Friday, February 9, 2007

Upcoming Travels


Here are our proposed travel plans:

South America (December, 2007)
· Patagonia Panorama A complete hiking and trekking adventure that combines the best of Argentinean and Chilean Patagonia travel! We'll begin our travels in Argentina, where we'll lace our boots and take to the mountains for a 4-day trekking adventure. We'll explore the glaciated Fitz Roy Range, arguably one of the most inspiring mountain areas in all the Andes. After warming up with a week on the eastern side of the continental divide, we'll cross the border and enter Chilean Patagonia. From there, we'll spend 5 days exploring by zodiac and by foot the remarkable Torres del Paine National Park -home to enormous glaciers, turquoise lakes, and verdant temperate rainforests.

Minnesota (May 2008)

Now that I've found my connections to Norway, I'm interested in following the trail from Norway to Michigan to Minnesota to North Dakota to Washington State. Traveling from California, and taking the reverse of that trip design, we'll spend the month of May in the Northwest and Midwest visiting relatives, and sites of my family travels.

Mexico (April 2009)
· Hiking and Cultural Adventuring in Mexico's Remote Sierra Madre Imagine hiking in a canyon so magnificent that the Grand Canyon is but a little brother! We'll visit the homeland of the native Tarahumara Indians, reportedly the world's greatest long distance runners and keepers of ancient ways, and take the most spectacular train ride in the Western Hemisphere as it climbs almost 8000 rugged feet in the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Great Britain and Ireland (May, 2009)

· Belfast, Ireland (May, 2009)

· Walking through the heart of England's Lake District With lodging along the way at some of Lakeland's most delightful country hotels and inns. Each day, we'll take robust walks (5-10miles each day, with ascents of 600 to 1400 feet) across vales and hills, and sightsee by minibus to gain an appreciation of Lake District history and culture. Luggage is delivered to the next inn before we arrive.

· Whitewater rafting on the Futaleufu River in Patagonia The Futaleufu River in Northern Patagonia, is by far one of the world‘s greatest whitewater destinations. The Futa contains sections of continuous class IV and V whitewater and will satisfy even the most experienced rafter‘s expectations. The rapids are laid out perfectly for a full week of whitewater excitement. After a great warm-up section to hone our paddling skills and review rescue techniques, we'll head straight into world class rapids with names like Inferno Canyon, Terminator, and Casa de Piedra (House of Rock). This place is truly a whitewater rafter‘s paradise, and the river is totally unique. Its clear turquoise waters pass through a glacially sculpted granite river valley that rivals Yosemite.

· Sea Kayaking in the Torres Del Paine National Park, and the Bernardo O'Higgins National Park in Patagonia We will paddle in the "Toro Lake" (the biggest in Magallanes region), continue down the Serrano River all the way to Puerto Toro, where a major embarkation will pick us up, and after 4 hours and a delicious lamb barbeque we will be back in Puerto Natales.
· Kayaking the Galapagos Islands Designed especially for the paddling enthusiast, this exciting Galapagos adventure allows us to kayak through the turquoise blue waters of the Enchanted Islands, along lava channels, blue lagoons, quiet coves, and white sand beaches to discover the riches of this incredible archipelago. The ultimate in active adventure travel, this Galapagos kayaking tour offers fantastic snorkeling, hiking, and horse-back riding opportunities as well. We'll be challenged to the sporting experience of a lifetime in the legendary Enchanted Isles.

· Adventures in the Peruvian Andes
· Machu Picchu and Beyond We'll be taking the least populated path to Peru's most popular sight. This less traveled route to one of civilization's most stunning achievements, the hidden city of Machu Picchu, is filled with Inca ruins. It traces the Incas' cultural traditions and engineering feats through the Sacred Valley where these ancient peoples worked and worshipped. This Alternative Inca Trail Tour also offers an opportunity to meet and mingle with the indigenous populations who today make their home in the Inca heartland. An undiscovered alternative to the much traveled classic Inca trail, this is one of Peru's most awe-inspiring treks, and one of the most informative.

· Fantastic Peruvian River Adventure Hidden deep in the Andes of Southern Peru lies one of the deepest canyons in the world - The Colca Canyon.An expedition through Colca Canyon is truly a trip of a lifetime. Very few people have seen the depths of this gem in Southern Peru. The only access to this canyon is by river on either rafts or kayaks. About 65km long and 3100m deep, the canyon is filled with fascinating geologic features. Numerous impressive waterfalls join the river, which is guarded by live volcanoes and watched over by Andean Condors with wingspans up to 3m (9 feet!). Few people have had the opportunity to experience this world-class expedition. The Colca has seen limited rafting descents since its first one in 1981. The combination of demanding whitewater and inaccessibility has reserved this trip for the true adventurer. We'll be traveling to explore one of the world‘s hidden gems.

· Discovering Argentina & Brazil A 15-day exploration of Argentina and Brazil. From learning to tango in vibrant Buenos Aires, to enjoying the splendour of the mighty Iguassu Falls, and experiencing the friendliness of Rio de Janeiro's Cariocas, this compact trip will pack in some of the best highlights these two fascinating South American countries have to offer.

Europe (June, 2009)
· Hiking Spain's Majorca Coast to Coast We will discover the inner island life of Majorca via the deserted and ancient pilgrim paths of this fascinating island. In the Sierra de Tramuntana, and along the coast of Majorca, we hike through leafy olive groves to affluent villages and towns that feature manor houses and grand palaces. Vistas of the sea, outlying islands and the diverse natural landscape provide plenty of excuses to pause for reflection. We'll hike away from the busy resorts, and across the mountains, encountering many places of interest and historical significance. We'll explore the former monasteries, ancient mills, delightful villages and places of pilgrimage throughout the journey.

· Easy biking in the peaceful valley of the Loire Enjoy easy biking along the Loire valley floor, visiting castles, vineyards, woodlands, and historic wonders. The area's rich history and grand sightseeing make it a perfect choice for all types of travelers. Gentle terrain makes it enjoyable for the most casual bicyclists. In this area of France, we'll find majestic chateaux, picturesque river views, charming towns, and world-class cuisine.

· The du Mont Blanc Trek, using small inns and guesthouses The Mont Blanc circuit is a fully accommodated trek, with all nights spent in a variety of lodgings from small hotels to basic inns or pensions. Many of the places do not have a star rating, but offer a warm and friendly welcome; rooms are twin, double or triple and will have shared bathrooms. The itinerary is essentially the same as on the camping version: we still complete the famous circuit, and your baggage is transported for you by our support vehicle. In some places we use a hotel for just one night, before moving on the next day; occasionally we settle in for a few nights and use local transport to take us to the next point of the circuit.

Africa (Sept 2009 - Nov 2009)
· Casablanca to Marakesh From the snowcapped Atlas Mountains to the endless sands of the Sahara; from the medieval old town of Fes to the spice markets of Marrakesh - the rich history and traditions of this ancient land await.

· Desert Surf Safari in Morroco Not only is Morocco home to some of the world's best and most consistent breaks (including one of the world's 'top 10' breaks), it's also one of the most interesting, vibrant and exotic countries on the planet. On this ultimate Morocco surf vacation, we'll enjoy deserted breaks, expert instruction, stylish beach house accommodation, gourmet food (cooked by our private chef), a Sahara overnight excursion, and visits to vibrant souks (markets) and other cultural spots.

·Mountain Biking in Namibia On this holiday, we will hike on the luxuriant Waterberg Plateau, search for the "big five" in the Etosha National Park, see many Bushman engravings at Twyfelfontein, experience the German colonial atmosphere in Swakopmund, and spend some time in the wild and beautiful Namib Desert - where one of the highest sand dunes in the world are found at Sossusvlei. This 15-day mountain bike tour is a unique opportunity to personally experience the incomparable scenic highlights of Namibia. We will always have our bicycles, and are therefore very flexible with the route and as well where the distances to be covered. In order to make the nature experience complete, we will also be going on a number of walks.

· Victoria Falls to Johannesburg Overland This packed 10 day trip starts in Zambia, near world-famous Victoria Falls and provides a glimpse into the best of Botswana with plenty of options for game drives before heading down through the wild Limpopo province of South Africa. Trip Highlights: Livingstone, Botswana, Waterberg National Park, Johannesburg.

Middle East (Jan 2010 - February 2010)
· Discovering the Ancient Middle East Few places offer the diverse cultural past of Jordan and Syria. A past that reflects all the great early civilisations - the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Hittites, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Turks and the Crusaders that made their mark across these ancient lands. Our journey combines visits to the main historical sites that shaped and inspired Jordan and Syria's rich and varied cultural history with a modern day perspective of the Middle East. In Jordan, we absorb the country's many highlights including Petra, a hidden city carved out of rock and journey by camel through the spectacular Wadi Rum with the local Bedouin. Snorkelling in the Red Sea, floating in the Dead Sea, exploring Crusader castles, the bustling city of Amman and the ancient city of Jerash, 'the Pompeii of the East' round off our time in Jordan before the journey continues to Syria. In Damascus, we wander the labyrinth of alleyways and visit the impressive Ommayad Mosque before heading to the 'Bronze Age' city of Ugarit with its incredible archaeological finds. The ancient city of Aleppo with its souqs, castles and museums and the oasis city of Palmyra are the historical highlights of our time in Syria.

Canada (Sept-Oct, 2010)
· Backpacking on Canada's West Coast A remote coastal hike with unspoiled beaches, few hikers, an interesting history, and a fabulous assortment of mammal, bird and marine wildlife. A spirit of adventure is mandatory as its location means that we will be on our own for the most part. We will take a float plane and/or water taxi to our access point, a stretch of sandy beach. Along the way, we will visit the remote lighthouse at Estevan Point. The lighthouse is storied to have been fired upon by a Japanese submarine during WWII. There are plenty of sandy beaches, marine wildlife sightings, waterfalls, creeks, and rainforest to satisfy everyone. Our hike concludes at an unique oasis known as Cougar Annie's Garden.

· White water rafting on Quebec's Magpie River Few rivers in the world are more spectacular and remote than the Magpie. From the Labrador Plateau in Quebec, the Magpie River flows untouched and beautiful over hundreds of miles. Five hundred miles north of metropolitan New York lies a vast wilderness the size of Alaska. The Magpie River flows through this wilderness, past lake dotted virgin forests of pine and multicolored moss, hurling down steep granite gorges and off spectacular falls before emptying into the St. Lawrence River. The only access to this seldom seen corner of North American wilderness is by float plane. Using self-bailing paddleboats, run Class 4 rapids, we'll explore remote glacial-gouged lakes and gorges, watch for moose, bear and osprey, and bask in the canyon's extraordinary solitude.

Carribean (Sept 2012)
· Adventures in Cuba From the streets of Havana to relaxed Trinidad and Camaguey, no country lives its music and dance like Cuba! We'll feel the rhythms of the ever-present Cuban beat on this music-lover's tour, learn to dance Cuban style, visit Santiago de Cuba, the home of 'son' music, and take in the world-famous show at the one and only Tropicana.

· Volunteering in Cuba A 5-day hands-on volunteer experience in Havana's community gardens followed by a relaxing week-long tour offering white sand beaches and spectacular scenery through the "garden province" of Cuba. Trip Highlights: Havana, Las Terrazas, Vinales, Playa Maria La Gorda.

· Multisport Adventure in the Caribbean We'll kayak, mountain bike, hike, dive, snorkel and explore the smallest of the three US. Virgin Islands - St. John. The Virgin Islands National Park comprises more than 60% of St. John and much of the surrounding waters. For the outdoor enthusiast, there is plenty to do here. Hiking trails criss-cross the rugged terrain, beautiful sandy beaches dot the water's edge, while colorful reefs teeming with life lie just offshore. The week consists of 7 nights lodging at Maho Bay Camps, tent-cottages nestled in the heart of the Virgin Islands National Park. During the days we'll kayak, mountain bike, hike, dive, snorkel and explore St. John.

Asia (Nov 2012 - March 2013)
· Shanghai to Beijing From the wilds of the Tibetan Plateau to the bright lights of the big cities, see the magnificent diversity of the Middle Kingdom. Visit Buddhist grottoes, watch kung fu classes, mix with the monks and dodge hairy yaks as we get wild in China! Highlights: Experience modern China in Shanghai, Practice kung fu moves in Shaolin, See the Buddhas of Longmen Grottoes, Stand among the ancient Terracotta Warriors, Sample Tibetan life, Wander the Great Wall.

· Beijing to Kathmandu We'll satisfy our sense of adventure and spiritual curiosity on this true overland odyssey. From the great archaeological sites of China, we'll travel across the vast Tibetan Plateau, through remote villages and into the mountain kingdom of Nepal. We'll complete the journey with a panoramic view of Mt Everest for an extraordinary real life experience. The intense spirituality of the Tibetan people is ever-present in their remote monasteries, high mountain passes, traditional homes and colourful marketplaces. We'll join the pilgrim‘s circumambulations, sample yak batter tea, eat plenty of dumplings and immerse ourselves in the atmospheric monastic rituals. Highlights: Walk along the Great Wall, Salute the Terracotta Warriors, Join the pilgrims at Labrang Monastery, Meet monks and nomads in Tibet, Admire the majestic Potala Palace, Visit ancient monasteries, Stand in the shadow of Everest.

· St Petersburg to Beijing We'll discover colourful cultures and vibrant landscapes as we travel the old fashioned way from Moscow to Beijing. From the awesome cathedrals of European Russia to quaint Siberian villages, from the sparsely populated steppes of Mongolia to the heaving streets of Beijing, this is a journey of epic proportions. Some of the accommodation is basic, but we will be touched by friendliness of the locals we stay with along the way. Highlights: We'll visit Soviet icons in Moscow, experience one of the world‘s great rail journeys, stroll along the shores of Lake Baikal, enjoy Siberian hospitality at a local homestay, and stay at a Mongolian ger camp. We'll also explore Beijing.

· India Eco Travels Several national parks, sanctuaries, and preserves beckon.
· Eco Volunteer Opportunities Dozens of sites around the world to volunteer on projects with specific species survival and monitoring.