Mt. Alava Ridge, National Park of American Samoa

Mt. Alava Ridge, National Park of American Samoa

Once upon a time this had been a road. Once a Cat tractor had bladed its way up this wavering ridgeline, crunching and flattening jungle and rock into a track wide enough for something with four-wheel drive to make the grade. But roads like this never survived more than a rainy season or two before they began to erode and vanish and the man-torn canopy began to re-knit like green scar tissue covering a wound. There were still parallel muddy ruts, mini streams that washed out together at low spots. Five minutes into their hike Apelu's Adidas were so soaked through that he had given up pretending to stay dry and now sloshed on in one rut or another where the footing was better and the steep, slippery trackside slopes were farther away. Through gaps in the cliffside jungle to their right they could occasionally get glimpses of Pago Pago Bay fifteen hundred feet below them, its water blue-gray beneath the even grayer sky whose belly seemed held up by the surrounding green mountaintops.

(Pago Pago Tango, p. 1)

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Monday, September 15, 2014 - 9:01am

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