Displaying items by tag: International trips

Sunday, 19 January 2014 00:00

1999 Trip report - Copper Canyon, Mexico

The Lost Tribe Mini Trip Report

written by Neal Johns

Most photos by John Page, but some by Marian Johns, Marilyn Martin, and Virginia Hammerness

Copper Canyon again? Seems like we were just there, but I guess it has been over three years! You would think it would get easier each time, but it must be like childbirth; you forget the pain after a while. This time I will remember the pain for a long, long time. It wasn’t the people, they were great, but the gods seemed to snow on me (euphemism). Seven vehicles (Charles and Mary Hughes, John Page/Paul Ferry, Virginia Hammerness/Pat Loomis, Warren Alksnis, Ann Marie Nelson/Bill Turpin, Bob and Marilyn Martin and the Johns) met in Tucson where, to my horror, AAA would not process the border crossing paperwork as in past years. Then Warren got lost in the restaurant (thus The Lost Tribe name), and I started to get that funny feeling about things. Was this trip going to be like the task of herding cats? Short answer: Yes.           

(click below to  read more [there is 1 more related article], and see the photo gallery)


Published in 1999 Trips
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 00:00

Trip Reports - 2000 - Mongolia

Mongolia - Camels, Yaks, Takhis, and Gers

Trip report by Neal and Marian Johns

 Where do you find all these things? In Mongolia, of course; everyone knows that. So what is a Lytle Creek couple doing at the end of the earth? Read on.

It started when one of our Desert Explorers ladies named Reda said “You can go with us to the Gobi Desert if you think you can handle the trip at your age”. A challenge! There is no way I wanted to spend the money to travel to the end of the earth, but my manhood was at stake, so I said, “Sure, if Marian thinks she can handle it at her age”. Unfortunately, Marian was eager to go, so off we went. “We” included Joe Daly, Paul Ferry, John Page, Steve Bein, Larry Reese, Marian Johns, Neal Johns and our hardnosed DI, Reda Anderson. The custom trip was set up by Reda working with Boojum Expeditions, which I can’t say enough good things about. While I didn’t work with the US staff as Reda did, the guides and Bobo, the Ulaan Baatar office manager, were first class.

(click Read More to continue story, and see the photo gallery)


Published in 2000 Trips
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Sunday, 26 January 2014 00:00

2002 Trip Report - Desert Explorers in Peru


September 2002

by Marian Johns



       The idea for a trip to Peru was an indirect result of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center tragedy. A group of us Desert Explorers was all set – money paid - for a trip to the Taklamakan Desert in northwest China. Every participant, except me, wanted to cancel, and I wasn’t going to go alone, so cancel we did. Reda tried to set up a trip to Patagonia, instead, but the cost for two weeks was $5000, not including airfare – way too much. Reda asked – where else can we go? And I said – how about Peru? She said – sounds good; let’s do it – you be the leader.

(click Read More, below, to continue)

Published in 2002 Trips
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Tuesday, 04 February 2014 00:00

2008 Trip Reports - Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia

May 23 - 29, 2008

by Marian Johns

In the January 2008 issue of the Smithsonian magazine an article appeared  entitled " 28 Places to See Before You Die", (a much more sensible number than  the "1000 Places to See Before You Die" bestseller book). And of those 28  places, I was happy to learn I would be visiting two on our (Reda Anderson and  I) trip to Southeast Asia:

Angkor Wat - In Cambodia we were awed by the magnificent ruins of Angkor Wat, a  huge temple complex built in the 12th century A.D. dedicated to the Hindu god,  Vishnu. There are many other temples in this areas; our Cambodian guide took us  to see several of the more outstanding ones.

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Published in 2008 Trips
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Wednesday, 05 February 2014 00:00

2009 Trip Reports - Desert Explorers in Tibet


By Ana Romero

This is not a trip for anyone with any kind of health issues. The lowest  elevation is Lhasa at 11, 863 ft going up to a high of 17,000. Everyone got  varying degrees of high altitude sickness. We suffered neverending headaches,  lightheadedness, confusion, vomiting, out-of-breath with any kind of exertion,  and tiring easily. Catherine got heart palpitations and for a while thought she  might have to request oxygen or even leave. The roads are poor, and the last 123  miles to Everest is a washboard road. Catherine and I bloated up like balloons.  Loose clothing became tight on us, although the others didn't seem to have the  same problem. We were really glad that we didn't have a bunch of monasteries to visit. The  interiors are not that pleasant to be in. They are dark, crowded, dirty and  smell of the ever-burning yak butter used as candle wax. The Potala Palace was  indeed interesting. Over 1000 rooms, but we, of course, only saw probably a  couple of dozen. Many steps to climb to get to the Palace. Catherine and I had  to stop often to catch our breaths. Chuck and Kathy didn't go to the Palace. The food was okay, although you kinda get tired of Tibetan or Chinese food for  all three meals. The toilets are disgusting! with little or no toilet paper available. There was  an occasional "western style" toilet, but even that was not pleasant. Sometimes  they flushed and sometimes they didn't. All toilets smelled really bad. In all  honesty, we prayed for constipation, and thank goodness, we usually were.

(click Read More to continue)

Published in 2009 Trips
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Desert Explorers in Sri Lanka

By Marian Johns

First of all, I want to say that this was a memorable trip that I am glad I  took. I have no real regrets despite a multitude of problems, problems that  hounded us from the first to the very last day of our tour. Fifteen of us (seven  were people I already knew from our Desert Explorers organization) were  traveling with OAT – Overseas Adventure Travel. Our initial problems started  because our Air India flight from NYC to Delhi, India was five hours late. This  started a domino effect - consequently we missed our connecting “in transit”  flight to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka; there wasn’t another for 24 hours.  Air India put us up in the Centaur Hotel for the night, but by doing so, we  officially entered India. And India just happens to have a very inconvenient  restriction – not more than one entry in less than two months. Oops! So, if we  go to Sri Lanka first as for our scheduled week there – per our itinerary, how  will we reenter India for the rest of our tour?

(click Read More, below, to continue reading)

Published in 2011 Trips
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Wednesday, 05 February 2014 21:12

2010 Trip Report - Tibet trip #2

Tibet II
May 3 - 17, 2010
By Marian Johns

Memory refresher note – Last October 12 DE’s were scheduled for a trip to Tibet,  but at the last minute we were told by our Chinese tour company that no Tibet  Tourist Permits were being issued for the time of our trip which coincided with  the 60th year celebration of the communist Peoples Republic of China. China was  fearful of riots and protests in Tibet in response to this event - Tibetans are  still chafing from China’s 1951 invasion and takeover of Tibet. Then, we were  told we could go after all if we were willing to join a larger group that  already had its tourist permits and cut our trip from nine to five days. Six  people opted to go then and six held out for nine days this spring.

Well, the six holdouts dwindled to just two - me and Paul Ferry (Neal refuses to  go on foreign trips.) Despite the slightly awkward situation, (Neal evidently  trusts me) Paul and I decided to go ahead and do the trip - and share a room.  May was selected, and a good choice it was; the weather was lovely although  generally cool to cold. Ana Romero, who went last October, was impressed with  Bempa, their English-speaking Tibetan guide and suggested we deal with him  directly; we did that. I’m not sure his prices were any better, but I preferred  paying a Tibetan rather than the Chinese tour company.

(click Read More, below, to continue)

Published in 2010 Trips
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Wednesday, 05 February 2014 22:21

2011 Trip Report - The Stolls in South Africa

In South Africa!

By Anne Stoll , 2011

 The Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa! What a place! The other side of  the globe, culturally and physically, and yet you can get there in a day (OK, a  loooong day). We’re back, I think – though some of me is still there hiking the  hills, marveling and trying to take it all in. A land of fantastic beauty and  yet familiar somehow, like Southern California in many ways with eucalyptus and  golden dry grasses and (for us, anyway) lots of sunshine. But then you have the  blesboks and springboks and zebras grazing – and oops! Not so familiar after  all. We (eight of us) had an excellent local guide, an archaeologist with a  great personality (!) who led us to about a dozen painted rock shelters where  George and the group photographed to their hearts’ content (see photo). There  were several all-day hikes involved but despite some pre-trip anxiety,  yours-truly happily kept up with the pack. With botanist friend Gary James  along, nature was fully explored and treasured from tiny succulents to flowering  protea trees. The lodges were excellent – some with unusual architecture (see  photo). We stayed three nights in a lion sanctuary where the "music" of roaring  big cats at sunset enhanced our Happy Hour. Such a rich and beautiful place!

(click Read More, below, to continue reading)

Published in 2011 Trips
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Thursday, 05 June 2014 00:00

2014 Trip Report - The Stolls in Cambodia

Part I: Making Myself Feel Better

January 21 - 26, 2104

By: Anne Stoll

I’ll start with jungle-covered ruins from Angkor Wat and environs. The trees are called Silicon Cotton trees and it’s a love-hate relationship. At first they hold the walls up, but eventually, they destroy them utterly. Nevertheless, the otherwise-powerless, “Girl-Boy” ballet-dancing, unmarried current king of Cambodia, Norodom Sihamoni, has forbidden the removal of any trees. What to say about this edict? What is he thinking?

They certainly make good pictures.

These roots are so like living creatures – very creepy at times.  Like arrested motion or something – they grow when we’re not looking…..

Stones tumbled by trees, they tell us. Beautiful destruction.

Published in 2014 Trips
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Sunday, 03 August 2014 00:00

Member Doings - Baja Bucket List

Baja Bucket List

by Neal Johns

Friend and follow Desert Explorer Jay (Taco Feliz on the Baja Nomad board) offered to lead a laid back trip to Baja with the main goal being a mile hike over a pristine section of the El Camino Real (a centuries old mule/foot trail connecting the Missions) about 370 miles below the border. Since I had wanted to do this hike for some time, I jumped at the offer. Our crew consisted of three vehicles (two Tacoma’s and a Tundra) and six people (Jay and his friend, Stan, Marian and me, and Ivan and Janet – new Desert Explorer members from Colorado).

(click Read More, below, to continue reading and view photos)

Published in 2014 Trips
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