White-Water Rafting in W.Va., Sightseeing in St. Petersburg
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Q. My husband and I are trying to plan a white-water rafting trip within driving distance of Washington that's also convenient to spelunking and hiking. We are not sure when the season begins and how much to expect to spend.
T. Lamp, Woodbridge
A. Head to southern West Virginia, says Nathan Borchelt of the Away network, which owns the travel planning site Away.com and the outdoor adventure site Gorp (http:/
The Gauley, which is the wilder of the two rivers, has a short season, this year Sept. 11 through Oct. 18. If you're new to rafting, start with the, um, New, which is runnable from spring through September.
Both rivers are divided into sections (Upper New, Lower Gauley, etc.), and an experienced outfitter can help you figure out which is best suited to your level. Class VI-Mountain River, for example (800-822-1386, http:/
For overnight trips, you can camp on the riverbank or stay in a cabin costing from $80 (no running water) to $399 (hot tub, full kitchen and bathroom) per night. Consider traveling with another couple, because cabins sleep four people.
I will be taking a cruise this summer, and one of the stops is St. Petersburg. Do I need a visa to get off the ship there and sightsee? I have a current passport.
C. Little, Gainesville
You will need a visa, in addition to your passport, to set foot in Russia. But before you head for the embassy, check with your cruise line. Most will take care of the paperwork for passengers taking shore excursions through the ship, said Robin Tash, a cruise specialist with CruiseOne travel agency in Gaithersburg (301-208-8747, http:/
If you plan to sightsee independently, however, you'll need to get your own tourist visa. You can apply in person at the Russian Consulate (2641 Tunlaw Rd. NW, 202-939-8907; see http:/
Steven Diehl of the Washington-based ZVS (866-788-1100, http:/
Send queries by e-mail (email@example.com) or U.S. mail (Travel Q&A, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071). Please include your name and town.