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Fuel Free Vacations

Gas-Saving Travel Tips for an Eco-friendly Vacation

Gas prices have risen more than 35 percent in recent years. According to early estimates from the Travel Industry Association of America, 26 percent of people claim that soaring gas prices are stalling their travel plans.

Before you let the ExxonMobils of the world keep you from hitting the road, Concierge.com has a few gas-saving alternatives for you to consider … a way to make your summer greener:

Hoof it Over a Glacier (www.alpineclubofcanada.ca)

  • Join Alpine Club of Canada for a week of hut-to-hut hiking in the Canadian Rockies backcountry. Even beginners (physically fit ones) can join in.

  • The huts themselves are basic A-frame structures with woodstoves and bunk beds.

  • Meals are mostly dehydrated ingredients and are prepared by the hikers as a team (and actually aren't half bad).

Your Car Ain't Welcome (www.mackinacisland.org)

  • Michigan’s Mackinac Island is the summer colony that has been drawing city dwellers for centuries. Horse-drawn carriages, bicycles, and sailboats are the main sources of transportation.

  • Fire Island in New York, Bald Head Island in North Carolina, and Virginia’s Tangier Island all opt for leaving cars in the garage as well.

Go Where Few Have Gone Before

  • While Washington tussles over whether to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, go ahead and experience it now.

  • Arctic Treks and Arctic Wild specialize in week-long rugged adventures into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in which you’ll hike, raft, and camp among wild caribou, musk ox, and snowy owls.

  • A tiny prop plane drops you off in the Brooks Mountain Range, where you'll hike along trail-free carpets of wildflowers, raft class III rapids, and camp among wild caribou.

Drink ‘n’ Bike

  • Drinking and driving don’t mix, but wine country bike tours are brilliant.

  • Among them is Discover Adventures, the Georgia-based operation that specializes in two, four, and six-day tours of the upcoming wine regions of North Carolina and Georgia

  • In North Carolina, the Brookstown Inn servers as the base camp for daily excursions out onto the rolling hills and vineyards of the Yadkin Valley.

Test Your Endurance (www.usara.com)

  • Adventure Racing, which merges several sports (usually a combination of biking, paddling, and trekking), has been soaring in popularity in the past few years, jumping from 35 annual events in 2000 to just over 350 last year.

  • Races are held in cities around the country and vary in intensity, but beginners can take a stab at one of the Sprint races, which last a couple of hours and require teams of only two.

  • Wisconsin's Wild Adventure Summer Sprint Race on June 10, entrants will mountain bike, trek, and kayak through the St. Croix river valley for up to six hours, breaking for the occasional mystery challenge like playing a game of catch blindfolded. (www.wildadventurerace.com)

Canoe the Northeast (www.northernforestcanoetrail.org)

  • On June 3 the ribbons will be cut on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, 740 miles of historic rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. The trail has been divided into 13 sections allowing for various levels of endurance.

  • Camp and paddle your way through New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire, and Maine.

  • The trail's online maps will help you plan a paddling and camping trip or locate the best places to stay from basic cabins to fancy lodges.

  • Learn the history of the storied people who carved the trails before you.

Ride to Work on a Horse (www.lazyel.com)

  • The Lazy E-L Ranch, 70 miles southwest of Billings, Montana, is a cattle ranch.

  • This is a working vacation that may reorganize your priorities: your to-do list includes riding the fences, doctoring calves, and herding cattle.

  • The ranch disputes the notion that ranchers and conservationists can't get along goats are used instead of pesticide to eliminate weeds.

  • There are rooms in the lodge, but for the truly pre-industrial experience, ask for the riverfront cabin. There's no electricity or running water, only an outhouse, some cooking supplies, and a wood-burning stove to keep you company.

For the complete list of pollution solutions visit www.concierge.com

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