Escape Artists offers up a global discourse ranging from great finds close to home to adventures far afield. You'll find weekly travel deals here, too. Share your road wisdom, rave about great finds and rant about roadblocks that get in the way of a great trip.
Contributor: Travel editor Kerri Westenberg.
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Nice things happen whem groups collaborate. Case in point: Groupon Getaways, the nifty groupon site that offers discounted vacations; Groupon Grassroots, Groupon's philanthropic arm; and buildOn, a non-profit that provides after-school service programs for American students and builds schools in impoverished communities overseas, have come together to offer a pretty cool groupon deal. For $2,583, you can travel to Nicaragua or Nepal on a 7-day all-inclusive trip to help build a school for a community in need. With that fee, you also sponsor an American inner-city student who is a part of buildOn's afterschool program to make the trip, too. For altruistic travelers, it's a win-win-win. The price of the trip includes meals, lodging with a host family and local travel. Fifteen slots available: there are 9 days and 7 hours left.
There are contests and then there are contests. This one sounds too good to be true. The San Francisco-based tour company Viator is looking for travelers with wanderlust and video acumen. Winners will get an all-expenses-paid junket to visit 20 cities in 60 days, shooting video in two-person teams. Official details are slated to be announced March 1, but Escape Artists got the scoop a little early and is happy to share the following press release. (We're also guessing Chicago will be among the cities on the list, so we've included a photo from the North Pond restaurant in Lincoln Park)
COALBANK PASS, COLO. -- The crunching tromp of my snowshoes features a sort of reggae backbeat. The loose back of the snowshoe scrunches an echo through the utterly quiet pines and snow. I parked my rental Jeep on the top of Coalbank Pass, just over 10,000 feet between Durango and Silverton.
Snowshoes are like tennis raquets. No longer big wooden contraptions. I strap the light aluminum snowshoes around my boots, throw on a packback with some food and water and tromp off. I soon confront a huge dropoff and, despite the snowshoe tracks that seems to scale this cliff, I double back and take a less steep route, tromping and crunching through snow-dusted pines, grabbing views of peaks and valleys balnketed with thick, fresh snow.
After about an hour, I throw down my jacket and just sit in a snowbank and take the photo on the right. The clouds dance and a few chickadees flit past. I tromp back to the rent-a-Jeep and drive north to Molas Pass, pull over again and head toward little Molas Lake. I run into my first human contact -- an old guy who hiked up Bear Mountain with his golden retreiver and his downhill skis. As I pet the dog, Boddie, I ask how far to the lake. He tells me I went the wrong way. I thank him and trudge on, a steady uphill climb that has me sweating and breathing hard. Heck, it's 11,000 feet. But jaw-dropping gorgeous.
In just over two hours, I see five people, including Karen and David Jensen of Grand Junction. They drove down through the San Juan Mountain Range, through Ouray and beneath lucious robin egg's blue skies, to visit their son at Fort Lewis College.It's his birthday and they'll take him downhill skiing tomorrow. But first, they will cross-country ski through this valley. Enjoy the day, Karen and David.
Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge, the Ely outfit that has long run lodge-based dogsled trips, is offering discounts on its popular photo workshop with local shooter Layne Kennedy. During the 5-night workshop, participants will dogsled and also gain skills in shooting and learn about photography tools from Kennedy, whose work has appeared in Life, Outside and other national magazines. The all-inclusive package costs $1275, a savings of $200 (take an extra $100 off for children ages 5-16). For more information, click here.
If you’re the pampered-adventure sort, now might be the time to take your trip of a lifetime. Abercrombie & Kent, renowned for sophisticated safaris and the like, is holding a unique one-day travel sale on Thursday, May 6. You can save up to 60 percent on independent journeys with a private guide in Europe, Jordan, Chile, East Africa and South Africa for travel between June and September. The sale will also include canal and river cruises in Europe and luxury train journeys on the Venice-Simplon Orient Express and The Royal Scotsman during peak summer months.
On Facebook? You might want to be because Facebook fans of the company get the first pick of 18 itineraries, with a discount of 25 percent off, during a private pre-sale from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. on May 6. Visit www.facebook.com/AbercrombieKent and click “Like” to become a fan. Once a fan, you’ll be able to use the link on the page for the private pre-sale.
The countdown sale will begin for the general public at 9:00 a.m., with a savings of 5 percent. Prices will be reduced by 5 percent every 30 minutes, to a maximum of 60 percent off the retail price when the auction ends at 3:00 p.m. There are a limited number of trips, but most offer a choice of departure dates and multiple rooms may be booked.
Full itineraries, details, terms and conditions of the sale may be found at www.abercrombiekent.com.
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