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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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Now that I’ve finally caught up with all the blog entries from our 2018 Washington adventure, I’d like to share with you our overall itinerary. I’ve linked up the individual blog posts below if you’d like to find out exactly what we did on that day. I’ve also tried to highlight where the trip can be extended. Starting and ending in Seattle, we basically did a giant counter-clockwise circle around Washington. I’ve… Read More

[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 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

[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

[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

[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

[Biscayne National Park, FL, Dec 29, 2017] Although the Everglades get all the glory, Florida actually has two other national parks – Dry Tortugas, which I wrote about earlier, and Biscayne National Park. Visiting Biscayne can be a little difficult because 95% of the park is on water.¬†This means that the best way to experience it is on a boat. Map courtesy of the National Park Service Biscayne National Park is just… Read More