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Backpacker Magazine – June 2004

Guide's Choice: Hiking, Biking, Paddling, and Sledding Adventures

From paddling Lake Superior to glacier-hopping in Alaska: 6 hair-raising, lung-busting adventures from America's top outfitters

by: The Backpacker Editors

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Rocky Mountain Three-Way

Raft, summit, and pedal your butt off in an action-packed weekend.

Colorado's Arkansas Valley has it all-14,000-foot peaks, wild rivers, endless mountain biking-and Bill Dvorak's multitalented guides will push you to conquer all three. Day 1: Kayak or raft the class III whitewater of Browns Canyon on the Arkansas River, dropping 30 feet a mile through Zoom Flume, Big Drop, Widowmaker, and Raft Ripper. Day 2: Huff your way up 14,119-foot Mt. Yale out of the Denny Creek trailhead, a 4,286-foot elevation gain in 6 miles. Day 3: Finish it off-if you can-with a 21-mile (2,100 feet of climbing) gonzo mountain bike trek on Trail #11 from Buena Vista to Frontier Ranch.

Contact: Bill Dvorak's Kayak & Rafting Expeditions, (800) 824-3795; www.dvorakexpeditions.com

Lake Superior Spin-Cycle

Paddle through deserted islands on the world's largest lake.

The Apostle Islands are a huge maze of water and rock, 21 islands of all shapes and sizes in the sky-blue waters of Lake Superior off Wisconsin's north shore. Connect the dots on a weeklong sea kayaking trip that pits your paddling skills against the largest lake in the world. There will be wind. There will be fog. There will be waves rising like crystal-blue mountains and miles of paddling between each island. For a break, try hiking the 14 miles of trail on Stockton Island past the old shipwreck on Julian Bay Beach.

Contact: Adventures in Perspective, (715) 779-9503; www.livingadventure.com

Adirondack High Tops

Run the table on the East's biggest peaks.

This 5-day hammer will quash the idea that mountain adventure happens only in the West. From a basecamp at John's Brook Lodge, you'll scramble up more than a dozen rugged peaks, including Gothics, Haystack, Armstrong, Pyramid, and the pinnacle of the range, Mt. Marcy, the tallest peak in New York. This one has it all-classic slide climbs, hiking the Klondike Trail, bushwhacking streams, and some of the most beautiful mountain views in the East.

Contact: Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service, (518) 576-2041; www.rockandriver.com


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