polar bears near your lodge in Churchill. OUTFITTER: Natural Habitat Adventures, 800-543-8917, WHEN TO GO: February, March PRICE: $2,795 DIFFICULTY: Easy

USA / Colorado / Anasazi Sun Calendars
(New Trip) Eight hundred years ago, the Anasazi hailed the winter solstice using rocks and shadow tricks. You can still watch the shadows dance, but only on December 22 will the sun be perfectly positioned to cast the dagger-shaped shadows onto the heart of spiral petroglyphs. From your B&B base camp in Cortez, Colorado, you'll spend a week day hiking in Ute Mountain Tribal Park—home to more than 20,000 protected archaeological sites. OUTFITTER: Southwest Ed-Ventures, 800-525-4456, WHEN TO GO: December PRICE: $1,395 DIFFICULTY: Easy

Australia / Total Eclipse Adventure
The Australian outback is your front-row seat for the 2002 total solar eclipse. You'll be awed by the shimmering lights that dance on the edge of the darkened sun—a phenomenon caused by sunlight shining through the moon's valleys. But the events leading up to the big show are nearly as spectacular: six days diving from a live-aboard in the Great Barrier Reef and three days of hiking in the Cape York rainforest. OUTFITTER: Outer Edge Expeditions, 800-322-5235, WHEN TO GO: December PRICE: $3,500 DIFFICULTY: Easy