Friday, October 25, 2019

Hooked on the High Country


The sierra is a special place. This is my third time riding through here and every time I fall just a little bit more in love with these mountains.” Gillian Larsen


In 2017 I introduced you to this incredible young woman who is so hooked on the beauty of the High Country she has clocked up 10,000 miles on horseback riding the Pacific Crest Trail. 

  Since beginning her through rides  in 2014 on PCT she has learned many lessons from her horses. She says they were hard earned miles in backcountry that was sometimes too hot, too cold and too wet.

When she hits a damaged section in the trail she the finds a way to back track so she doesn’t miss any of the beautiful scenery along the way. She marches forward in a rythemic stride on trails hugging sheer canyon walls that leave no room for error. If you happen to run into a hiker or another horse pack group you can’t turn around. In forested areas, she has run into downed trees across the trail that she has had to saw through to clear the path. Snow drifts at these high elevations can also be an impassable hazard that calls for long strenuous detours.

I find Gillian to be inspiration for the novel that has been on the back burner for me for about ten years. Isabella Bird rode solo in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado in 1873.  Her feet froze to her stirrups as she climbed steadily higher in the ethereal back country. Mesmerized by the beauty of lofty crags framing jade snow-fed lakes she ventured on. Gillian is showing me how she has become addicted to the serenity and being immersed in the mountain grandeur.

Gillian says “It's all worth it though for the mind blowing amount of beauty that is out there." 

In The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon I take you from the Grand Prix jumping circuit to the eastern Sierra's. Think Wild on Horseback.  


Linda Ballou, shares a host of articles and information about her travel books on her site www.LostAngelAdventures.com.  You will find information about her novels and media offerings at www.LindaBallouauthor.com.


Subscribe to Linda’s blog www.LindaBallouTalkingtoyou.com to receive updates on books, and travel destinations and events.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Finding Solace in the High Country


In The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon Gemcie determines to ride solo on the John Muir Trail in an attempt to sort out the confusion in her life.  While trying to capture the ethereal beauty of the John Muir Wilderness, I hoped to capture the imaginations of those who have not been privileged to ride or hike in the fragile beauty of the high country.



Nevermore, no matter how weary, should one faint by the way who gains the blessings of one mountain day; whatever his fate, long life, short life, stormy or calm, he is rich forever. John Muir”- My Summer in the Sierra’s 1869

With this thought in mind I can only feel gratitude that I was able to ride amongst the spires that inspired his musings that touched my soul so deeply. I tried in my own less masterful way to bring this experience home to readers .
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On my recent trip to Yosemite I was once again inspired by the imutable beauty of the Sierra Mountains Muir loved so well.

I am very proud that The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon was a winner at the Equus Film Fest in New York. It has also won the Indie Excellence Award and is receiving 5-star Reviews on the print, kindle and audio Book!


Find a host of adventure travel articles at www.LindaBallouAuthor.com.
 Subscribe to her blog   http://lindaballoutalkingtoyou.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Nature can be our Salvation - Big Blend Radio Interview


Lisa, and her mother Nancy, host a show honoring National Parks about the globe. Several of the day trips in my latest book Lost Angel in Paradise.   They were especially interested to learn more about the Santa Monica Mountains and the effects of the horrific Woolsey fire in 2018. I really enjoyed chatting with them and sharing why I just had to write this book.  Please join us on a journey up the coast of California.




 My travel collection Lost Angel Walkabout is an armchair traveler’s delight. While living in Hawaii, I found nurturing, a spiritual awakening and the heroine for my historical novel, Wai-nani: A Voice from Old Hawaii set in pre-contact Hawai’i. In 2015 I published The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon an action-adventure, new-adult novel set in California where I reside today.  Today, I enjoy guest ranches and horse treks with outfitters. In addition, I am the adventure travel expert for the National Association of Baby Boomer Women. Please stop by my site where you will find travel articles, photo essays and more about my books.  www.LindaBallouAuthor.com

Presently, I am focused on getting to as many beautiful places I can before they are gone! That is why I created this web page www.LostAngelAdventures.com dedicated to travel.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Romancing the Soul

                 How about spending some time romancing your soul?

Humans do not “save beauty”; rather beauty saves us. Gretel Ehrlich



The soul craves beauty. It wants to be in the world and to breathe in crisp air, to smell the sweet tang of orange blossoms and to know the happy faces of poppies in the spring.The sight of patches of yellow canyon daisies blanketing the meadows brighten the psyche, lifting the gauze of depression that can set in with too much of doing what must be done.


The soul is refreshed when the body is in motion with blood pumping to muscles awakened in a brisk walk.

 The soul wants to see, to feel, to absorb, to touch, and to be alive. The soul seeks balance and harmony. It wants equilibrium and finds it in nature, in art, and in music. To keep the rust off your soul and your spirits soaring, seek out beauty in each of your precious days.

That is is what my new book Lost Angel in Paradise is all about! 
In it I share the beautiful days along the Califoria Coast that have helped me achieve balance and harmony in my life.
                                                     LostAngelAdventures.com
Adventure-travel writer, Linda Ballou, has a host of travel articles on her site, along with information about her travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales, her historical novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i and her latest action-adventure novel The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon at-www.LindaBallouAuthor.com.


  Subscribe to my blog www.LindaBallouTalkingtoyou.com and receive updates on her books, and travel destinations.




Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Rancho Del Oso – Where Redwoods Meet the Sea

Waddell Beach is a wild stretch of surf eighteen miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway One. I was driving to San Francisco from L. A. when the rust colored meadow with its muted mauve and lavender grasses lacing the winding sea-bound creek called to me. Flashes of ducks, geese, and other shorebirds stirred my birding instincts. I yearned to know the valley that stretches from the beach into the redwood basin better, so when I visited friends in nearby Felton during the holidays, I asked them to share this
treasure.
Rancho Del Oso Nature Preserve turned out to be a local favorite. An easy, wide trail winds through beach, marsh, stream, and a riparian corridor. Self-guided trail maps can be easily obtained at the nature center about a half-mile into the park. Guided walks are provided on the weekends by docents. A horse camp is available for equestrians who bring their own mounts. Along with the equestrian trails in the park are trails for hikers and bikers. Monterey pines, mixed woodland, redwoods, coastal scrub, and mountain chaparral create a collage of color and shapes fringing the broad meadow of the Theodore Hoover National Preserve bordering Waddell Beach Park.
Most hikers are content to take the lower trail from the beach up to Berry Creek Falls, felt by many to be the most beautiful falls in all of the Santa Cruz Parks. Across from the falls is a platform with benches affording fine views and a good place to picnic. The clever hiker can have a friend drop them off at the Park Headquarters at the top of Big Basin and hike about five hours down to Waddell Beach. An afternoon bus from Waddell Beach returns to Santa Cruz. Be sure to check times and schedules before making that commitment. The ambitious hiker may take the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail thirteen miles to the top of the basin and enjoy extravagant vistas. Big Basin is California’s oldest state park, established in 1902 to save the ancient redwood forests. The park has grown to more than 18,000 acres with more than 80 miles of trails passing among streams, waterfalls, and old-growth redwoods.
Redwoods were heavily logged in the basin by William Waddell from 1867 to 1875. Logging stopped when he was killed by a grizzly bear, and the valley became known as the canyon of the bear. Grizzly bears have not been seen in the area since the 1920s. In 1913 Theodore Hoover was able to buy much of Waddell Creek watershed. His Rancho Del Oso encompassed about 3,000 acres, reaching from the ocean to the boundary of Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
 Since that time, five generations of his family have lived here. There are still private family homes bordering the parkland. I felt a twinge of envy as we strolled past the neatly trimmed redwood homesteads of his descendants. The sun was smiling on their meadow bright with yellow wildflowers, dotted with persimmon trees heavy with orange globe. Neat rows of purple cabbage and a variety of lettuces fanned across the foothills. A thick hedge of berry bush brambles surrounded the fields to keep the deer and wild pigs from harvesting the crops.
We crossed a wooden bridge and walked beside Waddell Creek where the remains of a cement weir are used in the biological study of fish. During spring and winter months you may see mature steelhead and salmon in deep pools. President Hoover, an enthusiastic angler, fished here when he visited his brother. As a state park, the stream is now closed to fishing.

When we entered the deep redwood forest, the temperature dropped ten degrees. The cool breath of the towering monsters felt like a deep drink of soothing water. Lacy ferns nestle at the base of the trees ensconced in brilliant green moss. A gauze of Spanish moss draped the upper limbs of the evergreens. Warblers flashed through the still forest, illuminated by beams of light streaming through the protective arms overhead. I strained to see the birds I heard chirping. A kingfisher, a red-tailed hawk fat from easy pickings, and the flash of a stellar jay were all I could see.

As we were leaving, a wedge of pelican came in for a splash landing in the estuary. Curlew poked for treats in the mud at low tide. I wanted to stay longer to explore quietly on my own, but the fog was rolling in and it was time to go. I vowed to return to see the wildflowers in the spring and feel the cool forests in the summer. The constantly changing panorama of this natural wonderland is so varied it demands that the hiker come back for more.
Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center is within the coastal section of Big Basin Redwoods State ParkYou may park at Waddell Beach Park across from the trail head to Rancho Del Oso. There is parking on the surf side of the Highway. You can explore the wetlands, rocky tide pools, or hike anytime of the year.
Guided nature walks at the Rancho Del Oso Nature Center 831-427-2288
This a list of the hike options at Rancho Del Oso http://bit.ly/2jbSraL
Big Basin Redwood State Park Headquarters, where the Skyline-to Sea-Hike begins, is hosts to numerous trails spiraling throughout the redwood forest. There is also a nature museum with stuffed animal, bird, and inspect specimens on display. 
Big Basin Headquarters http://bit.ly/2ikWjlB
21600 Big Basin Way in Boulder Creek 831-338-8860

Boulder Creek, a charming village nearby Park Headquarters is a good place to stay.


 Subscribe to my blog www.LindaBallouTalkingtoyou.com and receive updates on her books, and travel destinations. I  share my favorite hikes along the California Coast from Los Angeles to the Lost Coast in Lost Angel in Paradise. Available in print and e-book format.






Friday, October 4, 2019

First Family of Malibu




I am very proud that Lost Angel in Paradise is sitting prominently on a shelf in the gift shop of the Adamson House.  This iconic spanish landmark overlooking Surf Riders Beach in Malibu is often missed by visitors to my fair state. You can stroll the lovely grounds and take the docent led tour to learn about the first family of Malibu
 

  The Adamson’s architects took full advantage of the vistas of the sparkling Pacific. Portholes were placed in the upstairs study to give Mr. Adamson the effect of being at sea.  The home was procured by imminent domain by the state and spared the fate of becoming a parking lot because of the extensive use of the marvelous tiles throughout the home produced in Mae Rindge’s tile factory. Electric blue accents in terra cotta tiles in the fountains and courtyard echo the blue of the sequined Pacific.

This is one of 32- day trips I share in my book Lost Angel in Paradise. A love affair with the coast of Californa
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