A Grand Adventure
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Q. Can you recommend a guided adventure tour for hiking and backpacking to the Grand Canyon and Phantom Ranch? I'm 22 and looking for a group suitable for my age.
D. Cetlin, Potomac
A. With a desert climate and cliff-side switchbacks that can make even the most experienced hiker queasy, a descent into the Grand Canyon can be a challenging venture. Many trips require that you rough it, with tent camping, no shower facilities and simple meals. And after all of that, you still have to hike back up. For an undertaking of this sort, youth helps, but fitness level is much more important.
For its five-day "Ultimate Hike" through the Grand Canyon, AOA-Adventures (866-455-1601, http:/
Phantom Ranch -- said to be the only spot in the Grand Canyon where hikers can cross the Colorado River -- is explored as part of a five-day backpacking trip through the nonprofit Grand Canyon Association's Field Institute (866-471-4435, http:/
The National Park Service maintains rustic dormitories and cabins from $55 a night at Phantom Ranch. It's the only non-campground lodging below the canyon's rim. Booked up to a year in advance, the site is mostly used by independent backpackers and by tour groups on mules. Adventure tour outlets generally don't overnight there, preferring to set up camp in less crowded spots. Info: 888-297-2757.
For a huge variety of jaunts through the Grand Canyon and throughout the West, consult Sierra Club Outings (415-977-5522, http:/
Are there any bus lines that provide day trips to Atlantic City from the D.C. area?
Joan Blum, Crofton
Lady Luck is on your side: Several companies run day trips to the New Jersey casinos -- and offer onboard bonuses to boot.
Eyre Tour and Travel (301-854-6600, Ext. 3213, http:/
Golden Ring Travel (410-391-8700, http:/