Wednesday, April 26, 2006

GETTING THERE: Skyland Resort, where most of the Outdoor Adventure Programs are based, is within Shenandoah National Park, about 85 miles southwest of Washington. Take I-66 west to Route 29 south to Route 211 west. Get onto Skyline Drive at the Thornton Gap entrance; the lodge is 10 miles south at Mile Marker 41.7. Admission to the park is $15 per vehicle, good for a week.

OUTDOOR ADVENTURE PROGRAMS: Most outings are offered from April to early September and include lodging, maps, guide services and instruction, in-park transportation, water bottles and some meals. Trips are rated from "easy" (less than two miles on level terrain, suitable for small children) to "moderate to strenuous" (challenging terrain, intended for active adults and kids ages 10 and older). There is generally a choice of lodging, Skyland Resort or Big Meadows Lodge. For more information and reservations, contact Aramark at 800-778-2851, . Upcoming trips include:

· Trekking Adventures , moderately easy. Two five-mile day hikes with two nights' lodging. $499 for double occupancy, $344 single; from Skyland Resort May 21-23, from Big Meadows Sept. 17-19.

· Rock Climbing/Rappelling , moderately easy. Introductory through intermediate programs on Little Stony Man cliffs. Equipment and climbing instruction included, along with two nights' lodging. $539 double occupancy, $364 single; from Skyland May 14-16, June 4-6 and Sept. 10-12.

· Waterfalls & Wildflowers , a moderate pair of hikes. The waterfall hike features at least 10 waterfalls, with 7 1/2 miles of hiking and 2,500 feet of elevation loss and gain. Locations for the wildflower segment will vary with the season, with up to eight miles of hiking. $499 double occupancy, $344 single; from Skyland April 30-May 2, June 11-13, June 4-6 and June 18-20.

· Inn-to-Inn , moderate. This trip features hiking along the Appalachian Trail from Skyland Resort to Big Meadows Lodge, with luggage transported for you. The hike generally includes about 14 miles over two days but can be tailored to individual needs. $499 double occupancy, $344 single; May 10-12, Oct. 22-24 and Nov. 5-7.

· Day Hiking , moderately easy. Routes of about five miles on trails selected for their seasonal or cultural interest, with a particular focus on less well-known areas of the park, including waterfalls, mountain summits and abandoned communities. Leave No Trace outdoor techniques will be emphasized. Includes two nights' lodging. $499 double occupancy, $344 single; from Skyland July 5, July 19, Aug. 2, Aug. 16 and Aug. 30; from Big Meadows July 12, July 26, Aug. 9 and Aug. 23.

· Basic Outdoor Skills , moderately easy. Two overnights at Skyland Resort bookend two days and one night in the backcountry. Includes backpacking fundamentals and Leave No Trace outdoor ethics. Food and gear provided. $499 double occupancy, $344 single; Sept. 4-6.

INFO: Shenandoah National Park , 540-999-3500, Teamlink, 866-455-8672, .

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