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Gone to Patagonia for a Hike in the Woods

Tours & Cruises

November 03, 1996|KARIN DOMINELLO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Explore the southwestern section of remote Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile. Trip dates are Feb. 7 to 17. High Country Trekkers of Studio City will establish a base camp and participants can make day hikes to such places as Grey Glacier and French Valley. Without backpacks and the daily routine of setting up and taking down tents, participants will have more time for photographing and relaxing. Guanacos (cousin to the llama) roam freely throughout the park and guests will have frequent sightings of the South American condor. When the group is not camping on the trail, they will stay in hotels with full services.

Cost: $1,495 per person, double occupancy, including four nights in a hotel, park admission fees, daily breakfasts, all meals in the park, group equipment including stoves and tents while camping, ground transportation, airport transfers and guide service starting in Punta Arenas. Not included: air fare. Contact: Jim Gurnham at High Country Trekkers, 11950 Ventura Blvd., Suite 4, Studio City, CA 91604; telephone (800) 475-0004.

Mexico: Land, Sea

Combine a cruise and a train trip in Mexico. Departures are scheduled in December, January, March and April. The trip begins in La Paz, Mexico, where passengers board the 70-passenger Sea Lion or Sea Bird. The ships, which will have naturalists on board, then spend four days searching for whales, sea lions, rare birds and exotic flora. The cruise returns to La Paz, where the passengers fly to Los Mochis and the colonial town of El Fuerte for the train ride to the canyon.

The train ascends 8,000 feet to the summit of the canyon. Passengers spend a night in a lodge at the summit, spend the next morning exploring the canyon and then take the train to Chihuahua for a final night's stay.

Cost: from $1,890 per person, double occupancy, including the flight from La Paz to Los Mochis, train excursion, hotels, most meals and sightseeing. Not included: air fare to Mexico. Contact: Special Expeditions; tel. (800) 762-0003.

Ski Telluride

Head for the Rockies for a ski trip to Telluride, Colo., March 1 to 9. Telluride has a new gondola that links the town with Mountain Village, an alpine community at 9,500 feet. Guests stay at the Ice House Hotel, where there are ski lockers for equipment. Cost: $1,595 per person, double occupancy, including limo service to and from LAX, round-trip air fare directly to Telluride, hotel, baggage handling, welcome dinner, five-day lift ticket and transportation in town. Contact: Jim Gurnham, High Country Trekkers, 11950 Ventura Blvd., Suite 4, Studio City, CA 91604; tel. (800) 475-0004.

Springtime in Italy

Visit the historic hill towns of Umbria and Tuscany from April 8 to 17. The historical focus of this journey is ancient Etruria, 12 city states between Rome and Florence whose inhabitants traded with the Greeks. The artistic focus is Piero della Francesca, a 14th century painter. The religious focus will be mystics San Francesco and Santa Chiara. Guests will visit such towns as Todi, Perugia, Assisi, Florence and Siena.

Cost: $2,950 double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, accommodations in Umbria, Tuscany and Rome, motor coach, local guides, daily breakfast, and 10 lunches and dinners with wine.

A three-night extension in Rome is available. Contact: Lee Hansen Travel Service, 712 Foothill Blvd., La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011; tel. (818) 403-9113.

Music at Sea

Norwegian Cruise Line is offering a Big Bands at Sea cruise April 26 to May 3. The cruise takes passengers to the eastern Caribbean with calls at St. Martin, St. Thomas and St. John. Scheduled big bands on the cruise include the Woody Herman, Larry Elgart, Artie Shaw and Hal McIntyre orchestras.

Cost: from $949 per person, double occupancy. Air fare is not included. Contact: Norwegian Cruise Line; tel. (800) 327-7030.

Yellowstone Winter

A field course in Yellowstone National Park called How Mammals Survive Winter is Jan. 25 and 26. Participants will explore the subnivean (below snow) world of mice, voles and weasels and study the scavenger food web supporting coyotes and mountain lions. The class will analyze the nutritional needs and energy balance of antelope, deer, elk and eagles. Morning lectures will be followed by afternoon laboratories to observe animals in winter. Guests will stay at the Lamar-Buffalo Ranch cabins. Cost: $120 per person, double occupancy, including cabin accommodations. Guests need to bring their own food. Kitchen facilities are available. Not included: transportation to the park. Contact: The Yellowstone Assn., P.O. Box 117, Yellowstone National Park, WY; tel. (307) 344-2294.

More Yellowstone

An 11-day cross-country ski trip to Jackson Hole, Wyo., and Yellowstone National Park departs LAX Dec. 26. Participants will lodge in Jackson for four days of downhill or guided cross-country ski tours in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park.

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