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Tours & Cruises

Summer Camping and Canoeing in Yellowstone

July 07, 2002|ROSEMARY McCLURE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

If you would like to see America's first national park at a slower pace--and from a different angle--this summer, you might enjoy a canoeing and camping adventure at Yellowstone National Park. Five-night tours are sponsored by Wilderness Inquiry, a nonprofit organization.

Two types of trips are planned for late July and early August: one for adults and the other for families. Adults spend the bulk of their vacations exploring by canoe. Family adventures usually include two days of canoeing combined with trips to Old Faithful and other Yellowstone landmarks. Family trips are scheduled July 29 and Aug. 12. An adults trip is planned July 29.

The trips begin in Grant Village campground, about 20 miles east of Old Faithful geyser and the park's main visitor center. Paddlers enter the water at the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake.

Participants travel in 24-foot canoes, designed for use on large lakes, that hold six to eight people each. Canoeing instruction and a safety orientation are given.

Wilderness Inquiry, founded in 1978, provides adventure travel for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

Cost: adult trip, $695; family trip, $625 for adults, $312 for children 16 and younger. Included are food, camping equipment, canoes, instruction and staff. Round-trip transportation from Billings, Mont., is $60. Air fare to Billings is not included.

Contact: Wilderness Inquiry, 808 14th Ave. S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55414; (800) 728-0719, www.wildernessinquiry.org.

Mexico: For Singles Only

You can avoid Aunt Grace's overcooked turkey and Uncle Fred's bad jokes this Thanksgiving by getting out of town with a Travelin' Singles Inc. four-night tour to Mazatlan, a Pacific coastal city in Mexico.

Spokesman John La Point said most travelers will be in their 40s, 50s and 60s. "The younger ones are nice to look at, but they don't have the money," he said, laughing.

Cost: $695, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, ocean-view rooms at El Cid Resort Castillo, three meals daily, nightly entertainment, sports activities, airport transfers and taxes. The trip departs Nov. 27.

Contact: Travelin' Singles Inc., (800) 748-6662.

Europe: City Lights

Two Central European capital cities--Budapest, Hungary, and Vienna--will be on the itinerary for a low-cost six-night tour. The trip departs any day through Oct. 31 from Los Angeles or San Francisco.

The tour will include three nights in Budapest and rail travel to Vienna for three more nights.

Cost: from $1,364, double occupancy, in September and October. The August rate ranges from $1,714 to $1,840. Included are round-trip air fare, accommodations, daily buffet breakfast, rail travel and activities. Airport tax is additional.

Contact: Tradesco Tours, 6033 W. Century Blvd., Suite 670, Los Angeles, CA 90045; (800) 448-4321, www.tradescotours.com.

Channel Islands: Camp

If you're looking for a weekend adventure close to home, you might find it at Santa Rosa Island in Channel Islands National Park. Three-day fly-in guided camping trips are being offered by Horizons West Adventures.

Santa Rosa, 44 miles west of the Ventura County coastline, is so far off the beaten path that there is no regular transportation to it. But its inaccessibility gives campers a chance to get away from it all.

The 15-mile-long island ranges from hilly, grass-covered terrain to a coastal lagoon and beaches. Marine life is plentiful.

The Horizons West Adventure arranges for campers to be flown to the island and provides camping gear, complete with setup. Guides, meals and four-wheel-drive tours are included. Trips are scheduled from March through November.

Cost: $485 per person, including round-trip air fare from Camarillo Airport to Santa Rosa Island. Contact: Horizons West Adventures, 182 Marina Drive, Long Beach, CA 90803; (562) 799-3880, www.horizonswestadventures.com.

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The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. These should be confirmed with travel agents, cruise lines or tour operators.

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