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Backpacker Magazine – January 2013

Chile: Private Patagonia - Five More Multisport Trips

Explore spectacular places by air, land, and sea.

by: Ryan Pinkard


Moab, UT 
Start your visit to America’s multisport capital with a classic hike to Fisher Towers (4.5 miles) or up Negro Bill Canyon (four miles), then get your knobby-tire fix either on the legendary Slickrock Trail or on some of the new singletrack opening every month. These trails—like Klondike Bluff and Magnificent 7—are designed by and for bikers, but hikers are also welcome on the expanding network. When it’s time to cool off, raft down the Colorado River (best day: Westwater Canyon; best overnight: Cataract Canyon), and check the view from a hot air balloon or tandem BASE jump. Don’t forget to visit the two national parks within an hour’s drive (Canyonlands and Arches; weekdays are less crowded). discovermoab.com

Santo Antão, Cape Verde 
This island in the Cape Verde archipelago, 350 miles off the coast of West Africa, features a stable democracy, year-round warm weather, and gnarled volcanic terrain that’s a multisporter’s paradise. Hike the narrow paths along any of the precipitous mountain ribeiras (ravines)—don’t miss the ocean views from atop Ribeira de Torre. Mountain bike quad-burning and remote hillside trails; some of the 1,000-foot slopes hit 20-percent grades. Then canyoneer, dive, and rock climb on the island’s mostly uninhabited western half. caboverdenolimits.com/en

Mt. Aspiring National Park, New Zealand
Known for its remote wilderness, high mountains, and beautiful river valleys, Mt. Aspiring National Park is the kind of place you want to get lost in—no matter your mode of travel. Get high by climbing Mt. Aspiring (9,951 feet) and the 1,000-foot-thick Bonar Glacier (gear for glacier travel required for the latter). Then canoe or kayak channels of the glacier-fed Dart River that were featured in The Lord of the Rings. Top it all off with canyoning along the Routeburn, a hybrid descent down a slot canyon that requires you to swim, jump, slide, and rappel. bit.ly/mtaspiring

The Highlands, Iceland 
Base yourself in Reykjavik for a multimodal survey of Europe’s most diverse and untouched wilderness area. Marvel at colorful volcanic mountains, steaming thermal pools, craggy glaciers, deep canyons, and massive waterfalls, lakes and fjords—possibly from the same standing point. Spend up to four days on the 34-mile Laugavegur trekking route, starting from the Landmannalaugar hot springs (backpacker.com/laugavegur). Then climb the immense Sólheimajökull glacier, or the more challenging Snæfellsjökull glacier, followed by kayaking on Lake Langisjór. Finally, go lava caving in the dormant Thrihnukagigur Volcano, the only place on earth you can safely climb inside of a lava chamber. visiticeland.com

Bay of Loreto Marine Park, Mexico 
Get the best of the Baja Peninsula along this 50-mile stretch of its eastern coast, four hours north of La Paz. Try sea kayaking the park’s 800 square miles of protected waters and islands: Paddle about two miles to Isla Danzante for beach camping and a gorgeous hike to its 1,000-foot summit (four miles round-trip). Inland, mountain bike past long-armed cactus on old mule trails that make for epic singletrack. The snorkeling and diving are also world-class. loreto.com

 




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