Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Purgatory or Paradise

My mission is to get to as many beautiful places that I can before they are gone! It looks like the climate crisis is putting an even greater urgency on my quest than ever before. I have been working on getting to Australia for a while. Now, that I am booked with Overseas Adventure Travel on their Ultimate Australia tour the place is on fire. I don't know if I'm heading for purgatory or paradise! One thing for certain I'm going! I will give you a full report of what areas are being most heavily impacted and those that are not.
I am touring Tasmania on my own with Air B&B bookings around the Island state. My last stop will be the Blue Mountains which is a two hour train ride out of Sydney. Fires definitely have sullied the air there, but hopefully it will have cleared by the time I arrive in Feb. If so, it will be a great capper to an incredible journey.

Wish me luck! I am wishing you all the best of luck for fabulous New Year!

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.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Kudos for The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon

Take a thrilling ride from the Grand Prix jumping circuit to the wilds of the John Muir Wilderness with Gemcie on her trail to self-discovery.

 In the story Gemcie is on her way to the World Cup when she is injured and has to give up professional riding. She determines to ride solo on the John Muir Trail in an attempt to sort out the confusion in her life. It was quite a leap of faith for me to publish this story.  Writing it was part of my own healing process when I had to give up riding do to my own injury.

 I am so pleased that The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon was a finalist in the Indie Excellence Awards and the Founder's Choice at the Equus Film Fest.  Cowgirl has received numerous 5-Star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads from horse lovers and general readers alike. Here are some of my favorite comments from readers

“Horses. Romance. Adventure - who could need anything more from a book?

“ I could smell the leather and sweat, feel the wind buffeting the flags at the shows, hear the whispers of the trees when Gemcie was out in the trail.”

“ Her writing is so descriptive that you feel you are in the saddle and experiencing everything Gemcie does. The words describing the amazing mountains makes you able to feel the wind and smell the rain.”

“Grand Pix has never been more intriguing! Linda Ballou creates a scenario of charismatic characters, beautiful surroundings, incredible inspiration, and horse adventure. “

The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon on   Audible and Amazon.usAmazon.us and Amazon.uk

Linda Ballou is an adventure travel writer with a host of travel articles on her site, along with information about her travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales; historical novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i; as well as her novel The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon at-www.LindaBallouAuthor.com.

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

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Magic of the Season

This year I ticked off several of my bucket list adventures. It seemed everyone I know has been to Bryce, Zion and Yosemite but me, so I made it my mission to reach those destinations. Zion did not disappoint, but most of the trails were closed due to heavy snow. The famous “Tunnel Road” to Bryce was closed! I had to take Hwy 14, a circuitous route to Bryce.  Towering snow berms framed the snaking mountain road that took me to the top of world and views to eternity. About that time my car starting talking to me.  It would not let me know exactly what was wrong adding to my consternation. It was a long tow to anywhere, so I just kept the pedal to the medal and breathed a sigh of relief when I finally got to my lodging.
Here is a piece I wrote about Zion  and  Bryce Canyon. 

Watchman Trail -Zion

In Yosemite, I stayed at Tenaya Lodge on the south gate of the park. It was a 35 mile drive to the valley floor where most of the major attractions are located, so I spent more time in the Mariposa Grove, Wawona and Glacier Point. All three are fabulous destinations without the crowds. I feel fortunate to live in such close proximity to the wonders of Yosemite and hope to return again and explore the higher regions John Muir loved so well.
Link Yosemite: You Must Come and See 
Mariposa Grove-Yosemeti

Much of this year was spent defining priorities and taking stock of what I have accomplished thus far in my brief time on the planet. My mission remains to get to as many beautiful places I can before they are gone. With that thought in mind I am heading “Down Under” in January 2020. Wildfires raging out of control, record temps attributed to global warming and a hideous drought that has ravaged the country will not stop me. I will give you a full report when I return from the “Sunburned Country.”
Until then, wishing you a joyous and prosperous New Year filled with adventure.

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.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Heavenly Hikes in Hawaii

Mark Twain described the Hawaiian Islands as the “prettiest archipelago ever to lay anchor in the South Pacific.” I agree, but so do millions of other travelers! Still, you can find serenity in a sublime setting if you bend an effort to get off the beaten track. Here are a few of my favorite less-traveled trails.
Maunawili Demonstration Trail, Oahu
Oahu, the gathering place where millions enjoy the healing waters of Waikiki, is perhaps the hardest island to find respite from crowds. On a recent trip, however, I stumbled upon the Maunawili Demonstration Trail, a high and dry path hugging the canyon wall overlooking Kailua town and the shimmering Pacific far below. It is an Eden-like track framed in lush ti plants, huge fanning tree ferns, kukui trees, wild orchids, and an amazing variety of mosses and frilly ferns. The only sound is the music of thousands of birds flitting about in the tree canopy.
Clearings open to the fluted walls of the Ko’olau Mountain range sheathed in shaggy green verdure. The trailhead is at the first scenic lookout after you leave the second tunnel on the Pali Highway, the main artery from Honolulu to Kailua. There have been closures on the highway in need of repairs. Be alert to traffic signs indicating what days it will be open.
The Sleeping Giant, or Nounou Trail, Kauai
I love the famous Kalalau trail that traces the Napali Coast of Kauai, but it is heavily trafficked.
The Sleeping Giant, or Nounou Trail behind Kapaa town is a nice alternative. The 4-miles in and back is mostly frequented by locals. It can be muddy and is a bit of a climb, but worth it to enjoy stunning views of the coastline.
Tropical foliage abundant with blooms frames the path. Take a breather at the rest stop at the top of the hike to meditate on the beauty before you continue for a longer hike.
The trailhead is located in the Wailua House parking lots at the top of Haleilo Road near the water pump station.
Kilauea Iki Trail, Big Island of Hawai’i
Due to earthquakes and lava flows on the flank of Kilauea Volcano on The Big Island of Hawai’i, the Kilauea Iki Trail was closed in 2018.
When I hiked it in 2014, you could go across the crater floor to the Thurston Lava tube on the other side of the caldera.
It has re-opened, but now it is a 4-mile in and out that takes you on switchbacks down the inside of the sleeping caldera.
When you reach the crater floor, steaming fumaroles warn of impending danger. Stay on the track marked by rock cairn or risk melting the soles of your shoes. The trailhead is at the Volcanoes National Park Visitors Center.
Bamboo forest trail in Hana, Maui
Rise early and drive the Hana Highway through sparkling, dew-laden meadows, stopping to take in splendid Wailua Falls along the way to Haleakala National Park in Hana. The Pipiwai Trail is a root and rock-strewn path that traces a death-defying gorge up to the Waimoku Falls, a 400-foot plunge down a sheer rock face.
A portion of the track goes through a towering wind-whipped bamboo forest that felt like being inside a giant wind chime. At the end of the hike take a plunge in the Seven Sacred Pools.
Spend a night in Hana to avoid the crowds arriving on tour buses around 11:00 AM. There are several budget options listed on airbnb in Hana. This will allow you to enjoy the famous Road to Hana and this very popular trail.
Halawa Valley on Moloka’i
The sacred Halawa Valley located on Moloka’i, the least molested of the Hawaiian Islands, was the home of the first Polynesian settlers around 570 A.D. You may hike to Moa’ula Falls with a Hawaiian guide and swim in the bracing pool beneath the falls.
A shroud of mystery hangs over Moloka’i, the home to priests that could pray a person to death. The great lizard Mo’ guards the pool where Hina the Goddess of the Moon resides in a nearby cave.
At the trailhead, you are greeted by a descendant of those who lived in valley where Hawaiians continue to raise taro and pound it to poi—the pasty purple staple of the people of old.
You are given a welcoming honi (forehead to forehead nose rub) and blessing then assigned to a guide for the walk. This 3.4 mile walk in and out is on private property, so you need to make a reservation to enter. There is a fee, but in my opinion it is worth it; you are supporting the Ohana, or Hawaiian family that resides there.
Alltrails.com, whose trail links I have supplied here, is a handy app that gives information on trails around the globe. Subscription $29.99 annually.
Wai-nani: A Voice from Old Hawai’i
Linda Ballou is the author of Wai-nani: A Voice from Old Hawai’i set in pre-contact Hawai’i. If you purchase Wai-nani on her site, www.LindaBallouAuthor.com, you will receive Wai-nani’s Wayfinder a map of sacred sites on the Big Island, that Linda created.
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