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American Samoa, a US National Park

When I was in line at the ticket counter for my flight from Honolulu to Pago Pago, American Samoa, I found that I was the only Haole a.k.a. White Girl. All of the other passengers were Samoan and they were huge. Let’s just say that they looked like they were in line for the NFL draft—even the men. Being the only haole, I realized that mainlanders either have never heard of Samoa or they are too scared to visit. When my turn came to check in, the ticket agent told me that I couldn’t board the plane. “You’re underweight.” I said, “I’m an exercise physiologist on a mission.” She gave me a boarding pass.
When I went through customs at Pago Pago Airport, the agent asked the reason for my trip. I said, “It was a dare.”
I hiked on the north side of the island, straight up the thick rain forest to the ridge. It was so humid I could smell photosynthesis. What does photosynthesis smell like? Damp green, a new shade I invented. On the trail I brought plenty of water and, in case I became lost, agent orange.

32nd Anniversary celebrated in Purgatory

Happy Anniversary to me and welcome to Purgatory . . . Resort. If I knew that Purgatory were a beautiful place to absolve my work sins, then I would have been a health & fitness quack. Instead, I’m celebrating 32 years of sainthood and a lifetime of exploring the globe.
I went on a two-hour tour with Snowmobile Adventures at Purgatory Resort. Four guests on 3 snowmobiles followed Ben aka Bella, a wise-cracking mountain goat. When I walked up to check in he said, “The hot air balloon ride was cancelled. Not enough wind.” I said, “Good. I was too scared anyway,” and walked away. He said, “Wait! Where are you going?” I turned back and laughed. I’m not an amateur at improv, ya’ know.
We rode 20-30 miles on freshly groomed—by us—fresh pow pow in the San Juan Mountains just north of Durango, Colorado. Up at 12,000 feet, 3,000 from where we started, I looked up at the sky and allowed the snow to speckle my face and I said three Hail Marys—just in case.

Sedona & Grand Canyon, Arizona

After moving here, I saved the best Arizona to-do list for last—exploring the Sedona trails. I thought that the best place to start would be Devil’s Bridge (first two pictures), in case I didn’t survive it. I was brave enough to walk to its “keystone,” but not brave enough to be in a hairy situation with a lot of people around, which I consider a recipe for my being collateral damage of someone doing something stupid. So, I didn’t walk out. I can say that Serial Good Samaritan was in the right place at the right time, again. A woman took a nose dive on the trail right before I came upon her. I sat with her and treated her injuries.
I skated along the south rim of the Grand Canyon for my first time. It’s exhilarating to combine passions into one moment. In this case: traveling, photography, roller skating. I wore a life jacket just in case I skated off the edge and rolled all of the way to the Colorado River.

Albuquerque Balloon Festival

You’re lucky I love you. What lengths I go to in order to offer beautiful images.
Today I woke up at 3 a.m., drove 75 miles, then sat in traffic for two hours, exposed my fragile frame to 45 degrees F., and then weaved in between tens of thousands of people to attend the Albuquerque balloon festival.
It was a beautiful day with just the right breeze to paint the sky. All the usual characters were there, including the makers of every fried food you can imagine—all the makings for a carnival.
By the way, the solar eclipse was awesome. Now, I have to use a Braille keyboard.