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November/December 2005

Best Damn Weekend Ever: Paddle Around St. John, Virgin Islands NP

Kayak amid the reefs and sand of Virgin Islands National Park

Day 3 includes a 1.5-mile hike out from Salt Pond up through scrubby, cactus-filled terrain to Ram Head, located on a gradually narrowing, 150-foot-high peninsula where the sea crashes in on both sides. The final night is in the boonies of Lameshur Bay, the remotest part of the island and home to the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station, a research facility appointed with cabins.

From there, the last 7 miles are downwind back to the starting point in Cruz Bay. When you retire to the Lime Inn, where the conch fritters come hot from the pans, think about how the wind up in Bob Marshall is probably blowing something fierce.

Getting there There’s no airport on St. John, so most travelers fly to St. Thomas and then hop the 20-minute ferry ($3 one way) to Cruz Bay. The ferry runs hourly; for info, call (340) 776-6282 or visit www.stjohnusvi.com.

Guide Arawak Expeditions runs 4-day trips for $995 from December 15 to April 30 and for $895 the rest of the year. The rate includes boats, lodging, and food. (800) 238-8687; www.arawakexp.com

Park beta www.nps.gov/viis; (340) 776-6201

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