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Balabanova All Over

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[Rila National Park, Bulgaria, Sep 15, 2018] The Seven Rila Lakes are glacial lakes located in the northwestern corner of Rila mountain, about 2 hours from Sofia. Since I didn’t want to drive myself or make my parents come with me, I booked a day trip through Globul Tours. I talked about how we decided which tour company to trust in this post. To preserve the mountain and its ecosystems, Rila national… Read More

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[Mt Rainier national park, July 21, 2018] For our day in Mt. Rainier national park, we picked the most popular trail in the park – Skyline trail. At only 5.3 miles with 1700 ft of elevation gain, it’s not terribly demanding, although you are bound to feel the effects of high altitude – the trail begins at 5,400 ft. Our visit also fell on a Saturday, so we knew we had to… Read More

[Olympic National Park, July 17, 2018] The Olympic peninsula is on the Western edge of Washington state, across Puget sound from Seattle. Its home to the northwestern most point in the United States, Cape Flattery. At about 3600 square miles, the peninsula remained largely unmapped until the late 19th century. The Olympic mountain range sits in the center. It blocks the passage of rain-producing systems and casts a dry “shadow” in the… Read More

[North Cascades National Park, Jul 15, 2018] With my Ragnar race now over, the actual vacation part of my trip finally began! On the agenda for the day was a trip into North Cascades National park. This very wild and undeveloped park is a haven for the backcountry hiker, but there are some great trails for day hikers as well. It has over 300 glaciers, the greatest concentration in the US outside… Read More

[Colorado Springs, CO, July 7, 2018] As I mentioned in my previous post, there are several mountain towns nestled in the foothills of the Pike’s Peak mountain. Manitou Springs is one of them, and it is home to a hike that ranks amongst the most difficult I’ve ever done – The Incline. This unique hike is actually a whole bunch of stairs – 2768 of them, to be exact. The incline was… Read More

[Congaree National Park, June 2, 2018] As the week of Memorial Day drew to a close and my conference wound down, it was time to head to Augusta, GA for the post-conference adventures I had planned. Augusta is the second-largest metropolitan area in Georgia, but it is overshadowed by Savannah, GA in popularity. You only hear about Augusta once a year in April when it hosts the Masters golf tournament. Therefore, I… Read More

[May 25, 2018] The Kilauea eruption on the Big Island of Hawaii is in its third week. The majority of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is closed, and many people are worried about safety if they go. In this blog post, I will share why I think it’s still safe to go, provide resources for those who need to research on their own, and share my favorite activities on the island. Should You… Read More

One thing I’ll try to do more of with my blog is to synthesize my experiences into tips for other travelers to use when they are planning their own trips to the places I’ve been to. Since my recent trip to Phantom Ranch at the Grand Canyon is fresh on my mind, here are my top tips for making your Grand Canyon/Phantom Ranch experience a good one as well as hard-to find… Read More

[Grand Canyon National Park, Sun, Nov 26, 2017] I think I speak for all three of us when I say that we did not want to leave Phantom Ranch. I could have easily spent a week here hiking around and relaxing. Alas, we had an 11 mile trek back up to the top, so we had an early breakfast (5:30 am!!!), then packed our bags and headed out at dawn. We took… Read More

[Grand Canyon National Park, Sat, Nov 25, 2017] We booked two nights down here at Phantom Ranch, so that means we had a full day on Saturday to do whatever we pleased. We decided to do a little hike, then check out the beach we saw on our way down yesterday. There were several hike options at the bottom of the canyon. One option was to go up the North Kaibab trail… Read More