There is, on most would-like-to lists, the ultimate gift. The dream trip. The "gold ring" to reach for. A look-but-can't-touch excursion.
So, if you're stuck for a special gift, here are a few suggestions from the "ultimate" list.For the fisherman . . .
A trip to the Frontier Fishing Lodge on the shores of Great Slave Lake in Northwest Territory, Canada. Fish there, are born big. Trophy catches are expected, not a surprise. Common catches are lake trout in the 20-plus-pound class, northern pike in their teens, grayling up to 3 pounds and white fish slightly larger.
A day consists of breakfast, fishing, shoreline lunch of catch-of-the-morning, fishing, dinner, fishing, sleep and dreams of fishing.
There are days when the arms give out before the fish. Days, too, when the toughest decision is whether to release a 20-pound lake trout with expectations of a 30-pounder.
Lake trout fishing in the morning, northern fishing in the afternoon, and grayling and white fish in the almost-daylight arctic nights.
Price: $3,500 will cover air travel to Yellowknife, a week at Frontier Lodge, meals, guide and tips. Oh yes, and fishing. Contact: Frontier Fishing Lodge, P.O. Box 4550, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6E 5G4.
For the hiker/camper . . .
A 30-day walk from Nepal to the base of Mount Everest through the "spectacular valleys of the Sherpa homeland . . . "
The route takes travelers to an elevation of 15,000 feet, but there are optional hikes to several 18,000 passes, including the Chhugyuma pass at the base of Everest and Kala Pattar, or "Black Hill," which offers one of the most spectacular views available of Everest.
The final leg of the journey, which covers between six and 12 miles a day, is along the Chhukhung Ridge, beneath the famed wall of Nuptse.
Hiking is moderate to strenuous. Sherpas will carry both personal gear and equipment, leaving only a light day-pack and cameras for the hiker.
An expedition includes up to six guests, 10 Sherpas for carrying equipment, another for cooking, and guides.
Open dates are March 2-31 and Oct. 12-Nov. 10.
Price: $2,250, not including travel expenses to Nepal. Contact: Himalaya Trekking and Wilderness Expeditions, 1900 Eighth Street, Berkeley, Calif. 94710.
Fourteen hours of flying time in the Vailemount area in the Caribou Mountain range in Canada, to ski powder, powder, and more powder.
The area is a neighbor to the famed Bugaboos, only better in that there are 1,000 square miles of private skiing. No other helicopters but Vailemount's are allowed in the area.
Skiers stay in the town of Vailemount in British Columbia, where they are treated to all the amenities of a first-class ski area.
But, instead of a lift line skiers load into a helicopter and fly to their skiing . . . in among the trees or out on a glacier.
After a run the helicopter picks up skiers and takes them to the next patch of untouched powder . . . and the next and the next.
The package includes 14 hours of flying time and as many vertical feet of skiing as a skier is able to log. The less experienced powder skiers average around 100,000 vertical, the better skiers over 250,000 vertical, and all within the allotted flying time. Extra flying hours are available for purchase for the very hardy.
The package includes: ski equipment (specially made skis that are a little softer than the average skis for the deep powder conditions), guides, safety equipment, gourmet meals, lodging, helicopter, with pilot, and round-trip air from Calgary.
Skiers should be of intermediate level and above.
Price: For a group of six - $6,996 each. For two - $10,144 each. Contact: Canadian Mountain Holidays Heli Skiing, 1660 Vanff, Alberta, Canada T01 0C0.
For the hunter . . .
An African safari. This is the ultimate safari for the hunter . . . 30 full days of hunting in Tanzania, recognized as one of the finest hunting areas in Africa, with more than 60 species of animals to hunt. These would include lion, leopard and cape buffalo.
Included in the trip would be licenses to hunt 22 to 25 different animals, guides, staff and care of the trophies.
Guests stay in camps with roomy tents and sleep on comfortable beds with European linens. Gourmet meals are served in a special dining room close to the African sounds and sights.
The package includes 30 days of hunting, internal air charters, roundtrip air from Salt Lake City to Tanzania, dip, pack and shipping charges back to the states for all trophies.
Cost: $70,000. Less expensive hunts, such as a 10-day kudu hunt, start at $2,000, or a 7-day cape buffalo hunt for $3,600. Contact: Safari Outfitters, Inc., 433 Yellowstone Ave., Cody, Wyo. 82414.
For the photographer . . .
An African safari. This one by "flying boat," or amphibious airplane, which allows stops in remote, out-of-the-way places for a deeper look into African life.
The 23-day trip covers 4,700 miles and makes about 12 stops at such places as famous archaeological sites along the Nile, pyramids of Meroe in the Sudan, Lake Turkana and the Chalbi Desert in Kenya, the Ngorongoro Crater and Zanzibar in Tanzania, Lake Malawi, the Okavango Delta in Botswana and the Zambezi River above Victoria Falls.
Along the way travelers will explore ruins, see remote tribes and visit game sanctuaries, all by four-wheel drive vehicles. During flights, the refurbished Catalina, a World War II plane, flies low for a unique aerial view of the country and its inhabitants.
At night travelers stay in deluxe hotels or individual tents. They will eat at tables with white linen and crystal, and enjoy the finest of gourmet cooking.
Price: $17,000 per person. There are six scheduled trips during 1991. Contact: Gametrackers International, Inc., 1000 E. Broadway, Glendale, Calif. 91205.