Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Charms of the Grand Canyon - Interview with River Guide Marty Mathis

The charms of the Grand Canyon have captured the imagination of those lucky enough to experience them ever since Powell did the first recorded run down the Colorado in 1869. Marty Mathis, Vice President of Grand Canyon Expeditions, is one of those people so taken by the magic of the canyon he has made sharing the canyon his life’s work. In my article “Not All Outfitters are Created Equal” I talked about what makes a good outfitter. In my interview with Marty, I think you will find he has all the right answers.

Read the rest of the interview here

Monday, April 25, 2011

Featured Writer for NATJA for the Month of May

I am honored to be the featured writer on the North American Travel Journalist Association http://www.natja.org/

home page. I have been a member of NATJA for over a decade. It is a wonderful organization providing a platform and resources for expert, or budding travel writers alike. They help writers get their pieces placed and provide up to date information about what is happening in the travel world. Travel World International http://www.travelworldmagazine.com/ began as the publishing arm of the organization for members. It has grown into a very impressive online magazine with feature articles written by top professionals about trips around the globe. My interview in the spring issue appears here http://www.travelworldmagazine.com/node/147

This is a proud moment for me.

Linda Ballou, author

Lost Angel Walkabout, One Traveler's Tales

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Great Outdoor Day # 13- Lake Cachuma-Godda Bless

If you sneeze you will miss the entrance to Lake Cachuma Recreation Area midway between Santa Barbara and Los Olivos on Highway 154. The sparkling man-made lake flanked by the Santa Ynez and San Rafael Mountains fills a valley that was once a sacred meeting place for the Chumash people. Resting in the Pacific Flyway, (read more here at Examiner)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Not all Outfitters are Created Equal - Questions You Should Ask of Your Guides

The story “Falling in the Footsteps of John Muir” in my book Lost Angel Walkabout, describes the scariest situation I’ve experienced in my travels. I tripped and fell upon a splintered log that broke two ribs. This would not have been so horrific, but I was in the heart of the High Sierras at about 10,000 feet surrounded by even taller granite spires that blocked cell phone transmissions.

The total medical arsenal of my guides consisted of one sleeping tablet. I was told the assessment of my medical situation was up to me. My young, inexperienced guides asked me what I wanted them to do! I told them I could not ride or walk five hours from the campsite to a hospital, and scribbled authorization for a helicopter on a paper bag.

This accident took place before I was a professional travel writer, and the experience taught me many lessons—most importantly that not all outfitters are created equal! When you are considering an outdoor adventure with an outfitter, ask them questions before putting your life in their hands.

Read the questions you should ask at NAABW

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rafting in the Grandest Canyon of All

Last April, I crawled out onto Shoshone Point on the South Rim and stared into the Great Abyss. It was a bit windy that day so I held onto a boulder to keep from being blown into oblivion. As I watched the fast moving clouds cast shadows upon the striated walls of amber, purple and mauve, I yearned to know the pulsing heart of the grandest gorge of them all. The terra cotta river carving its path a mile below held mysteries for me that I had to know. In May, I will meet the challenge of rafting the tumultuous Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Mode of transport—a motorized launch that gets through hairy rapids and down the entire 227 mile run in only eight days. This trip is perfect for people with time constraints who want to experience the thrill of the canyon without straining a muscle or risking an unwanted dip in bone-chilling water. The pontoon-craft used by Grand Canyon Expeditions seats 14-people and carries supplies for the all-inclusive holiday. This is an incredible time to be on the river with temps around 80 degrees, fewer rafters than in the full tilt summer season and a dazzling desert wildflower show. Visit the Grand Canyon and all of its beauty at Grand Canyon Expeditions.