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Balabanova All Over

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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

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[Channel Islands National Park – Santa Cruz Island, Jun 9, 2019] I am so fortunate to live in California, which boasts nine national parks – one more than Alaska! The closest to Los Angeles are Joshua Tree and Channel Islands. I’d finally visited the smallest of the Channels islands last year. I was supposed to go to Santa Cruz island, the biggest of the five, but a fire broke out there just… Read More

[Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Apr 13, 2019] I woke up just before sunrise and just before my alarm. The faint light of the rising sun was making its way through my window. I was ready to explore Cuyahoga National Park, which preserves the rural landscape along the Cuyahoga river between Cleveland and Akron. Being adjacent to two large urban areas makes Cuyahoga somewhat unique, which explained why I was seeing homes right… Read More

[Northfield, OH, Apr 12, 2019] I’ve been going to the Higher Education Data Warehousing conference since 2011. It’s an annual conference that typically takes place in April and different universities take turns hosting it. Other than my very first trip, I have always added a few days on the front and/or backend of this conference to sight-see. Thanks to this, I’ve seen Chicago, Niagara Falls, Toronto and Saguaro National Park in Tucson,… Read More

[Death Valley National Park, Mar 31, 2019] This time, we intentionally set our alarm for 6 am. We both enjoyed the cooler temps and fewer crowds the early hours afforded us, so it was not a hard sell. We first headed out to the Mesquite Sand Dunes on the west side of the park. They are the most popular sight in the park, which surprised me as I would have thought Badwater… Read More