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Balabanova All Over

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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

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[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

[Death Valley National Park, CA, Mar 30, 2019] We tried to sleep in on our first morning in Death Valley, but the alarm clock in our hotel room had somehow gotten set to 6 am. When it went off that morning, surprising both of us, we were mad at first but in the end enjoyed getting a fairly early start to our day. After breakfast at the hotel, we gassed up at… Read More

[Lone Pine, CA / Furnace Creek, CA, Mar 29, 2019] Death valley is one of those parks I’d heard about even as a kid in Bulgaria. The mere mention of its name conjured up images of skeletons and skulls. The  weather was incredibly hot much of the year, I’d read as a child, and many a men had paid the highest price for venturing into this place unprepared.  Death valley was named… 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

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