Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Haines, Alaska: Gateway to Alaskan Adventures

September 5th, 2017

By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate I have been migrating from Los Angles to Haines, the prettiest little town in Southeast Alaska, for the last 40 years. Like the arctic tern in its epic 25,000- mile round trip journey and the salmon’s primordial yearning to return to the clear waters of its birth, I come home. When snow-frosted peaks of the Coastal Range that hug the tiny berg and Port Seward come into view, I mist over.  Alaska is to me austere, rugged and moody, yet thrilling in its unrelenting beauty. Haines, population 2500, was once a homely pioneer town; now Main... Read More

Riding in the Hoof Prints of Isabella Bird at the Sylvan Dale Ranch

July 26th, 2017

By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate Fired by the rapturous descriptions of Estes Park and surrounds by Isabella Bird, a plucky Englishwoman who rode 800 miles solo in the Rockies in 1873, I headed to Colorado to breathe in the beauty of the region for myself. Isabella, like many people suffering from England’s damp, came to Colorado for “the pure dry air.” With religious fervor, she waxed poetic in her travel memoir Lady of the Rockies about the granite faces of the peaks flushing crimson at day’s end. Her first stay in Colorado was with the Alexanders, squatters... Read More

Lose your Heart at the Laramie River Ranch

July 9th, 2017

By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate Krista Burleigh, leading my ride, dreamed of owning a ranch and spending her life sharing her love of the outdoors and horses with her guests. She and husband Bill, roamed the West to find the perfect spot. They picked the Laramie River Ranch for its isolation and endless miles of trails that fan from the ranch and offer a variety of terrain and great footing for the horses. I have sampled many dude ranches and the LLR offers an unrivaled, rustic, authentic western experience on the back of well-trained, fit horses. From a distance the sage-covered... Read More

Aloha Rx

May 1st, 2017

By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate   Floating face up in the Watsu pool at the Kalani Ocean Retreat that is tucked into a remote corner of the Big Island in Hawaii, I drifted in a state of embryonic innocence. Sylvie, my provider, massaged my spine gently and rotated my limbs to release joint tension. This was the first of many experiences on my quest for an Aloha fix that would include traditional lomi-lomi massage; interviewing Kumu Dane Silva, a respected native Hawaiian healer; a swim in a hot pond used for centuries by the ancestors to cleanse body, mind, and spirit;... Read More

Whale Trail Stops on the Hwy 1 Discovery Route

April 1st, 2017
Orca

By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate When Donna Sandstrom got involved with transporting Springer, a stranded orca in the Seattle harbor to his home waters in Vancouver, she didn’t know it would change her life. She became so engaged in the struggle of imperiled marine mammals she turned her energies to preserving them for future generations. She is the driving force behind the creation of the Whale Trail, that presently extends from Canada to California. It is her hope that identifying and marking the best places to spot the whales, dolphins and other marine life as they... Read More

Linda’s Conversation with Joseph Rosendo-Traveler Extraordinaire

March 2nd, 2017

By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate Travelscope, hosted by Joseph Rosendo, is a PBS television series boasting over 117 episodes that has won four Emmy Awards, and 38 Telly Awards. Introducing people to people, celebrating the cultures and wonders of the world and sharing authentic human experiences with viewers is Joseph’s primary goal. Recently I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Joseph in secluded Topanga Canyon, the artist enclave in Southern California that he calls home. Here’s how our discussion developed:  Was there a specific turning point in your life... Read More

Rock On, Morro Bay!

February 10th, 2017

By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate Every year, hundreds of birders flock to the sleepy fishing town of Morro Bay on California’s Central Coast to take part in the Audubon Birding Fest. The Pacific’s salt water mixed with the fresh water of streams flowing in the largest estuary on the west coast result in a nutrient-rich brew for thousands of birds. The charm of the rust-colored, reed-choked estuary is subtle, but upon closer inspection you will find its beauty undeniable. During the birding fest that takes place on Martin Luther King weekend, there are 140 different... Read More

Tale of Two Countries- Wilds of Zambia and Zimbabwe

October 20th, 2016

By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate Note: This is the last of  Linda’s series of three articles detailing the Ultimate Safari experience with Overseas Adventure Travel, aka OATS, in the countries of Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. She thanks photographer Tom Schwab for  the fantastic images accompanying her story are courtesy of Tom Schwab. The journey to Zambia on Overseas Adventure Travel’s Ultimate Safari began with a ferry crossing over the Zambezi River where the four corners of Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Botswana touch. Our bush camp in Zambia, with luxury... Read More

Going Solo on Safari

August 12th, 2016

By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate Note: This is a second in Linda’s series of three articles detailing the Ultimate Safari experience with Overseas Adventure Travel, aka OATS, in the countries of Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. She notes that the fantastic images accompanying her story are courtesy of Tom Schwab.  When I told friends I was going on the Ultimate Safari that would take me to Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia, their first question was, “Are you going alone?” Well, yes, but not exactly. I told them that I would join a group of 14 other travelers upon... Read More

Botswana Highlights on the Ultimate Safari

June 28th, 2016

By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate Note: This is a first in a series of three articles detailing the Ultimate Safari experience with Overseas Adventure Travel, aka OATS, in the countries of Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. There is simply too much ground to cover in one article. It’s late May in Chobe National Park, Africa’s third largest wildlife preserve, and creatures great and small are fat and sassy. Tall golden grasses are plentiful. They are the favorite of the many herds of massive elephants and a host of antelope along with Cape buffalo, zebra, and more. The... Read More