2018 In Review – The Year of Weekend Road Trips

2018 In Review – The Year of Weekend Road Trips

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

After the life-changing year we had in 2017, with getting married and moving away from our childhood homes, 2018 was significantly more laid back. We once again stayed exclusively in North America, marking our second straight year of not traveling abroad, but something we hope to remedy in 2019. Our visits to National Parks, while less in total, were still just as frequent in 2018, a year that we leaned heavily on the road trip. Although we were impacted by two separate government shutdowns as we attempted to explore some new National Parks, it was another busy year and we are excited for what is in store for 2019! Here is a look back at the past year.

January

At the end of 2017, we visited Zion and Bryce National Parks in Utah, so we were eager to check another new park off our list in 2018. We set out to visit Pinnacles National Park in January, and it happened to coincide with the first government shut down of the year. Despite not being able to get a National Park stamp for our collection on this trip, we had an awesome time at this lesser-known park. Adding a new hike to our list of California favorites was a great way to start of the New Year!

Hiking in Pinnacles National Park

At the end of the month, we took a spontaneous afternoon drive to Big Sur to catch the sunset and were promptly rewarded with this beauty. Not a bad way to spend the last few hours of daylight!

Sunset overlooking McWay Falls

February

Keeping the road trip momentum going, we started off February with a visit to the Shasta-Cascade region. Our hike to Castle Dome quickly became another of our California favorites, along with catching the sunset overlooking Mt. Shasta. We also added Burney Falls to the seemingly endless list of our favorite waterfalls in the world.

Castle Dome
Sunset on Mt. Shasta
Burney Falls

Not to be outdone, we checked another hike off our Yosemite list over a snowy President’s Day visit. The hike to Yosemite Falls was a tough one, but brought with it some incredible views. Perfect hiking conditions after snow fell throughout the day prior.

Upper Yosemite Falls Trail

March

Staying close to home in March, we visited the very popular and crowded Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz.

Sunset at Natural Bridges State Beach

At the end of the month, we hit the road again for a visit to Eureka on the Northwest coast of California.

Carson Mansion, Eureka

April

Continuing our road trip along the coast of California, we spent some time visiting Redwood State and National Parks. A highlight of the trip was a visit to Fern Canyon and walking along the namesake walls.

Redwood State Park
Fern Canyon

Taking advantage of the cool spring weather, we hiked through green hills at our local Mission Peak. While very popular, it’s a great training hike for the summer season. Can you spot the casually grazing cow?


Before the month was out, we squeezed in one more trip to Yosemite for the opening of the road to Glacier Point. This was a long day trip, but quickly became one of our favorite memories from 2018. We hiked to Sentinel Dome and Taft Point, an epic adventure.

Hiking the Taft Point Trail

May

In May, we headed back on the road, this time for a trip to Lake Tahoe. It had been a few years since our last trip to Tahoe, and our first time hiking in the area. We nearly made it to the top of Mt. Tallac, but were turned back by a substantial amount of snow near the summit. Tahoe was also the first of our two Instagram takeovers in the month as we shared our adventures with Tahoe South.

Hiking to Mt. Tallac

For my birthday weekend, we made our second trip to Big Sur for the year. We took over the Instagram account for The Outbound and shared our coastal road trip adventure.

Bixby Bridge, Big Sur

June

Our big trip for the year was a return visit to Canada in early June. We had high hopes for some bucket list hikes on this visit, but were mostly foiled due to late season snow. While we were certainly disappointed to not accomplish all of our goals, there is no doubt we will be back to tackle these adventures in the near future. Below are some of our favorite moments from the trip.

Hiking to Joffre Lakes

Joffre Lakes

Hiking to Moraine & Consolation Lakes

A cloudy day at Moraine Lake
Snowy Consolation Lakes

Hiking to Lake Agnes & the Big Beehive

Mirror Lake & Lake Louise from the Big Beehive

Hiking to the Shore of Peyto Lake

Shore of Peyto Lake
Peyto Lake Shoreline

Hiking to Wapta Falls

July

Our second trip to the Shasta-Cascade region came in the summer heat of July. We worked in partnership with Visit Redding to explore Lassen National Park and crossed Lassen Peak off our hiking list. Julie and I were excited to make it back to Heart Lake and the sunset there did not disappoint.

Hiking to Lassen Peak
Reflections at Heart Lake

At the end of July, we took a spontaneous trip to Washington for our first wedding anniversary. Although we ran into some bumps along the way there, we had a blast crossing Mt. Rainier National Park off our list.

Summer at Mt. Rainier
Stream crossing in Mt. Rainier

September

Following a quiet month of travel in August, we took our first official backpacking trip in September. If you guessed Yosemite, you would be correct, as we once again returned to our favorite National Park! We visited Upper Gaylor Lakes on a day hike before spending the next night camping at Vogelsang. Although we bit off a little more than we could chew, we made it through the backpacking trip unscathed and look forward to more in 2019!

Upper Gaylor Lakes
Sunset at Vogelsang

At the end of September, we made our first of two road trips to the Mammoth Lakes area to explore fall colors.

Fall in the Eastern Sierras

October

Our second trip in as many weeks to the Mammoth Lakes region brought us back in search of more fall colors. We also took a chilly hike to Little Lakes Valley, a beautiful hike high on our list of adventures.

Pink sunset a Mono Lake
Hiking Little Lakes Valley
Sunrise at Convict Lake

November

We couldn’t let the year end without a final trip to Yosemite for some late season fall colors. This trip, while confined exclusively to Yosemite Valley and with no major hikes, turned out to be one of our favorite. Yosemite was dressed in its finest fall yellow and we were treated to one of the best sunsets in our six years together.

Fall Colors at Half Dome
Pink light over Half Dome

We squeezed in a day at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada, a place we had seen in countless photos on social media, the following weekend. A stark contrast to the Eastern Sierra we had spent much of our recent time in.

December

At the beginning of December, I started a new job in Portland, but I’ll be working remotely from my home office here in the Bay Area. I spent two weeks immersing myself in the city, and Julie came up to visit for an extended weekend. We took this opportunity to visit Multnomah Falls, a short drive outside of Portland.

Late afternoon at Multnomah Falls

Before the year was out, we embarked on our last big road trip, traveling through Arizona and Utah. Starting in Sedona, we made the short hike to the Devil’s Bridge and spent the following day at the Grand Canyon.

A snowy Devil’s Bridge
Sunset over the Grand Canyon

2018 was a big success thanks largely in part to our willingness to pack up the car and hit the road. We enjoyed both short and long weekend road trips and crossed a number of hikes and adventures off our list. I’m so excited for what 2019 has in store as we have goals to hike and backpack even more than we did in 2018. Thanks again for following along with our adventures and we hope you’ll continue to join us in 2019!

Sunset in Monterey


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