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Balabanova All Over

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[Colorado Springs, CO, Jul 5, 2018] I spent four days in Colorado Springs last weekend for my friend May’s one-year wedding anniversary. May moved to Colorado about two years ago from LA. She is an avid picture taker/selfie queen, so in that time, we’ve observed all the fabulous places Colorado Springs has to offer thanks to her photos. I met May through my friend Olivia, and in the three years since I’ve… Read More

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[Tucson, AZ] It is now JUNE, and as I was transferring my blog to WordPress in the past couple of weeks, I realized I never did write that last entry from my conference in Tucson I promised! So here is a very belated recap of my last days in Tucson! My conference started on Monday, April 24th. In the evening, the usual networking dinners took place. The conference chair makes reservations around town, then we… Read More

[Tucson, AZ] Today, I headed to the East side of Saguaro National Park today in the Rincon mountains. My hike there did not disappoint. I hiked a few miles of the Tanque Verde Rdige Trail, which is a back-country trail that goes way into the Saguaro National Park wilderness. I liked this trail better than yesterday’s; there were many more types of vegetation around, the climb wasn’t as steep, and I got… Read More

[Tucson, AZ] It seems like only yesterday Olivia and I were in Northern Arizona hiding out form a spring snow storm in our Flagstaff hotel. Here I am, mere weeks later in Southern Arizona, waking up at 5 am to beat the heat (it was 80F/26C by 9 am). Sigh. I am here for a work conference, which doesn’t start till Sunday. I arrived yesterday (Friday, 4/21) so that I can get… Read More

[Holbrook, AZ] Our very last day on this trip involved a lot of driving! First, we headed east for almost two hours towards Petrified Forest National Park in Holbrook, AZ. The park is situated on each side of I-40. The Northern part features the famous Painted Desert – a desert of badlands. Badlands are areas of dry terrain where sedimentary rock and clay-rich soil have been eroded over time by wind and… Read More

[Flagstaff, AZ] Mother Nature gave us a rainbow and took away a sunrise. We woke up today to rain in Monument Valley, which meant we were going to do our sunrise tour with little chance of catching the morning light.

[Monument Valley, UT] After our tour of Antelope Canyon, we drove out to Monument Valley, another 2 hours east of Page, AZ. We arrived there around 4 pm – or was it 5 pm? We keep getting confused about the time, because we are supposed to be an hour ahead of LA, but Utah observes daylight savings time and Arizona doesn’t, which means Arizona matches LA time but Utah is an hour… Read More

[Page, AZ] Antelope canyon is a slot canyon located near Page, AZ. The canyon is on Navajo land and they are the only ones allowed to operate tours into the canyon – you cannot tour it by yourself. The canyon has been formed by the erosion of Navajo sandstone primarily due to flash flooding. The rushing water has eroded deep passageways into the stone, forming corridors and smoothing the rock into flowing,… Read More

[Page, AZ] The post-half-marathon itinerary was a leisurely 74-mile drive to Page, AZ. We left Kanab to continue East on Hwy 89, and now we were skirting the southern edge of the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument. The giant “steps” that make up this area were now much easier to see.

[Orderville, UT] Today was half marathon day. We were anxious about the weather and we were hoping that the snow storm would blow over overnight, but no such luck. We left Kanab at 5 am to freezing rain on our way to the starting line. At one point the freezing rain was really thick and flying right at us, so it looked like we had broken the speed of light in space… Read More

[Boulder, UT] A few minutes before 7 am, my phone rang. It was David from Red Desert Adventures, who was supposed to take us on our 4-hour canyoneering outing this morning.”It doesn’t look good”, he said, “but I’ll leave it up to you.” The temperature was barely above freezing and it was raining, so it was definitely going to be a very cold and wet day out there. We opted to cancel… Read More

[Kanab, UT] One of the most memorable things about last year’s Zion Half Marathon was the rainy, muddy race morning. The rain itself wasn’t so bad, but then we got to the starting line, where a row of porta potties and a warming tent were placed on the outskirts of a grassy field. Due to all the rain overnight, the grassy field had turned into a muddy treacherous mess. This year’s weather… Read More