Best new adventure trips of 2009

Trip planning: Departures include June 27, July 18, and August 1. The trip price is $1,999 ($1,699 for children ages eight to 17) for REI members; nonmembers pay $2,249. If you're not already a member it's worthwhile to get a lifetime membership as it only costs $20. Prices include accommodations, meals, activities, ground transportation, and guides. Airfare is extra. Late-June airfare from Los Angeles to Los Mochis, and Chihuahua, back to Los Angeles starts at $706, including taxes, through Orbitz.

Stay at the Only Lodge in Kenai Fjords National Park Provider: Alaska Wildland Adventures Length: Four days Price: $1,275

With its massive tidewater glaciers that tumble into the sea and mile-deep fjords cruised by porpoises and whales, Kenai Fjords National Park is one of Alaska's most popular wilderness areas. However, most people only spend a few hours in the park—often visiting by boat and never even setting foot on land. The main reason: the majority of visitors have to stay a boat ride away in Seward, as park accommodations have been limited to four rustic cabins maintained by the park service.

That will change this spring when veteran Alaska outfitter Alaska Wildland Adventures opens Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge, the first and only lodge in Kenai Fjords National Park. Together with the Native people that own the land on which the lodge was built, Alaska Wildland Adventures overcame the challenges of building comfortable, eco-friendly accommodations in a spruce forest on a remote boat-access-only lagoon. Thanks to their efforts, guests will be able to easily explore this remote locale without compromising comfort.

"The seacoast offers miles of pristine pebble beachfront for strolling, framed against the spectacular backdrop of Pedersen Glacier," says Marketing Director Heather Dudick. "Otters and seals are often visible amid the sparkling glacial ice of the lagoon, while black bears are often seen—from a safe distance—lounging around in grassy meadows. The Kenai Mountains, rising up from the sea, are home to nimble Dall sheep and mountain goats."

A trip to the lodge begins with a marine wildlife and glacier cruise from Seward that brings you upclose to the park's fjords and tidewater glaciers. While at the lodge, you'll work with guides to plan daily activities suitable to your abilities, like guided hiking, sea kayaking, and coastal explorations by motorized skiff. You might go on a full-day trek one day and then take a relaxing wildlife boat cruise to see whales and sea birds the next. In the evenings, listen to local experts give interpretive presentations or peruse the lodge's natural history library. Stay in a private heated cabin and enjoy hearty gourmet meals in the lodge dining room.

Trip planning: This trip can be arranged most dates between May 31 and September 10. Prices include accommodations, water taxi transfers from Seward, all meals, activities, and guides. Some optional activities, alcohol, and airfare are extra. Round-trip July airfare from Seattle to Anchorage, starts at $503, including taxes, through Continental. From Anchorage you can rent a car and drive three hours to Seward, where you'll depart via small boat cruise to the lodge.

India Wildlife Safari: Leopards, Tigers, and BearsProvider: Wild Planet Adventures Length: 19 days Price: $7,598

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