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Balabanova All Over

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[Grand Teton National Park, WY] One thing I cannot get used to here is the view of the Teton range from the lobby of our lodge. Every time we got up to second floor to get to the lobby, the picture window always takes my breadth away. We started off today with a drive along Teton Park Road, the most scenic road in the park. There were several turn-offs along the road…. Read More

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[Yellowstone National Park, WY] Did you know that there is a Grand Canyon in Yellowstone? I didn’t either. Everyone seems to associate Yellowstone with Old Faithful, so I was surprised to find out that there is a canyon in here. The 20-mile Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is 1000 ft deep and 3/4 mile wide. Trails and roads flank both sides of the canyon. Trails and overlooks allow access to the 109-foot… Read More

[Niagara Falls, NY] After driving in the snow yesterday, I was super excited to be taking a bus tour today, meaning someone else was driving! Today’s excursion to Niagara Falls was an optional add-on to the conference itself, so that meant I was also not going to be alone – I was sure other conference attendees would take the trip. My prayers for good weather had partially come through. It was no… Read More

[Keaau, HI] The highlight of our day today was supposed to be a sunset tour of Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain on earth when using the height of the mountain from the seafloor up (rather than from sea level). However, the rain that we encountered yesterday had apparently continued on today on the mountain, and the road between the Visitor station (at ~9000 ft) and the summit (~14000 ft) was closed. Our… Read More

[Hood River, OR] The Columbia Gorge is famous for all of its waterfalls, and even though we’d covered two on our first afternoon here, including the famous Multnomah, there were plenty left to see. Our first stop was Elowah Falls. The trailhead was located in what’s called John Yeon Scenic Corridor at the very East end of Columbia River Scenic Highway. The corridor is named after John Yeon, a timber magnate who… Read More

[Hood River, OR] We woke up to a gorgeous fall day in Hood River. The skies were clear, the temperature was in the 40s but rising, and a forecasted daytime high in the low 60s meant perfect hiking weather. We had a wonderful home-made breakfast in the dining room downstairs, which had a huge picture window facing the Columbia River. The fall colors were on full display, and we couldn’t wait to… Read More

[Hood River, OR] The Columbia River Gorge, which begins just a few miles east of Portland and stretches for nearly 70 miles along the shores of the Columbia River, is a dramatic landscape of mountains, cliffs and waterfalls created by massive ice age floods” – so read the first sentence of my Frommer’s guide to Oregon. One can spend days hiking around the gorge, going up and down the numerous trails that… Read More

Springdale, UT Angel’s landing is probably neck-in-neck with the Narrows for being the most popular hike in Zion. It’s not a long hike (5.5 miles roundtrip) or steep (about 1000 ft/300 m ascent)… but what makes it a thrill is the final push along a narrow rock. And when I say narrow, I mean 3-ft (1-m) wide narrow, with steep drop-offs on both sides. Chains had been bolted in through this final… Read More

[Yosemite National Park, CA] We entered the park from a different entrance today, from the West at Highway 140. Immediately we were greeted by massive granite rocks towering above us. Weaving through the valley, we passed several of the falls Yosemite is famous for – the 620-ft Bridalveil Fall and the 2500-ft Yosemite Falls, 5th highest in the world. On the agenda today was a tour to Glacier Point via bus. The… Read More