Posts Tagged ‘AMC’

Rocky Mountain high (tea)

February 6, 2011

This was first published April 4, 2010, in my Boston Globe column “Where they Went.” I love the trip’s multigenerationalness (is that a word?).

From left, grandparents John and Cathy Looney, daughter Delaney, Christine Hennigan, and son Riley at Lake Louise

WHO: Chris Hennigan, 40, with her children, Delaney, 8, and Riley, 10, all of Woburn, and her parents, Cathy, 68, and John Looney, 69, of Winchester.

WHERE: Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.

WHEN: Nine days in July and August.

WHY: To take the Appalachian Mountain Club trip “Family Hikes in the Canadian Rockies.’’

WOW FACTOR: Chris Hennigan wanted her children to enjoy hiking as much as she does. “I thought I’d wow them with the Canadian Rockies,’’ she said. “I’ve been hiking since I was 2; my dad used to put me in his backpack. I hiked until I was about 18 and stopped until I was in my mid-30s. The AMC was trying out these family trips, so I asked my parents to go along, too. Hiking isn’t really my mom’s thing, but she was excited because the kids were going.’’

Three Generations, Delaney, Christine, Riley and Cathy, at the bottom of the falls fed by the Daly Glacier

ALL AGES: The group of 25 hikers, ages 2 to 81, including four leaders, met in Calgary and traveled in three minivans. They stayed in private rooms at two hostels for four nights each, the Banff Alpine Centre and then Lake Louise Alpine Centre, both run by Hostelling International. Several children were on the trip. “It was a good mix,’’ Hennigan said. “The older ones could look out for the little ones and motivate them. They had a blast.’’

MINOR CHANGES: Each day three trips of varying levels were offered. “In the original itinerary, the easiest trips were far too difficult for a kid or older person. The first day’s hike was a good six hours and the kids were in tears.’’ The leaders adjusted the schedule, and “after that it was great. We got up later, had a leisurely breakfast, and didn’t feel pressured to keep moving.’’

Christine Hennigan and her daughter Delaney at Bow Lake

WHAT A VIEW: ’’It was unbelievable scenery,’’ she said. “When my kids keep saying, ‘Mom, look at that glacier, look at that cliff,’ you know it’s spectacular. What really got to them was the color of the water, this deep blue green.’’ One day they drove the Icefields Parkway, where visitors can walk on a glacier. “It’s like walking on ice with crunchy snow on top of it.’’

TEA TIME: They knew the final day of hiking, to the Lake Agnes Teahouse above Lake Louise, would be the hardest. “It was switchbacks the entire way up,’’ Hennigan said. “It was a tough climb on everybody. But once we got to the top it was one of the most unbelievable places I’ve ever been. You sit on a porch and have tea and homemade bread with this unbelievable vista. The kids thought it was neatest thing. Before we got back home from Canada, they told me they were already planning to go on the family trip to Colorado next summer.’’

Bhutan or bust

March 7, 2008

Perhaps I travel more than the average person does, but I don’t travel half as much as people think I do, especially overseas. And there are many countries I’ve yet to visit. Bhutan, for instance. Flag of Bhutan (source: on that later.) Instead, I live vicariously through my Where they Went subjects, whose trips I write about every week in the Boston Globe.

One such journey was in April, when three friends from the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) spent two weeks in Peru. Marianne Page did all the planning as part of her preparation to become an AMC leader. She’s now officially co-leading a trip to Glacier National Park in Montana this summer, which has already filled up But her Oct. 8-26 trip to Bhutan still has openings. (If any of you have done AMC trips, I’d love to hear about them.)

The Dzong (fortress-monastery) at Punakha; Henry David Shapiro ©2003Of course I want to join the group, but it’s not on this year’s agenda.  Bhutan is a pricey place on purpose, to keep tourism at bay. Although now it’s becoming known as a luxury destination, and don’t even get me started about that.  Anyway, the $4,600 to $5,000 fee for 2.5 weeks of travel is the usual AMC-type bargain. It includes lodging, meals, museums fees, trekking fee and transportation in Bhutan. For airfare, add another $2,200. 

Here’s an excerpt from the AMC listing linked above: An eight-day trek “travels through two high passes of 16,000 feet through The Taktshang Goemba (Tiger’s Nest Monastery); Henry David Shapiro ©2003remote wilderness with abundant wildlife. The remaining time in this ‘Shangri La’ will be spent visiting monasteries, dzongs, textile museums, the local market place, Thimpu festival and the famous ‘Tiger’s Nest.’ This is the most famous monastery, perched precariously on a steep cliff almost 3,000 feet above the Paro valley.”

If you sign up and you live in New England, let me know and maybe I’ll highlight your trip in Where they Went. And then my readers and I will get to travel to Bhutan with you, at least in our minds.

Photos by Henry David Shapiro (©2003); photos reprinted with photographer’s permission.