Monday, November 7, 2011

Linda answers the question "Why Do We Write?"

Linda at work 
I’m a writer – if I stop writing, I am nothing. -Wilbur Smith? Is this true

Sonia Rumzi, author of women's fiction asks Linda pointed questions about being a writer and why she chose to write Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawaii

What motivates you to write?

The goal is self-actualization. Writing expands and excites my universe while providing purpose to my adventures. It is my form artistic self-expression that allows me to be a part of the “Long Conversation” that is our civilization.

Read more of the interview here

Friday, November 4, 2011

Wild West Wander in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, Part I

The San Juan Skyway extends through sage-littered plains, up verdant river valleys to lofty peaks streaked with snow and alpine cirques glistening in the sun. The 236-mile loop in southwest Colorado can be done on less than a tank of gas in a day, but it deserves a lifetime of exploration. In this two-piece series, I share how a person of average fitness can get into the heart-catching scenery without tapping their 401K. The best ways to take in the rugged terrain are on foot, horseback, 4×4 vehicle, or on a turn-of the-century steam train.
The journey through this soul-stirring stretch of the Rockies begins in Durango, the gateway to the Four Corners region. There are stops in Mancos, Mesa Verde, Telluride the glamour girl of the mountains, Ouray the sweet spot in the San Juans, and Silverton the heart of the high country.

A whistle blast from the Durango-Silverton train signaled all aboard. The longest continuous running line in the country was completed in 1878 at a cost of $1,000 per foot.

Men were lowered over the cliffs on ropes to plant sticks of dynamite into the rock face, and then had to be lifted out just before the blasts. I gazed out over the heart-catching chasm where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid made their famous leap into the churning Animas River.

Two hours into the rugged canyon aboard the rockabilly train brought us to Needleton (9,000 ft) where well marked trails radiate deep into the mountains. Backpackers headed for Chicago Basin on a steady bun-burning climb to campsites in the Weminuche Wilderness. I opted for a day hike on Purgatory Trail that sticks close to the bottle-green river. It leads through a shady grove of aspen lined with asters and gold capped mushrooms.

After enjoying a ham and brie sandwich from Bread, the local bakery in Durango,

Read more here

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tales Told From the Review of Lost Angel by Dick Jordan

Adventure travel writer Linda Ballou knows how to bring home a great story when she goes on a trip:  Get into trouble.  For her, the deeper the water, the fouler the weather, the more hazards underfoot and overhead, the better the story will be to tell.

Think about the alternative.  You come back from your journey and tell your friends and family that you encountered no flights delays, no bad meals, no lost or stolen personal items, no bed bugs at your hotel, and not a drop of rain fell on your head.  How do they respond to this tale of no-woe-at-all?  By yawning.
There is no danger that you will nod off reading Ballou’s Lost Angel Walkabout: One Traveler’s Tales.  Instead, you want to yell “No, Linda don’t go there!’ or “Linda, whatever we’re you thinking?”, or “Watch out, Linda!  Watch out!

 Read the review here

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Praise for Wai-nani from The Best Travel Novels



I love books that tell a great story but I want to learn something at the same time. I knew that since Linda Ballou was a travel writer that I would learn about Hawaii but what I didn't realize is that she is a beautiful writer. This story takes place at the time in history where the Hawaiians are introduced to the Europeans as seen from the Hawaiian viewpoint. It is a lush story about a strong woman living in a warlike country. Just get that picture of peaceful Hawaiians out of your head. She weaves a tale that keeps you intrigued all the way to the end. This is a great read about a fierce heroine.

Say hello to adventure travel writer Linda Ballou
A love triangle of extremes has proven to be a solid base for my writing. From my roots in Alaska I received strength, centeredness, and respect for the awful power of nature.  While living in Hawaii I found nurturing, a spiritual awakening, sensuality and the heroine for my historical novel, Wai-nani High Chiefess of Hawaii: Her Epic Journey. In proud California I obtained a degree in English Literature from Northridge University and a doctorate in urban savvy. My non-fiction book Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales is a spirited collection of travel narratives. I live in Los Angeles where I continue to enjoy exciting contacts, and friends.
Read the interview here

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How To Stop a Train in its Tracks

The fastest way to get into the wilds of the San Juan Mountains in Southwest Colorado is to hop onboard the Durango-Silverton historic sream train. Rock and roll your way up to Needleton, where you leave the train, and join other hikers on the many trails that radiate through the mountains from this point. If you are coming from sea level like me, you will likely need time to acclimate to the higher elevations. This perfect first day jettisons you into the roadless forest with little effort on your part. You can stroll, or hike and take time for a picnic beside the Animas River, but whatever you do, don't miss the train ride back to Durango! If you lose track of time you could find yourself spending a night that tests your survivial skills. No cell service means no helicopters to the rescue.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rafting in the Wake of Georgie White - Wildcat of the Grand Canyon

“Wake up people! Find your behind and sit on it,” Captain Adam yelled over the roar of the monster wave spilling into a 20-foot hole- dead ahead. Lava Falls is the most fearsome rapids on the 227-mile Grand Canyon run. I bolted from my day-dreaming position on the warm pontoon. While drifting between walls of black porous rock once inside the cone of a volcano, I'd sunk into river time. When we floated past the enormous basalt plug in the middle of the river, I'd forgotten that it meant we were approaching Lava Falls and that I was holding a one-way ticket home.

Read more here at Real Travel Adventures

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Interview with Birding Adventurer – James Currie

James Currie is the driving force behind Nikon Birding Adventures TV which focuses on destination and adventure bird-watching. He explores the best exotic birding destinations on the planet; the most unusual, rare and highly sought after bird species; amazing cultures and wildlife. He is the informative, passionate – and sometimes crazy! – host for BATV that portrays a unique blend of information and adventure, making bird-watching refreshing, contemporary, interesting and exciting. The program has a strong conservation emphasis and highlights the importance and urgency of preserving the planet’s incredible birdlife.

LB: What got you started in this career? Was there a pivotal event in your life that brought you to being a birding adventurer?

JC: I started as a birder really young. My folks owned a restaurant on the slopes of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa and it was there that I first found my love for birds, wildlife and the outdoors. But the moment that really got me hooked was pretty awe-inspiring. I was sitting on a granite boulder on the mountain watching some Rock Hyraxes (Rabbit-like creatures) when a massive Black Eagle swooped in and picked one off right in front of me. I remember being transfixed by the bird’s power, beauty and mastery of flight. From that day on I started trying to see as many birds as possible.

Read more of the interview here

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Birding - Purposeful Lollygagging

Birding is the second fastest growing sport in America. Sixty-five million of us are rising at ungodly hours to steal through estuaries and woodlands hoping to spy the flash of a wing. Some of us spend fortunes enticing our avian friends to our back yards. Why?

   (1) Birding is an opportunity for purposeful lollygagging. We must go slowly to catch a glimpse of the vast variety of birds that share the planet with us. A stroll through dew-laden meadows can garner sightings of warblers, finches, bluebirds, and meadow larks swaying on a stem. The seldom seen sora and the ubiquitous great blue heron are found in wetlands along with egrets and dabbling ducks. White pelicans that we associate with the sea migrate to fresh-water stopovers during winter like many other long distance travelers. Slowing down allows you to spot all of these wonderful variations in nature.

Read more here at NABBW

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Great Outdoor Day in L.A. #17 - Get Your Zzzz's Zuma to Spruzzo's

One of the less-traveled trails in the Santa Monica Mountains is hidden in Zuma Canyon. Enjoy a leisure cruise up Bonsail Drive off Pacific Coast Highway, opposite Westward Beach and past celebrity haciendas with mounds of brilliant bougainvillea spilling over white walls to a dirt road that deposits you at the trail head.  A steep accent to ocean view and canyon views is a favorite of equestrians so you may run into the horsey set on this trek. Most hikers take the trail up canyon with

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Surf’s UP - Master of the Waves

 Did you ever try to imagine what it was like to be an expert surfer riding the biggest waves in the world? I spent hours watching surfers sift in and out of the waves at Surf Riders Beach in Malibu taking note of their every movement trying to capture in words what it must be like for them to ride the waves.

Clark Little’s incredible photography allowed me to be with him in the belly of thirty foot waves on the north shore of Oahu where he lives. He has mastered the fine art of capturing the dynamic energy of the waves with his camera. He rolls in the surf dangerously close to the crushing monsters to get the best shot.

If you look closely at this iconic shot you will see King Kamehameha the Great standing on the tip of the curl with his crested Helmut and sword in his hand. In my novel Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawaii, I describe the royals skittering across the waves on long koa boards. Wai-nani swims with her dolphin friend Eku and rides the waves with him, as well as her lover Makaha. Clarke’s award winning images inspired and excited my imagination. He took me as close to the shimmering heart of the waves as I ever will be.

Clark opened a second gallery on the mainland in Laguna Beach a year ago. Go to his site
to view his gallery and receive notices of future events.