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Balabanova All Over

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[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

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[Channels Islands National Park – Anacapa Island, March 29, 2018]  The five islands that make up Channel Islands national park sit just off the coast of Ventura, CA. They had been on my list for a long time, but their proximity meant that I prioritized other national parks before them. With a four-day weekend for Easter looming with no solid travel plans, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to explore my… Read More

[Key West, FL, Dec 26, 2017] If you read the previous blog post, you already know that this was our second attempt at getting to Dry Tortugas National Park, one of the most remote ones in the US. Unlike last year though, we headed straight for the keys. Without a detour to Miami and the lack traffic this early in the morning (we left Boynton at 5:30 am), we hit the upper keys… Read More

[Key West, FL, Dec 27, 2016] Even though our trip to the Dry Tortugas in 2016 got cancelled, we still did a day trip to Key West. B knew how much I’d looked forward to the trip and he felt bad that it fell apart. He suggested that we get up early one day, explore Miami and its environs and, if we still felt like it, head to Key West and come back… Read More

[Kona, HI, Oct 12, 2016] Our Ragnar relay race was to take place on Friday, October 14th and Saturday, October 15th. We wanted to have extra time to get ready for the race and to explore a bit, so most of us decided to travel to Hawaii on Wednesday, October 12th. A lot of us were on a United flight directly to Kona, so the excitement grew as more and more people… Read More

[Los Angeles, CA, August 2017] In August 2015, we were on our way back from our Ragnar trail relay race in Lake Tahoe, California, when our friend Wendy discovered Ragnar had just announced they are planning an inaugural road relay race on the Big Island of Hawaii for October 2016. When registration opened later in 2015, a full year before the race was supposed to take place, we signed up not one,… Read More

[Kailua-Kona, HI] Humuhumunukunukuapua’a is the name of the Hawaii State Fish. To say this, break it up into syllables and note the repetitions – Humu – Humu – Nuku – Nuku – Apua’a. And, if you’ve seen the movie “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, you may recall a scene where a desk clerk at a resort on Oahu proudly boasts being able to name over 200 Hawaiian fish, including Humuhumunukunukuapua’a. You can see the… Read More

Kailua-Kona, HI We started our Friday with a visit to the town of Pahoa. Lava from the Pu’u O’o vent of the Kilauea volcano had reached the town in October and had destroyed a house and almost reached the transfer station (a solid waste facility) in town. The lava is no longer active but visitors still flock to this area to see it firsthand. The road is blocked so you can’t touch… Read More

[Keaau, HI] For the second day in a row we got up and anxiously looked out the window, trying to see if the clouds finally went away. And today, they did!!! The blue Hawaiian sky greeted us for the first time as the sun was rising from behind the trees! We squealed with excitement! We started off our Christmas day with a wonderful breakfast cooked by our AirBnB hosts, which we enjoyed… Read More

[Keaau, HI] The highlight of our day today was supposed to be a sunset tour of Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain on earth when using the height of the mountain from the seafloor up (rather than from sea level). However, the rain that we encountered yesterday had apparently continued on today on the mountain, and the road between the Visitor station (at ~9000 ft) and the summit (~14000 ft) was closed. Our… Read More

[Keaau, HI] Today was a very, very long day. On the upside, we’ve already traversed the southern part of the island! We arrived on the Big Island just after noon on Tuesday, Dec. 23. We disembarked our plane (no sleeve – just stairs directly down to the tarmac) and we walked a few feet across to the terminal, which comprised of nothing more than a few huts with benches – I am… Read More

[Puno, Peru] At 3800 m (12500 ft) elevation, lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world. We were wondering what the term “navigable” referred to. According to Wikipedia, there are a few other lakes that are at higher elevations but they are much smaller and shallower, and so there are no commercial boats on them – hence they are not “navigable”. The native populations of this area belong to two… Read More