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The Mature Traveler

Roughing It in the Pacific Northwest Outdoors

March 27, 1988|BILL HUGHES | Hughes is a 30-year veteran travel writer living in Sherman Oaks

For mature travelers who don't mind swapping a bed for a sleeping bag to grab a dash of adventure, two companies in the Pacific Northwest offer such trips.

Oregon River Experiences Inc., based in Junction City, Ore., and now in its 11th year of distinctive river trips in four states and on 11 rivers, has a wide scope of offerings--some of its own discount trips for those age 60 and older, some offered in cooperation with Elderhostel.

The company's senior float trips are offered this summer on four rivers, the Klamath, Owyhee, Rogue and Salmon. Almost a dozen departures go on three- and four-day all-inclusive river trips, ranging from $225 to $250, depending on length.

Not included is your transportation to the destination jump-off point, although the company helps provide shuttle services at modest prices from selected river starting and ending spots.

Mature travelers can choose row it yourself or ride with the guide experiences. The float trips start in early May and run into October.

Educational Programs

The company also operates the only river trips offered through Elderhostel. These are seven-day educational programs for those 60 and older, 17 departures from mid-May into September on four rivers--the John Day, Grande Ronde, Salmon and Deschutes. The company cannot book Elderhostel programs direct but can provide information about the various rivers.

For more information on the company's own senior river float trips and basics on the Elderhostel program, contact Oregon River Experiences Inc. 30493 Lone Pine Drive, Junction City, Ore. 97448, (503) 689-6198. For Elderhostel reservations and rates on the river trips, contact Elderhostel, 80 Boylston St., Suite 400, Boston, Mass. 02116, (617) 426-7788.

Mt. Robson Adventure Holidays Ltd. of British Columbia, Canada, will repeat its five-day Mt. Robson Adventure Holiday's Senior Weeks, June 21-27 and Sept. 9-15. These are priced from $390 per person, double occupancy, or $456 for singles. There's also a three-day seniors backpacking trip to Berg Lake June 10-14 that runs $270 to $292, double or single. Prices for all senior trips include all meals, accommodations and equipment, but not transportation from Los Angeles.

The basic senior week program consists of two days' hiking, two days of canoeing and another day of historical touring in the area.

Nights are spent in heated log cabins in the base camp in the Rockies 35 miles west of Jasper, Alta.

Participants in last year's program ranged in age from 54 to 67. You have the option of becoming involved with the planned activities, exploring on your own from the base camp or just relaxing in the mountains, secure that guides and grub are available.

For more information, contact Mt. Robson Adventure Holidays, P.O. Box 146, Valemont, B.C., Canada VOE 220, phone (604) 566-4351.

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Senior Travel and Recreation Assn. of California, which promotes trips and tours for mature travelers, now has a Northern California chapter in addition to its original Los Angeles-based organization.

The northern chapter will host a one-day trade show with about 60 exhibitors on hand to help senior tour group organizers get more information about accommodations, attractions and other travel services for seniors in their part of the state. The show is set for May 2 at the Clarion Inn in Napa. An overnight rate of $48, single or double, is also offered there to senior tour planners attending the free event.

For more information, or details about booth space for Southern California travel/tour operators wishing to tell their story to that area's many senior groups, contact Mark Gilpin, director of sales, Americana Suites, 20 Franklin St., San Francisco 94102, (800) 634-0169.

Also in Napa, heart of the wine country, and typical of the Northern California deals and discounts offered mature travelers, is Embassy Suites Hotel's senior rates.

For $75 a night, mature travelers age 50 and older get a two-room suite, single or double, complete with microwave, refrigerator and two TV sets, plus cooked-to-order breakfasts and a free evening cocktail hour. The all-suite hotel also has two swimming pools, a whirlpool and the Swan Court restaurant.

The program is offered Friday through Sunday all year, subject to availability of space; thus reservations are important. Information and reservations: Embassy Suites Hotels, 1075 California Blvd., Napa, Calif. 94559, phone (800) EMBASSY or (707) 253-9540.

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