Archive for the ‘North America’ Category


Who: Josh Roberts

Where: Old Lahaina Luau, Maui, Hawaii

When: May 2002

What: Dancing girls with coconut bras—what more could you want? I kid, I kid. Mostly.

Set right on the beach in near the Kaanapali end of Lahaina town, the Old Lahaina Luau has a more authentic (read: culturally sensitive) feel to it than the average luau offered by most of the hotels and resorts on the island. The traditional island music and dance is a joy, and the roast pig isn’t bad, either.

We stayed at the Old Lahaina House, a nice if unremarkable little B&B within walking distance of the town center. (Hey, look, here’s our room!) After a long day of hiking in the volcano or driving the Road to Hana, it was great to be able to come back and stroll around an actual town rather than just hanging out at a resort.

Plus, you really can’t beat the $3 cocktails at Moose McGillycuddy’s.


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Bridle Loop Path, Mount Lafayette, New Hampshire (Photo by Josh Roberts)

Who: Josh Roberts

Where: Bridle Loop Path, Mount Lafayette, New Hampshire

When: May 2006

What: The nine-mile Bridle Path Loop in New Hampshire’s White Mountains takes in two of the state’s tallest peaks, Lafayette and Lincoln. I love this particular trail because it rewards you with all the best elements of hiking in the Northeast: an extended traverse along an exposed ridge, a series of roaring waterfalls, and breathtaking views of the Presidentials and Pemigewasset Wilderness all the way to Mount Washington.

That’s my wife in the foreground, toughing it out even though we probably hiked the trail a little too early in the season. There were still huge swaths of snow below the treeline, and up on the exposed ridge all of the rocks and alpine plants were coated with hoarfrost. But man was it fun!

Here’s how I described it in the September 2006 edition of my American Adventurer column: “The trail climbs, steeply and steadily, over exposed rocks and up through a forest of beech, birch, and maple to the knife’s edge of rocks and windswept ledges that is Franconia Ridge … There you stand, a mile high, with the world spread before you and nothing between you and the next peak but a narrow, undulating ridge. The next mile and a half is all ups and downs, all jagged rocks and tumbled boulders, with every step of the way punctuated by loose rubble, patches of dwarf pines, and vast stretches of hardy alpine scrub.”

If that doesn’t sound like fun, I don’t know what does.

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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (Photo by Christine Sarkis)

Who: Christine Sarkis

Where: Malécon, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

When: December 2008

What: Puerto Vallarta‘s malécon is a wide beachside path lined on one side by sand and water and on the other by a busy street with bars and clubs. The path is known partly for what surrounds it, but the real draw is what happens on and around it. Sand sculptors, buskers, performers of Aztec flying ceremonies, and others draw crowds day and night.

The walkway is punctuated by a series of sculptures that I found boldly unusual for public art. Fantastical—or maybe alien—creatures are often the subjects. This is one of the sculptures that garners a lot of attention. Few can (or do) resist the urge to climb at least a few rungs of the ladder—in fact so many people have a go that the ladder’s bottommost slats are rubbed shiny like a Buddha’s belly.

The strange sea-facing hooded creatures higher up the ladder reminded me of the vision I’ve always had of 19th century women pacing the widow’s walk of houses in the fishing towns of New England. Though you can’t see their faces, the simple posture of looking out on the ocean from a higher elevation conveys anticipation, worry, and even love. And the wave: Is it hello or goodbye?

I was happy to capture the late afternoon light and the red of the man’s t-shirt. And he’s looking towards the same speck on the horizon that the hooded creatures are waving to.

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