Balabanova All Over


[Hood River, OR] We woke up to a gorgeous fall day in Hood River. The skies were clear, the temperature was in the 40s but rising, and a forecasted daytime high in the low 60s meant perfect hiking weather. We had a wonderful home-made breakfast in the dining room downstairs, which had a huge picture window facing the Columbia River. The fall colors were on full display, and we couldn’t wait to… Read More


[Hood River, OR] The Columbia River Gorge, which begins just a few miles east of Portland and stretches for nearly 70 miles along the shores of the Columbia River, is a dramatic landscape of mountains, cliffs and waterfalls created by massive ice age floods” – so read the first sentence of my Frommer’s guide to Oregon. One can spend days hiking around the gorge, going up and down the numerous trails that… Read More

[Zion National Park, UT] We are tired. We are soooo tired. Tired and sore. We almost want to keep walking and moving continuously, because once we sit down, getting back up is… well, difficult. When we do have to get up, we both sound like we’re 80 years old, what with all the oohing and ahhing. The Narrows took out whatever little energy we had left. What is the Narrows, you ask?… Read More

[Zion National Park, UT] When I read Observation Pont’s description in my guidebook, I completely skipped over the part where it says “Strenuous, 8 miles, 2105 ft elevation” in favor of the part where it says “best views of the park, Angel’s Landing overlook”. I am kind of kidding. We knew full well what we were getting into. Already sore from 2 days of moderate to strenuous 5-mile hikes with 1000+ ft… Read More

Springdale, UT Angel’s landing is probably neck-in-neck with the Narrows for being the most popular hike in Zion. It’s not a long hike (5.5 miles roundtrip) or steep (about 1000 ft/300 m ascent)… but what makes it a thrill is the final push along a narrow rock. And when I say narrow, I mean 3-ft (1-m) wide narrow, with steep drop-offs on both sides. Chains had been bolted in through this final… Read More