Areas of Expertise of Linda Ballou
Costa Rica –  Most recently, Linda enjoyed hiking, biking and kayaking throughout Costa Rica with Active South America.  Rafting the Pacaure River through an impentrable jungle with brilliant blooms and wafting butterflies beneath a brilliant blue sky was reason enough to take this memorable journey, but there was so much more to explore.  See more...

“Finding the Real Gold in Costa Rica”- Real Travel Adventures,  for May, 2007 

Linda is an equestrian capable of evaluating any riding opportunity. She has been published in Equus, Horse Illustrated and Western Horseman and is proud to call herself a horse-person. 

“To Ride Among the Clouds”-Equus Magazine, 2003

“It's Heaven, Dude! - Real Travel Adventures Magazine, 2005

“Guest Ranches: More About People than Horses”- Real Travel Adventures Magazine, 2002

The Santa Monica Mountain Recreation Area is the largest urban preserve in the world. She hikes in it weekly and has accumulated a dozen “Great Outdoor Days in L.A.” that any reasonably fit person can enjoy.  They begin with an off-the-beaten-track trail, details about flora, fauna and natural history of the region and end with a great place to eat.  

Linda is keen on the Eastern Sierras and points on the way along the 395 Highway through Owens Valley. “Falling in the Footsteps of John Muir” is an essay inspired by this region which is close to her home and easily accessed by hiking or horseback. She would relish any assignments here. 

Linda's family has pioneer status in Southeastern Alaska. She goes home every couple of years, which gives her a then and now prospective as is illustrated in “Haines the More it Changes the More it Stays the Same.” She has an intimate knowledge of the culture and nuances of this historically significant region. Her main experiences have taken place in the Chilkat River Valley, Glacier Bay, Skagway, Juneau and other coastal towns located on the Inside Passage. In 2006, she rafted the Tatshenshini River from its headwaters in the Yukon through a 24-million acre arctic-wilderness to the Gulf of Alaska. 
Slow Blowing Dream-Tatshenshini River”-Real Travel Adventures, 2007
“Whale Watching in Icy Straights”- ANG Newspapers, 2003

In the process of researching for an historical fiction novel, Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawai`i: Her Ancient Journey, Linda learned a great deal about life in the Hawaiian Islands prior to European contact. While living on the island of Kauai, she studied the mythology, history, and culture of ancient Hawaii. During her stay, she circumnavigated the island on a 32- foot sailboat and  hiked many wonderful trails to sacred places. She explored the Big Island of Hawaii extensively, and was blessed with two nights in Waipio Valley or Valley of the Kings (subsequently closed to overnight commercial establishments). Essays inspired by visits to Hawaii are included in her travel collection, Lost Angel Walkabout:  The Day I Became a Sailor and in Waipio- Where the Gods Come Close.

Bozeman, Montana, and outlying environs, hold a special place in Linda's heart. She plans to return to Big Sky country in June/July of 2007 to drive the Beartooth Highway, touted the most scenic byway in America. She will stay at Spotted Horse Guest Ranch, do some riding and hiking in the Grand Teton National Park, capped off with a days float down the Snake River that flows through Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Two years ago, she rafted the Salmon River of No Return in nearby Idaho and has published several articles about that region as well. 
“Nobody Goes There Just Once” – Northwest Travel Magazine, 2005
Bringing it Home in the Big Hole” - River Walk Literary Journal, 2005
Safari on the Salmon River” - Real Travel Adventure, 2005

The San Juan Skyway in Colorado is a 232-mile loop that goes from Durango through Telluride, Ouray and Silverton, taking the traveler through some of the most rugged country in Southwestern Colorado. Linda spent time at several of the guest ranches on this route and has researched this region extensively. Any excuse to return to this sublimely beautiful part of the old west would be appreciated.  

“To Ride Among the Clouds at Skyline Ranch”-Equus, 2003
 “The Best of the West”-Grit, 2003

Moab, Utah, a gritty desert town, is the gateway to Arches and Canyonlands as well as the jump off point for many river trips. Along with Edward Abbey, she found this spectacular setting mystical, untamed and gorgeous. She has researched this area for articles and enjoyed a week kayaking on the Green River where it flows through Labyrinth Canyon.

River Wise" Real Travel Adventures," 2003

Linda hiked, biked and kayaked  around the South Island of New Zealand on a multi-sport adventure with Active New Zealand.  This followed up with a week of independent travel on the North Island inspired a half dozen pieces.  Not lost on Hollywood, The Lord of the Rings, Hercules and more were filmed here in the other land down under.

“No Worries, Mate”- Travel World, 2003

Tiritiri Mitangi- For the Birds”- SoGoNow, 2006 

Ahiking holiday in New England’s White Mountains inspired three published articles. Two are available below:

Peak Experience” – Travel Specialty Index, 2006  

The Good of Going to the Mountains”- Travel World and SoGoNow, 2006 

Birding, the fastest growing outdoor industry in the U.S. is of special interest to Linda.  She would love to follow the extensive birding routes throughout the U.S. detailed in Audubon Magazine.    

From the dizzying heights of the northern Andes to the depths of the Amazon basin, and everything in between, there is a lot more to Ecuador than the famous Galapagos Islands 600-miles off shore. Quito (9300 feet) a modern city surrounded by snow-capped volcanos that go to 19,000 feet is the gateway to outdoor adventures in this land of extremes. I chose to spend a week at Sacha Lodge nestled in a 5,000 preserve on the Napo River a tributary to the Amazon totally immersed in nature. Then I returned to Quito where I joined nine other equestriennes on a 4-day romp riding across the slopes of sacred Umburu volcano overlooking pastoral villages of the Otavalo Valley. See more photos.

Areas of Expertise

To sum things up, Linda is best at outdoor adventures. She's not what you would call a “foodie,” but she does appreciate fine cuisine and good wine. She has an environmental conscience, but treads lightly on those types of issues. Her research includes literary essays, novels and dusting off archives before a trip so that she can interject juicy tidbits not found in the typical travel piece on an often visited destination.  Linda has written many articles on her travels, both published and unpublished, which are available for publication.

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Photos by Linda Ballou

Linda doesn’t know what took her so long to discover the wonders of her closest neighbor Arizona. A stay at the Elkhorn Ranch nestled in the Sabino Canyon a stone’s throw from the Mexican border let her know majesty of the purple Sierrita Mountains and the thrill of a desert storm. A taste of the Wild West in Wickenburg, half-way between Phoenix and Sedona, where some of mother natures finest handwork is on display, made her want to know more about the legends and lore of the mysterious southwest. It’s not just the largest gash in the earth that’s grand in Arizona.  (Photo by Jake Tuckey).  See more ...

Linda is a Hawai’i aficionado. Research for her novel Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawai’i called for numerous trips to the Islands. She visited sacred sites, interviewed healing Kumu Dane Silva, spent several nights in Waipio Valley where the bones of ancient chiefs are hidden in caves in the cliffs framing the lush valley. There are numerous articles on her site set in the Islands including Healing Hawaiian Holiday where she takes readers to healing venues on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Learn more about the talks she gives about the Islands on her Media Offerings page See more...