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.