Base Camp

Article excerpt

Hike a variety of trails with just a daypack.

On some Base Camp Trips, pack animals carry most of your gear, food, and equipment to and from a backcountry camp, leaving you to enjoy the peace and serenity of the great outdoors. On others, campgrounds, huts, or other accommodations serve as a headquarters from which you make your daily explorations in the surrounding area.

Fun in the Sun, Anza-Borrego Park, California. January 15-22. Dayhike in the Sunbelt! East of San Diego, bordering on Mexico, this huge unique desert park offers an infinite variety of hiking trails from palm canyons to bizarre sandstone formations to oases and waterfalls. Come and explore the excellent examples of desert geological phenomena and biotic communities by day and enjoy gourmet cuisine and stargazing by night. Leaders: Angela White and Les Atkins. Price: $485; Dep: $50. [00410A]

America's Tropical Paradise: St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. February 27-March 4. Feast on the sensory delights of warm, sandy beaches, secluded bays, colorful fish, and coral reefs. We'll hike the wooded hills and snorkel the turquoise waters, visit historic ruins and enjoy Caribbean cuisine. We'll explore the entire island using safari vehicles from our cottages at Cinnamon Bay campground. Meals are not included in the trip price. Leader: Margaret Rabel. Price: $795; Dep: $100. [00411A]

The Naturalist's Puerto Rico. March 26-April 1. We'll travel from rainforest to dry forest, mountains, beaches, and karsts. Daily excursions by van and foot will reveal the island's natural beauty, east and west. We'll see giant tree ferns, cactus, mountain trails, and tidepools. Dormitory accommodations in the east and a historic coffee plantation in the west. Most meals are included in the trip price. Leader: Sarah Stout. Price: $925; Dep: $100. [00412A]

Gigantic Granite Boulders, Joshua Tree Park, California. April 2-8. From our base camp we'll explore this Southern California desert land of crazy Joshua Trees, giant boulder washes, and palm oases. There is something for everyone, with choices of leisurely to strenuous hikes and a possible midweek overnight backpack for the more adventurous. Leaders: Lucy Henderson and Angela White. Price: $515; Dep: $100. [00050A]

Natural History of the Mojave Preserve, California. April 15-22. Come to the desert this spring and explore the panoramas, sand dunes, and cindercones of the new Mojave National Preserve. Dayhikes from our 5,600-foot camp will vary from easy to moderately strenuous. Our pace is leisurely as we stop for flowers, wildlife, and photos. On-trip naturalist. Leaders: Warren Alksnis and Ursula Pedersen. Price: $475; Dep: $50. [00051A]

Springtime in the Smokies, Great Smoky Mountain Park, Tennessee. May 14-20. Rejuvenate your mind and body hiking in the Smokies in the spring. The Smokies are part of a varied ecology and we'll enjoy the wildflowers along our hikes. Camping in Cades Cove, we'll also explore the human history of this diverse land. Leaders: Lissa and Ted Jackson. Price: $495; Dep: $50. [00052A]

Women Between the Sacred Mountains, Canyon de Chelly, Arizona. June 4-9. Experience a unique view of Navajo culture through the eyes of Navajo women. From our base camp at a hogan in the forest, we'll explore the spectacular and historic canyon country that has been home to native peoples for 800 years. Our native guides will teach us about traditional arts and ceremonies. Leader: Constance Lederer. Price: $1,280; Dep: $200. [00175A]

Daughters of the Sweet Grass--A Journey with Women of the Blackfeet Nation, Montana. July 3-9. Experience life as it was lived by Blackfeet women on the high plains in the shadow of Glacier National Park. We'll live in a tipi camp, learn about the plains environment, practice some traditional arts, attend a powwow, and hike in the splendour of the northern Rockies. Van transportation from Great Falls included. …