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Balabanova All Over

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[Lake Oswego, OR, Jul 4, 2019] I was sad to leave Bend, but I was excited to head to Portland to visit my friend Megan. We met in Los Angeles in 2010. Megan was in the same MBA programs at Loyola Marymount University as me. I was immediately drawn to her vivacious, bubbly personality. She lived close to me, which, in the traffic nightmare that is LA, is invaluable. She helped me… Read More

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[Crater Lake National Park, July 3, 2019] You may have seen that instantly recognizable Crater Lake photo – a little cone-shaped island in the middle of the bluest of lakes. That was the image I had in my mind from the many photos of Crater Lake I’ve seen, but I was still excited to see it for myself. Crater Lake was born out of the ashes of the volcano that stood in… Read More

[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

[Olympic National Park, July 19, 2018] After three nights in Port Angeles, it was time to leave. Our plan for the day was to exlore the Hoh rainforest and one of the beaches on the west side of the park before overnighting at Lake Quinault. Driving directly to the lake was about 2.5 hours. We expected our detours to add another 3-4 hours to our trip. I also thought about detouring 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