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The Intrepid Traveler

A weekly column devoted to adventure, alternative, and affordable travel

» The Ultimate Adventure Packing List

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A Berber horseman charge, called a fantasia, in Morocco.Nomads of the Sahara - A dozen Berber horsemen thundered toward me across the Sahara sands. Their pale blue drâ'a robes billowing behind them, they rode with their rifles raised in the air, ululating a war cry...  more

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Feluccas on the NileUp the Nile Without A Paddle - When my felucca captain, chest-deep in the Nile, fixed me with a gaze that clearly said, "Maybe it would help if you got out and pushed, too," I started questioning the wisdom of bargaining for the cheapest boat available...  more

Challenge level
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Hiking the Hills of Hong KongHiking the Hills of Hong Kong - Hong Kong is not a city. Oh, sure, it's got towering skyscrapers, tony mega-malls, and thronged street markets. But that's just Hong Kong's type-A side. A full 70% of Hong Kong is open green space crisscrossed by 180 miles of hiking trails...  more

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A Daytrip through the Ang Thong Marine Park islands off Koh Samui in ThailandHidden Lagoons and Jungle Treks on Thai Isles - I was in a Southeast Asian jungle, waist-deep in stagnant water and having Vietnam-movie flashbacks, when something slithered past my leg...  more

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Trekking the Jatbula Trail in AustraliaAn Aboriginal Songline through the Outback - I had to walk three days through the bush for this view, but it was worth it. I stood at the edge of a red sandstone cliff. Beside me, the zigzag of 17 Mile River thundered over the precipice into the monsoon forest far below...  more

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Shark Bait in CuracaoShark Bait on Curaçao - The main thing to remember when feeding a shark is to keep your fingers balled up in a fist...  more

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Biking on ViequesBiking Vieques and Kayaking the Bio Bay - I've learned never to argue with a man holding a machete. So when Mark Franco, Jr. whipped out his blade and said, "Hey, you want to see something neat?" I hung my helmet on my handlebars and followed Mark into the jungle...  more

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Biking on ViequesThe Wild Side of Panamá - I knew I’d gotten too close to the wildlife when the white-faced capuchin monkey I was trying to photograph started playing tug-of-war with my camera...  more

Challenge level
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Expert Embera boatman Olmedo helps pole his up piragua (dugout canoe) up the Rio Chagres through the Panamanian jungle.Going Native for a Day in Panama - Olmedo poled our dugout canoe into the shoreline of the Upper Chagres River, leapt lightly off the prow with a muted plastic jingle from his beaded ambura skirt, and scampered into the Panamanian rainforest....  more

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A walrus chilling on an iceberg in Spitzbergen, Svalbard, Norway.The Polar Bear kingdom of Svalbard - The northernmost inhabited place on Earth is Spitsbergen, a realm of massive glaciers, hungry polar bears, Russian miners, mad scientists, whales and reindeer—and it's closer to the North Pole than Norway...  more

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Heliskiing in SwitzerlandGlacier Days & Fondue Nights - I'm not saying the shots at the Yeti Bar were powerful, but the next morning, when I got on the shuttle bus to the heliport, it took a fellow passenger to point out I wasn't wearing any pants...  more

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The volcano of Stromboli erupts regularly throughout the nightA night atop the volcano - The mountain had been rumbling all day, but it wasn't until the setting sun sent sparking streamers across the azure Tyrrhenian Sea surrounding us that Stromboli's fireworks truly began.With a primal roar and a boom that shook the entire island, the smaller of the cones inside the crater below us exploded in fire, spewing tons of molten lava hundreds of feet into the air...  more

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View of Notre Dame Cathedral, ParisParis for Free - The Louvre is free. No, really—and I don't mean by sneaking in the back door...  more

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Rental Rooms in EuropeFishing for a room to call your own in Europe - Each time I've been adopted, I've had the time of my life...  more

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A Pow Wow in South DakotaThe Winter Wolves of Yellowstone - "We're going to follow that bald eagle up the river," said Leslie Quinn as we watched the magnificent bird flap past. Leslie threw into gear his bright yellow Bombadier vintage snow coach and crunched up the snow-packed road into the heart of the world's oldest national park...  more

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Cultural
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Biking on ViequesBiking Vieques and Kayaking the Bio Bay - I've learned never to argue with a man holding a machete. So when Mark Franco, Jr. whipped out his blade and said, "Hey, you want to see something neat?" I hung my helmet on my handlebars and followed Mark into the jungle...  more

Challenge level
Physical
**

Cultural
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Skiing Park City, UtahHold Your Own Olympics in Utah - When you're standing at the top of it, a 70-degree ski pitch looks an awful lot like a vertical white cliff...  more

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Recreational cavingTales from the Underground - It felt as if an hour since I had last drawn a full breath. I was on my belly, arms outstretched to pull myself forward with clawed fingers, head turned sideways to fit through the ever-narrowing horizontal crack between two layers of rock...  more

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A Pow Wow in South DakotaFake Cowboys, Real Indians - I want to get one thing clear: I did not spill my frybread burger on an Indian princess. It was a frybread taco, I spilled it on myself, and she wasn't technically a princess. Miss Oglala Nation 2006 was merely dressed as an Indian princess...  more

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Sailing the Florida Keys Sailing the Florida Keys - Somewhere on the far side of midnight I awoke to the unexpected sensation of flying horizontally through the air...  more

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Rafting in MontanaRafting in Montana - I was probably underwater for only 45 seconds, but it felt like five minutes. Partly this was because I was unable to breathe, and partly because I was unsure if the violently churning water would ever stop battering my body against the rocks and spit me out of the 18-foot-deep sinkhole at the bottom of Tumbleweed rapids....  more

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On the Rocks - Hiking the Appalachian TrailOn the Rocks - Every time we stopped, it began sleeting. Sometimes, it became tiny hail or freezing rain or fat snowflakes, but in any form it was marvelous incentive to keep moving down the trail...  more

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A deer in Olympic National ParkTreasures of the Olympic Peninsula - When I glimpsed the naked hippies through the trees, I knew I was on the right track...  more

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Leaving Las Vegas...On Two WheelsLeaving Las Vegas...On Two Wheels - I think it was the second time I was launched over the handlebars—or maybe it was the third—that the wisdom of wearing protective gear while single-track mountain biking really hit home...  more

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Hiking the Continental Divide in British ColumbiaThe Unsung Parks of Western Canada - "You guys want to take the shorter, easier trail over that low pass, or the longer, harder one straight up that way?" As soon as I asked, I knew I had sealed my fate. Also, John Agnew's. No way six teenage Boy Scouts were going to let their adult leaders take the easy way over the Continental Divide...  more

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Ride of the Century - My first 100-mile bike trip was 116 miles long. We had slept on a tarp under the stars, got up at the crack of pre-dawn to scarf down some Pop-Tarts, then blearily but resolutely biked eight miles in the wrong direction before realizing our mistake. Actually, Mark's mistake. Here are tips, hints, and for-the-love-of-God-don't-make-the-same-mistakes-I-did for tackling a "century ride," or 100-mile bike tri... Full Story

Challenge level
Physical
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Cultural
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Expert Embera boatman Olmedo helps pole his up piragua (dugout canoe) up the Rio Chagres through the Panamanian jungle.Going Native for a Day in Panama - Olmedo poled our dugout canoe into the shoreline of the Upper Chagres River, leapt lightly off the prow with a muted plastic jingle from his beaded ambura skirt, and scampered into the Panamanian rainforest....  more

Challenge level
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Cultural
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Felipe Nuñez, only five years old but already a bona fide Chilean arriero (cowboy).Horseback in the Andes - Tomas Alarcon trotted his horse up to ride beside mine and pointed to the vertical layer cake of limestone and shale that rose above the ugly scar of a mining road across the valley. "I climbed those cliffs when I was a child," said my Chilean guide...  more

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Biking on ViequesThe Wild Side of Panamá - I knew I’d gotten too close to the wildlife when the white-faced capuchin monkey I was trying to photograph started playing tug-of-war with my camera...  more

Challenge level
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Cultural
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Tango lessons in Buenos AiresOne to Tango in Buenos Aires - It takes two to tango, but I showed up alone for my tango lesson at Buenos Aires' storied Confitería Ideal. The upstairs tango room at the Art Deco Ideal was long and low, divided by Corinthian columns into three wide aisles, a bit like a church... Full story

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Black-browed albatross preening on the Falkland IslandBirding on the Falkland Islands - The fighter jets screamed low over our heads, banked hard, and blasted off behind a green-velveted hillside. "They like to practice bombing the airport," observed Arthur Nutter dryly. Mr. Nutter was leading my three-hour birding tour past the rusting hulks of 19th century whaling ships on the outskirts of Stanley... Full story

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A gentoo penguin in AntarcticaA miniguide to Antarctica - The Seventh Continent lies at the ends of the Earth, the highest and driest landmass on the planet, home to 90% of the world's ice, about 3,000 people, and millions upon millions of penguins. (Antarctica FAQ: The Basics. Finding the perfect Antarctic cruise. Recommended books & movies)... Full story

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Staying in a Ryokan in Japan on an Intrepid tourAffordable Adventure Tours - Most adventure tour outfitters seem to consider $5,000 a starting price; for these guys, that's more of a price ceiling. ...  more

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What to pack for that adventure trip The Adventure Traveler's Arsenal - The essentials on what to take on any adventure trip, whether for six days of six months, and where to find it all....  more

Challenge level
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Horseback Riding in HawaiiChoose Your Own Adventure - When you tire of sightseeing tours or veg-on-the-beach holidays and are looking for some excitement from your next trip, it's time for a specialty tour...  more



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This article was last updated in December 2006 All information was accurate at the time.



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Copyright © 1998–2010 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.