Finding Harry Potter in the Muggle World

Written by Julie Boyd | Photography by Julie Boyd

As I watched the final few minutes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two, a sort of emptiness sunk in, as if I had lost a pice of myself. It was bittersweet, as I was elated that the story had come to a resolution, but wistful that Harry’s journey was over. The realization that there would be no more movies to look forward to watching became reality. This was the end.

If you are a passionate fan of reading books, or watching movies, or maybe even playing video games, you know what I am talking about. That feeling that washes over your body when you have been drawn into another world through the power of good storytelling, and now that the story is over, you are thrown back into reality. The excitement of living in that world, and anticipating what will happen next, is gone.

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However, there are other ways to find pieces of Harry in the Muggle (non-magic folk) world and keep the story alive. Brian and I had the opportunity to visit several iconic sites during two of our trips to England and Scotland, and here in the Unites States we have a little bit of wizard magic as well. In celebration of twenty years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (Sorcerer here in the US) Stone was published, here are some magical places to visit!

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Backpacking through the High Sierra Camps | Yosemite National Park, California

Written by Julie Boyd | Photography by Julie Boyd

The High Sierra Camps are a series of six outposts in the Yosemite wilderness, spaced roughly between 5-10 miles apart. Their proximity was designed so that adventurers could explore the high country of Yosemite, without completely roughing it. Each camp provides travelers with a hot dinner, a bed to sleep in (via a canvas tent and cot), and an enormous breakfast the following morning. It is an ideal trip for those who love the idea of backpacking, but who do not want to sleep on the ground or worry about carrying a giant, heavy pack.

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Seven Photos to Inspire you to go to Jasper National Park | Alberta, Canada

Written by Julie Boyd | Photography by Julie Boyd

Jasper National Park has a rugged beauty that calls to be explored. It is Canada’s largest National Park, and is home to some pretty epic scenery, including giant glaciers, thundering waterfalls, and quiet alpine forests. Brian and I spent three days in Jasper over the summer, and are itching to go back for a more extended period. In the meantime, we thought we would share some of our favorite photos from the trip. Enjoy!

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Time Travel Tuesday: A Photo Tour of the Scottish Highlands

Written by Julie Boyd | Photography by Julie Boyd

Last summer Brian and I took a  17-day trip to Europe. Without a doubt, my favorite part of the excursion was the time that we spent exploring the rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands. We rented a car and nearly traversed the entire isle over a 24 hour period. This week, travel back with us and enjoy some of my favorite photos of the Scottish Highlands!

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The Best Places to Visit in Banff National Park | Alberta, Canada

 

Written by Julie Boyd | Photography by Julie Boyd

Brian and I spent a week exploring the Canadian Rockies this past summer, and I was in heaven as there is no shortage of beautiful scenery in Banff National Park. Before flying up to Alberta, Canada, we spent a fair amount of time researching the best places to visit, and what the ideal times were for taking great photographs and avoiding the crowds. Here are what we consider to be the best places to visit in Banff.

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The Mountains are Calling| Chasing the Last Fall Colors in the Eastern Sierras

Written by Julie Boyd | Photography by Julie Boyd

“The mountains are calling, and I must go.” – John Muir

I was exhausted. I had just finished teaching a workshop on essay writing, shot my last wedding of the year, and I made it through mourning the loss of my grandfather. I finally had a chance to breathe, but I still felt suffocated. More than ever, I needed to get away. I needed to recharge. More than ever John Muir’s famous quote, “The mountains are calling, and I must go,” rang true for me.

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Snowshoeing to Dewey Point | Yosemite National Park, California

Written by Julie Boyd | Photography by Julie Boyd

Winter is a magical time to visit Yosemite National Park. The valley is dusted with snow, the waterfalls are icy, the weather is chilly, and the summer crowds have dispersed. If you are lucky, you’ll get to witness the splendor of seeing the clouds roll back to reveal the valley after a winter storm, or maybe catch the last rays of light on Horsetail Falls as they illuminate the water, and it appears to turn into liquid fire.

However, one of the drawbacks to visiting in the winter is the snow and ice limit the  opportunities for hiking and exploring. Most trails that have any elevation gain are closed, which can be a bit of a bummer if you prefer outdoor adventures over sipping hot cocoa in the lodge. While we love both, on this trip we opted for a snowshoeing adventure!

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Time Travel Tuesday | Joshua Tree National Park, California

Written by Julie Boyd | Photography by Julie Boyd

Joshua Tree National Park lies in California’s Mojave Desert. While Brian and I prefer mountain landscapes, there’s no denying that Joshua Tree has a unique beauty that makes it worth visiting. Ranging from broken up rock hills and boulders, to stretches of rugged terrain covered in wildflowers, cacti, and Joshua trees, the landscape of Joshua Tree is the main star of the park.

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Favorite Day Hikes in Southern California

Brian and I are avid hikers, and love exploring trails in our local mountains. While there are a lot of trails near us in Orange County, we prefer to take the 1-2 hour drive up to the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains to experience the scenery of the high altitude trails. People ask us all the time for advice on what hikes to do, so here are some of our favorite trails in Southern California.

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Time Travel Tuesday | Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Written by Julie Boyd | Photography by Julie Boyd

This visit to Yellowstone National Park was in conjunction with my trip to Grand Teton National Park back in 2011. Since my family and I had already explored Yellowstone in depth a few years before, we decided to only take a brief stop in the park on our way to Glacier National Park. Don’t get me wrong, we could have easily spent a few days exploring this enormous park further, however, we ultimately decided that we wanted to spend more time in a new place (Glacier).

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