These are some of the awe-inspiring places that fill Linda's photo albums.
Above is Alsek Bay, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
(All photos by Linda Ballou and copyrighted. Not for use without permission).
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). More Photos. Arches -Canyonlands just outside of Moab, Utah. Kayaking on the serene Green River that slithers through the sandstone monoliths of Labyrinth Canyon is a haunting journey detailed in my article River Wise. You will recognize Mesa Arch, used as a backdrop in numerous commercials and Broadway Canyon another distinctive features in Arches National Park. More Photos.
The San Juan Skyway in southwestern Colorado is a 132 mile highway loop that takes the traveler through some of the grandest country this bountiful state has to offer. A stay at Skyline Ranch that rests just outside of Telluride at a heavenly 9,600 feet surrounded by 14,000 foot crags is an ethereal experience. Highlights on this drive are Bridal Veil Falls, the curvaceous Million Dollar Drive to Silverton, a lonely remnant of mining days gone by that can also be reached by the historic steam train that chugs up a rugged ravine each day from Durango. More Photos. Haines, the prettiest little town in all Southeast Alaska, sits at the top of the Lynn Canal, better known as the Inside Passage. All of these photos were taken in and around the tiny berg that has become the jump off point to a host of outdoor adventures from heli-skiing in the winter to river rafting in the summer. In the article, "Haines -The More it Changes the More it Stays the Same" I talk about my hometown and what it offers. More photos. Perhaps, the most memorable of my adventures is Alaska took place when I joined Chilkat River Guides on a rafting expedition from the Yukon Territory on the 140 mile run to the Gulf of Alaska. This journey takes the traveler through a 24-million acre roadless artic wilderness declared a World Heritage site in 1993. I was at peace floating through “Raven’s World” one of one of the last bastions of the grizzly, wolf, eagle, and moose — free from the flotsam of mankind. More Photos. Montana begs for a wide angle lens and plenty of time to try to capture the endless beauty that waits around each bend in the road. My favorite wildflower meadow beside the country byway that purls beside Big Hole River in Big Basin forced me to put on the brakes! The falls on Yellowstone River, the steaming fumaroles and spouting geysers found in our first national park are just a few of the marvels in this fascinating corner of the world. More photos. The twenty-seven mile stretch of coastline in Southern California called Malibu, is where I spend my days off. First I hike one of the many trails in the Santa Monica Mountains, the largest urban preserve in the world. Then I cruise on one of the canyon drives down to the shore for a seafood feast. This topped off with a nap on the sand is for me a perfect outdoor day that provides me solace from urban living and sustenance to do my best in life. My article, "To Be Where the Sanded Gentry Play-California Coast and Ocean", was published in Coast and Oceans Magazine. I continue to explore and research for my collection of Great Outdoor Days in L.A. More Photos.
Hawaii, “The prettiest fleet of Islands ever to lay anchor in the South Pacific,” according to Mark Twain, has been photographed more than any place on earth. Still, the most carefree year of my life, was spent in an idle on the garden isle of Kauai, so I will add a few of my favorite images to the brew. My 30-year love affair with the Islands culminated in an historical fiction novel, Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawai`i: Her Ancient Journey, to be published in 2008. More Photos. New Zealand - the God Zone. Can there be a more photogenic destination than the “other land down under?” Spreading the ferns lining the trail to Wombat Lake I could see white frosty peaks jutting into azure skies. The contrast of bio-realms so closely aligned is striking. Bizarre, endemic tree-species and creatures give New Zealand an other worldly feel not lost on Hollywood. Enlightened, gentle, friendly “Kiwis” embrace tourism and keep their isolated, island domain pristine for all to enjoy. More photos. If burnished gold, bronze, and burgundy leaves falling like confetti in a scintillating breeze don’t grab you, maybe gushing streams that tumble into silver cascades will. Hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire in the fall was something I just had to do before I died. If only I can get there once more. More Photos. A float through the lush rain forest that lines the Pacaure River in Costa Rica lets you see how the world was when man was just a sparkle in the creator’s eye. Twenty-five percent of the poster-child for eco-tourism is preserved from encroaching development and logging. Ticos allow visitors to explore raw nature in a politically safe environment with friendly guides and clean lodgings. Devine diversity awaits you in this charming country. More Photos.
The Beartooth Highway begins in Red Lodge Montana and ends at Cook City on the edge of the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone is touted as being the most scenic byway in America. It is also under the threat of having it’s kinks taken out and being widened. It corkscrews up a precipitous pass to reach a plateau at about 10,000 feet. So compelled was Linda to dive this famed highway to the top of the world before it was forever changed, she was willing to face down her fear of heights. Once aloft, she says it is like stepping outside of an airplane window where the air is ethereal and the world is bathed in light.
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Photos by Linda Ballou