Life's a Wild Trip

Mar 1, 2002
Outside Magazine

The dog days of Greenland

16. Get Culture Shocked
Central African Republic / Tracking with Pigmies

(New Trip) Put down your cell phone, pick up a spear, and spend five days in Dzanga-Ndoki National Park fully immersed in the Pygmy way of life. You'll bushwhack through remote rainforests in the southwest Central African Republic, helping hunt for small antelope, track lowland gorillas and elephants, and collect medicinal herbs like Carcinia punctatam (it battles the runs). At night, retire to comfortable bungalows on stilts perched along the Sangha River, near the Pygmies' village. OUTFITTER: Wilderness Travel, 800-368-2794, WHEN TO GO: November PRICE: $4,695 DIFFICULTY: Moderate

Ecuador / The Magic of the Shamans
See your troubles revealed in the entrails of dissected guinea pigs and enjoy other, equally drastic healing measures (like being thwapped by twigs) on this ten-day visit with Ecuadoran shamans. You'll sleep in locals' huts and travel by car, canoe, and foot to three spiritually distinct regions. Before heading into the Andes, visit the Amazon, where shamans venture to the underworld on the wings of ayahuasca, a natural hallucinogen—sorry, audience participation is discouraged. OUTFITTER: Myths and Mountains, 800-670-6984, WHEN TO GO: March, July PRICE: $1,895 DIFFICULTY: Moderate

Vietnam / Ethnic Explorer
Motorcycle into the hills of north Vietnam and meet the Flower Hmong in their rainbow head wraps or get lost in a chicken-filled market. Then park the bike for a three-day scramble up 10,312-foot Mount Fan Si Pan, with a local guide who smells his way up the route. OUTFITTER: Wild Card Adventures, 800-590-3776, WHEN TO GO: Year-round PRICE: From $1,600 DIFFICULTY: Moderate

17. Go Polar
Greenland / Dogsledding Across Polar Tundra

Travel the Arctic with the in crowd. Join explorer Paul Schurke on his annual Polar Inuit spring trip, accompanied by Inuit hunters who happen to be descendants of Americans Robert Peary and Matthew Henson, arguably the first men to reach the North Pole. You'll snow camp in ten-degree temperatures for 14 days and dogsled the snowy alien landscape for 300 miles over sea ice on coastal fjords and Arctic tundra. OUTFITTER: Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge, 800-584-9425, WHEN TO GO: April PRICE: $6,000 (includes round-trip airfare from Resolute, Canada) DIFFICULTY: Moderate

Sweden and Norway / Reindeer Packing in the Arctic
Welcome to a slice of polar paradise: With domesticated reindeer to do the heavy lifting and carrying, indigenous Saami guides will lead you for four days and 35 miles through the alpine birch forests and tundra of Arctic Sweden until you reach the Tys Fjord at the Norwegian Sea. There you'll swap hiking boots for sea kayaks and paddle 58 miles of Norway's Salten Coast, exploring lush fjords, camping on beaches, and fishing for arctic trout. OUTFITTER: Crossing Latitudes, 800-572-8747, WHEN TO GO: August PRICE: $1,900 DIFFICULTY: Moderate

Antarctica / Scuba Diving Under Ice
You may have explored the wrecks off Palau and swum with whale sharks off South Africa, but until you've submerged yourself under the Antarctic ice pack, you haven't really scuba dived. Journey on a Russian icebreaker to the Antarctic Peninsula and for 13 days don a drysuit, hood, and a freezeproof regulator, and plunge into a frigid world of surreal rewards. The diffuse light and 32-degree water are home to spindly pink starfish, sea hedgehogs, and sea butterflies. Just don't let the ice, in infinite shades of blue, distract you from the roving leopard seals. OUTFITTER: Forum International, 800-252-4475, WHEN TO GO: February, March PRICE: $4,890-$6,340 DIFFICULTY: Strenuous

Fossil Wrist PDA Watch

Don't tote your PDA around the world, wear it. Fossil's wristwatch ($145; 800-969-0900) uses an operating system developed in collaboration with Palm to let you zap 1,100 contacts with addresses or 800 appointment memos from your PDA into its stylish little self. Added bonus: it also tells time.

18. Stay Alive!
Peru / Learn to Thrive in the Amazon

Failing economy got you feeling the need to sharpen your survival skills? Let Peruvian survivalists show you how to stun fish, start a fire in the waterlogged forest, repel mosquitoes (by smearing yourself with squished termites), and treat ailments like a venomous snakebite. Eating juicy beetle grubs is optional on this seven-day trip in northeast Peru's Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Reserve, but once you've tried them, stomaching a bear market seems easy. OUTFITTER: Amazonia Expeditions, 800-262-9669, WHEN TO GO: Year-round PRICE: $1,295 DIFFICULTY: Easy

Costa Rica / Survival Trekking in the Osa Peninsula
Get a taste of Special Ops action when you spend ten days in the Costa Rican rainforest with former Special Forces veterans, who teach you survival basics and throw in a little fun to boot. Lessons in shelter building, foraging, and wilderness first aid are mixed with beach trekking, diving, and wildlife watching on the biodiverse Osa Peninsula. OUTFITTER: Specops, 800-713-2135, WHEN TO GO: April, July PRICE: $3,495 DIFFICULTY: Moderate

Namibia / Forage and Hunt with Nomads
The barren Namibian prairie may seem like a wasteland, but after six days with the nomadic Ju'hoansi bushmen, you'll see it as a bountiful Eden. Learn to make arrow-tip tranquilizers used to stun and kill impala; help gather roots, wild fruits, and the sweet sap of the acacia tree. Back at your mobile camp, the tribesmen may treat you to an evening of music. OUTFITTER: Baobab Safari Co., 800-835-3692, WHEN TO GO: April-October PRICE: $3,100 DIFFICULTY: Easy