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Thursday, 29 October 1998 00:00

Men's Health Article

By Mark Jenkins

Mens Health

I'm in a bar with a friend. It's not late, but getting there. Sort of like the definition of midlife. We'd intended to have one beer and head home. that was hours ago...

We have moved on to shots. Shots fires, shots taken, the hole's in one's life. He's been telling me about this grand adventure he once planned: a solo voyage down the western seaboard from Seattle to Acapulco.

He grew up by the water. He loves the sea. He's an accomplished sailor. But it hasn't happened..."Things just happened. The job, mostly." His voice trails off, and he downs his drink... Want to know what you have to do? Think like an adolescent. That's right, think like a kid -exactly what everybody tells you not to do. Remember when you were 17? Did anything seem impossible? Most guys that age think they have the world by the balls, and in a strange way, they do. Not in terms of money or power or posessions, but in terms of devil-may-care confidence and imagination. What follows is my list of ten adventures to take before you die...These are dream trips.

Adventures that will force you to rise to your potential. Adventures that will leave a tatoo on your soul.

Imagine 24 hours of continuous sunlight but a temperature of -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Imagine turning 360 degrees and seeing nothing but brilliant ice and snow.

Imagine riding the runners of a sled, mushing a team of eight huskies through a ghostly land of frozen silence. This is the Arctic, perhaps the most surreal place on Earth. At its heart is the mythic North Pole, the top of the world. Want to go? Unless you're an Inuit or an Iditarod vetran, the best way is to travel with The Northwest Passage, an Arctic outfitter. "The challenge and adventure are unchanged from what Peary and Cook did a century ago," says executive director and guide Rick Sweitzer.

"We start at 88 degrees North latitude and ski and sled for 150 miles." Sweitzer says they navigate mostly by the sun, checking accuracy with a satellite GPS. The NorthwestPassage provides everything from sleds to sleeping bags, boots to expedition clothing. You sleep in tents, igloos, or out in the open; you share mushing and cooking responsibilities, and treat each other's sunburn, sore muscles and madness. Candidates for the expedition must first complete a week-long shakedown trip.

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