Author: Brian

Hiking Little Lakes Valley | Gem Lakes

Hiking Little Lakes Valley | Gem Lakes

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd Little Lakes Valley sits just 45 minutes south of Mammoth and 50 minutes north of Bishop in the Eastern Sierra. This day hike quickly became one of our absolute favorites thanks to a collection of pristine […]

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Hiking to Heart Lake | Mount Shasta California

Hiking to Heart Lake | Mount Shasta California

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd In February, Julie and I set out to hike Castle Dome in Castle Crags State Park, and it quickly became one of our favorite hikes to date. At the tail end of that day, we made […]

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Hiking Lassen Peak | Lassen Volcanic National Park

Hiking Lassen Peak | Lassen Volcanic National Park

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

Lassen Volcanic National Park, and a hike to its namesake peak, has been at the top of our list of places to visit in California for quite some time. Julie and I toyed with the idea of going in 2017, but with the move, our wedding, and holiday travel, we knew it would be best saved for 2018.

Eager to visit, we kept an eye on the weather forecasts as the months past and summer fast approached. The park’s high elevation (up to 8,500′) means that it receives a heavy dose of snow during the winter months, and renders much of the park closed to vehicle traffic. When we drove by it in February, we were unable to go beyond Manzanita Lake near the park’s Northwest Entrance. With the conditions in our favor, we set our visit date for early July, ready to tackle Lassen Peak.

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A Weekend Road Trip to Redding & the Shasta Cascade Region

A Weekend Road Trip to Redding & the Shasta Cascade Region

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd Since moving to Northern California in early 2017, the opportunity for new adventures has remained a constant in our lives. We push ourselves to take advantage of every weekend opportunity to explore our ever-growing list of […]

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Hiking to Upper Gaylor Lakes | Yosemite National Park

Hiking to Upper Gaylor Lakes | Yosemite National Park

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd Gaylor Lakes, a short hike accessible from the Tioga Road in Yosemite, had been on our to-do list for some time. We had planned to do an overnight backpacking trip to Vogelsang, and found Gaylor Lakes […]

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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.

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Our Anniversary Trip | Visit Mount Rainier National Park

Our Anniversary Trip | Visit Mount Rainier National Park

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd When best laid plans fall through, improvisation is the spice of life. For a couple months leading up to our first wedding anniversary, Julie and I had been working through ideas of where we would be […]

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Hiking to Wapta Falls | Yoho National Park

Hiking to Wapta Falls | Yoho National Park

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd It’s our second to last full day in Canada, and Julie and I are trying to decide what we want to spend it doing. Much of the trip has been a bit different than we had […]

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Hiking to the Shore of Peyto Lake | Banff National Park

Hiking to the Shore of Peyto Lake | Banff National Park

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

The first time Julie and I laid eyes on Peyto Lake in person, we were blown away.

Like so many of the lakes in Western Canada, the striking blue water is captivating. Is the water really that blue? A question we are often asked when showing photos to friends and family. It most certainly is, and it’s something that is best appreciated firsthand. (more…)

Hiking to Lake Agnes & the Big Beehive | Banff National Park

Hiking to Lake Agnes & the Big Beehive | Banff National Park

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd When we originally made plans to return to Canada for a second time in two years, we had a lengthy list of hikes that we intended to accomplish. While we had perfect weather in August of […]

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Hiking to Moraine & Consolation Lakes | Banff National Park

Hiking to Moraine & Consolation Lakes | Banff National Park

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd Have you ever visited a place so magical that it captures your heart and makes you want return over and over again? For Julie and I, one such place is Moraine Lake in Banff National Park. […]

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Hiking Joffre Lakes | British Columbia

Hiking Joffre Lakes | British Columbia

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

One of the central appeals to staying in Vancouver, when planning our trip, was its close proximity to outdoor activities. As much as we enjoy visiting a new city, we find ourselves eager to get outside and into the mountains. (more…)

Planning A Road Trip from Vancouver to Banff

Planning A Road Trip from Vancouver to Banff

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd In 2016, Julie and I took our first trip to Canada, spending a week exploring Banff and Jasper National Parks. After seeing a seemingly endless stream of photos of Alberta on social media, we were inspired […]

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A Weekend Road Trip to Redwood National and State Parks

A Weekend Road Trip to Redwood National and State Parks

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd One of our favorite things about living in a different part of the state is the abundance of new opportunities for adventure. For the past year, Julie and I have done our very best to take […]

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Glacier Point Hike to Sentinel Dome and Taft Point | Yosemite National Park

Glacier Point Hike to Sentinel Dome and Taft Point | Yosemite National Park

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd & Brian Callender

Working full-time jobs means we live for the weekend, and more importantly, our weekend adventures.

In the little over one year that we have lived in Northern California, we have made every effort to get out and explore our new surroundings. Often, this means extensive time in the car as we travel to different outdoor destinations where we can stretch our legs with a good hike.

With summer just around the corner, Julie and I have started to ramp up our training regime in preparation for making the leap from day-hikes to backpacking.

On Friday evening, we started to throw around the idea of going to Yosemite as a day-trip for the opening day of the road to Glacier Point. After a few minutes of discussion, we made the plan official, and began prepping for an early morning trip to Yosemite.

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Hiking to Upper Yosemite Falls in Winter | Yosemite National Park

Hiking to Upper Yosemite Falls in Winter | Yosemite National Park

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd Yosemite is a magical place to visit anytime of year, but there’s something extra special about seeing the famous granite covered in a fresh layer of snow. Perhaps that lends some explanation to the fact that […]

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A Chilly Winter Morning at Burney Falls | Shasta County California

A Chilly Winter Morning at Burney Falls | Shasta County California

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd I have mentioned more times that I can count, we love waterfalls. So much so that we often go out of our way to visit them on vacations.  On our visit to Shasta County, Julie and […]

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Hiking to Castle Dome | Castle Crags State Park

Hiking to Castle Dome | Castle Crags State Park

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

One of the very best aspects about living somewhere new is the opportunity to explore your surroundings and uncover new adventures. Northern California has reinvigorated the love we have for our home state as we get to know the upper half of the state after spending our entire lives in the South. While we live near some local hikes, namely in the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west, the larger peaks and alpine hikes we crave require a bit more of a road trip. We had previously driven through the Mount Shasta region of Northern California (aka the far north) when we visited Crater Lake last summer and knew we wanted to return to this area when the weather was more temperate. Eager to start off 2018 with our feet on the trail, we made plans to check out Castle Crags State Park, and its namesake hike to Castle Dome.

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Hiking the Bear Gulch-High Peaks Loop | Pinnacles National Park

Hiking the Bear Gulch-High Peaks Loop | Pinnacles National Park

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t excited about visiting Pinnacles National Park. Before meeting Julie, I hadn’t heard much about the park, which had previously been a National Monument before receiving National Park […]

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24 Hours in Bryce Canyon National Park

24 Hours in Bryce Canyon National Park

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd Closing out a busy 2017, Julie and I were excited to visit our tenth and final National Park of the year. Having spent the previous three days in Zion, crossing off a couple of bucket list […]

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Hiking Angel’s Landing | Zion National Park

Hiking Angel’s Landing | Zion National Park

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

What are you afraid of? For me, that answer has always been heights. Sure, there are probably some other things that can be thrown in there, but heights is my go-to answer. I remember one visit to the fair when I was younger, and signing up to do a rock climbing wall. Not entirely certain why, I knew I was afraid of heights, but I was young and it looked fun. Two steps off the ground, I remember turning around and realizing I wanted to be back on the ground. As the years have gone by, I have gotten progressively better with my fear; taking small steps along the way. Snowboarding was one of the gateways that helped me overcome my fear. When I was in my late teens, I tried going with friends, but found myself in a similar situation to the rock climbing incident. Trying again in my mid-twenties, I kept my eyes focused above and across the mountain, while avoiding looking down, and it helped. From that point forward, I have steadily gotten better at heights by imploring the same strategy of keeping my head up. While I have certainly improved a great deal over the years, you still won’t find me looking over the edge of a cliff, or for that matter, getting all that close. Narrow ledges are the most difficult, but as long as there is some room to move around, I feel pretty good. Hiking has always been relatively worry free, despite making it to the top of some tall mountains, I have always felt comfortable. When we decided to hike Angel’s Landing at the end of 2017, I didn’t give the hike a second thought. Naturally, I had heard that the hike was steep and narrow in spots, but wasn’t all that concerned. Imagine my surprise then, standing less than a mile from the top and seriously considering giving up and heading back down.

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Hiking the Narrows | Zion National Park

Hiking the Narrows | Zion National Park

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd In the summer of 2013, Julie and I went to Las Vegas for a wedding that Julie was shooting for a friend’s sister. With an extra day to spare, we decided to take advantage of the […]

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A Late Fall Weekend Road Trip Through Washington

A Late Fall Weekend Road Trip Through Washington

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd Traveling while working full-time jobs means you take advantage of every opportunity to get out and explore. We love the long, multi-week vacations as much as anyone, but without question our sweet spots are weekend getaways. These […]

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2017 In Review: The Year of National Parks

2017 In Review: The Year of National Parks

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

Coming out of an incredible 2016, we knew 2017 would have a tough time competing. After all, we had two international trips in 2016 and none planned for 2017. Well, even without leaving the country, we had an awesome year with so many memorable moments. Without question, the theme of 2017, was the year of national parks. Having been gifted a National Park Annual Pass at Christmas in 2016, we sought to put it to good use. With ten parks visited, we certainly accomplished that goal. The cherry on top, getting married in Grand Teton National Park over the summer, 2017 has been one heck of a ride. Here’s a look back at our year.

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Hiking to Mystic Falls | Yellowstone National Park

Hiking to Mystic Falls | Yellowstone National Park

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd Julie and I have a well documented affinity for waterfalls of all shapes and sizes. It is perhaps one of our favorite finds on any outdoor trip or vacation. There is just something that soothes the […]

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A Taste of Christmas in France

A Taste of Christmas in France

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd & Brian Callender The old adage that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year certainly rings true in our hearts. Maybe it’s the cooler weather that comes with the winter season, or the festive […]

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An Epic Day Driving the Yellowstone Loop | Yellowstone National Park

An Epic Day Driving the Yellowstone Loop | Yellowstone National Park

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

Yellowstone National Park, a diverse and expansive landscape, is America’s oldest designated National Park and collectively considered to be the first in the world. Established by President Grant in March of 1872, the park stretches across three states: Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. It is the second largest National Park in the continental United States, behind only Death Valley National Park, and it is one of the ten most frequently visited. For an opportunity to see many of the highlights that Yellowstone has to offer, consider driving the Yellowstone loop, as we did during our summer visit to the park. This is an adventure not to be missed!

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Hiking to Amphitheater Lake | Grand Teton National Park

Hiking to Amphitheater Lake | Grand Teton National Park

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd It’s Friday night, and our group is sitting in the living room of the Bentwood Inn, discussing the upcoming events of the weekend. Julie and I are getting married Saturday afternoon in Grand Teton National Park, […]

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Hiking to Bradley & Taggart Lakes | Grand Teton National Park

Hiking to Bradley & Taggart Lakes | Grand Teton National Park

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd Few destinations have the immediate impact of awe quite like Grand Teton National Park. Almost from the moment you leave the town of Jackson and round the corner, the grandeur of the Tetons comes into full […]

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Introduction: Summer Road Trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks

Introduction: Summer Road Trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

For Julie and I, 2017 can best be described as the year of road trips and National Parks. With the beginning of fall finally here, and summer slowly moving out of sight, we have visited five National Parks to date. With the year not quite over with yet, we hope to squeeze in one or two more trips before the calendar flips to 2018. It’s hard to say that we have anticipated visiting one park more than others, because each is special and unique, but there are certainly those that are higher on our list. Anticipation for this trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks had been in the works dating back to 2012 when Julie and I first met, and we started planning it over a year ago, so it was safe to say we were excited for August to finally be here. Plus, we were ready to get on the road and back into the mountains!

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