Some might say the only thing crazier than summering in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Minnesota -- where the state bird is the mosquito -- is wintering in that spot (with a temperature range of -40 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit). In winter, the area really goes to the dogs. Specifically, huskies, as Wilderness Inquiry leads five-day dogsledding trips for people of all ages and ability -- even those who don't ordinarily venture out in the wilderness, and certainly not in winter.
Trips include physically challenged participants, who ride in one-person sleds; others take turns riding and cross-country skiing. Participants stay in a heated lodge at YMCA's Camp Menogyn, with outdoor and indoor toilet facilities (indoor reserved for those who need them most -- cold comfort). Instruction is provided in cross-country skiing, ice safety, staying warm and mushing.
What is there to mushing besides yelling "Mush"? Why, there's braking, and handling the dogs -- and keeping dog fights from breaking out among rival teams. Move over, Rover. Cost is $415, including transportation by van from Minneapolis, with departures Feb. 6, 20 and 27 and March 6. Wilderness Inquiry is a nonprofit tour operator; financial assistance is provided to qualified persons. For information, call 800-728-0719.
UP IN THE AIR England's Stansted Airport will open a new passenger terminal in March, making it the third major international airport in the London area. Currently handling 1.3 million passengers a year, the airport -- which is in Essex, about 30 miles northeast of London -- will now be able to accommodate 8 million. When the new terminal opens, British Rail will unveil a new station to link the airport to central London via the Liverpool Street Station (a 41-minute train ride).
Just Asking Two weeks ago we ran the results of a survey that asked business travelers about their pet hotel peeves. Now we'd like to know what gets your goat about places you've lodged -- whether for business or pleasure. Is it a front-desk staff that graduated with honors from the Norman Bates school of hostelry -- where missed wake-up calls are a specialty? Hotels that are no Ritz, but the Pitz? Or Ho Jos that are no go?
I remember a place we stayed after breaking down in Perth Amboy -- where we wished for rubber suits to wear to bed and in the shower, and where the sheets had the texture of the Eaton's Corrasable bond I used in college. You know the sort.
Vent your complaints on a postcard to Worldwise, The Washington Post, Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.
TRAVEL TRIVIA Just how many miles of isles stretch in the Caribbean curve from western Cuba to southern Trinidad?
TRIVIA ANSWER: ABOUT 2,000 MILES Turismo Machismo Think there's no place on Earth left to be discovered? Great Expeditions magazine, a Canadian "Journal of Adventure and Off-the-Beaten Path Travel" for "travelers, not tourists," can suggest a few spots for you. How about the Swat Valley in Pakistan, the island of Biak in Indonesia or the Atacama Desert in remotest Chile?
Other features can help you find a jungle trek or a travel companion, and the Traveller's Update column reveals such tidbits as where bandits lurk in Madagascar, and on which Southeast Asian airline it's okay to carry firearms but not batteries. For a free sample issue, contact Great Expeditions, P.O. Box 8000-411, Sumas, Wash. 98295, 604-852-6170. A year's subscription costs $18 for five issues.
Disk Set Darn it, there you are in Dayton, your flight to Denver is delayed, and you'll be dog meat if your Dallas partners don't do the deal. If you're a business traveler and veteran of the airline wars, you're used to this, and you probably already have a subscription to the Official Airline Guides -- which you keep close to your heart and briefcase, for last-minute flight changes.
For those who also travel with lap-tops in tow, OAG's guide is now available on floppy diskettes, in 5 1/4-inch and 3 1/2-inch formats, for use with IBM-compatible computers with hard drives. OAG's Flight Disk, like the pocket guide, is updated monthly and contains information on North American airline flight schedules, ground transportation, minimum connecting times at airports and airline phone numbers. For non-subscribers to OAG, Flight Disk, with 12 discs, costs $199 a year; subscribers pay $99 a year. For a free 30-day trial of Flight Disk, call 800-323-3537.
ON TRACK Amtrak has eliminated blackout dates for disabled-passenger discounts and is offering them year-round on all regular one-way coach fares. Adults get a 25 percent discount, and children ages 2-11 pay 50 percent of the disabled-adult fares. To qualify, passengers must present a physician's letter or other source (such as a Medicaid card or an insurance card) that designates them as disabled to the conductor with their tickets. Reduced fares are not valid on the Metroliner or Auto Train, and early reservations are advised. Those requiring special assistance should call 800-872-7245 and request the Special Service Desk; deaf passengers using teletypewriters can call 800-523-6590 for information and reservations.
QUOTES OF NOTE "The average Englishman will find the chief physical discomforts in the dirt of the city streets, the roughness of the country roads, the winter overheating of hotels and railway cars ... and (in many places) the habit of spitting on the floor."
"Throughout almost the whole country travelling is now as safe as in the most civilized parts of Europe, and the carrying of arms ... is as unnecessary here as there." -- "Baedekers United States," 1893