Adventure travel for women


Gourmet food, outdoor bath soaks, and ... backpacking? No, it's not a trick question -- it's a trip with Call of the Wild. This Berkeley-based adventure travel company has been leading hiking and backpacking trips for women since 1978. But why just women? Owner Carole Latimer says men and women often have different goals for outdoor adventures. Many men view hiking as a competition to see who can get to the destination fastest, and their agenda and expertise can dominate camping trips with less-experienced women. Latimer, author of Wilderness Cuisine, offers outdoorswomen the simple comforts -- yummy food, comfortable sleeping arrangements, and cleanliness. Her tips include painting your fingernails to obscure camping dirt, and taking Nalgene bottles filled with hot water into your sleeping bag at night to soothe sore muscles. As for a garbage-bag bath, you might have to see it to believe it.

For novices, the Lost Coast Beginner's Backpack trip to the Humboldt-Mendocino coast includes two nights of camping (tents provided) and meals prepared by the trip's leader ($365). A pre-trip class will teach you what to expect and how to pack: June 1, free with trip sign-up, $50 without. The well-organized Web site includes a full schedule of trips, including weeklong journeys to Kauai in June, Alaska in July, Mt. Whitney in August, and Peru in September. Call of the Wild also offers trips with noncamping lodging. Info: or 510-849-9292. -- Annika Dukes


What Curse?

A's play Tigers, Royals

Week seven of the Major League Baseball season finds the Oakland A's playing the home half of their flip-flop road-home series with the Detroit Tigers (Wednesday and Thursday) and the Kansas City Royals (Friday through Sunday), the same two teams that made the A's Midwest road trip last week so successful. Fans and jockscribes have been moaning about the Athletics' poor chances of five-peating in post-season play after their gloomy spring, but really, folks, it's too early to tell. In 2001 the A's had an 8-17 start and went on to win 102 games -- then got knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. If there is a curse, the A's will have to make the playoffs for it to kick in. The traditional way to do that is to beat the snot out of the Tigers and the Royals every time they play them. So don't wait for August: tear 'em up now. -- Kelly Vance


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