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Visiting Arches National Park in Winter

Visiting Arches National Park in Winter

Visiting Arches National Park in Winter| Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd Arches National Park is famous for the approximately 2,000 arches located throughout the park, meaning you’ll be hard pressed to see them all in a single visit. A journey to…

Summer Hiking Gear: Our Recommendations

Summer Hiking Gear: Our Recommendations

Summer Hiking Gear| Written By Julie Boyd and Brian Callender We often get asked about the gear we bring along on our hikes, so we decided to put together a comprehensive list of our favorites for summer hiking. We hope you will find this guide…

2019 In Review

2019 In Review

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

2019 was a busy year for us and followed closely a pattern we developed in 2018. We spent many weekends during the summer months taking road trips to Yosemite and the Eastern Sierra. Early in the year, we laid out some ambitious plans to cross off big hikes from our list. While we accomplished some of those goals, others had to be shifted and modified due to the longer winter season. It was once again a year filled with adventures and we look forward to what 2020 has in store. Here is a look back at this past year:

January

We ended 2018 on a road trip through the American Southwest, and that continued into the first week of 2019. To start off our year, we trekked through fresh snow to Horseshoe Bend for an incredible sunrise. It was an awesome time spent in Page, Arizona, despite the chilly temperatures.

Our road trip next took us to Monument Valley where we witnessed our second amazing sunrise of the trip. However, food poisoning later that day, would put a substantial damper on the remainder of our time in the Southwest.

February

Our first trip to Yosemite of the year, came in February as we sought to capture the annual Fire Fall. A  busy day in the park, despite the winter weather, we witness a small glow on the falls, but hope for better conditions in 2020.

March

A high snow year meant many of the hikes we had hoped to do earlier in the season were still largely inaccessible. We found this out the hard way as we returned to do one our favorite hikes, Castle Dome. Even with snow shoes, we were only able to make it about halfway, before being forced to turn back due to unsafe conditions.

April

In early April, we made a trip up to Oregon for the weekend, staying in Portland and taking a day trip to hike the Trail of Ten Falls. Weather impacted us once again, as we were steadily rained on for the duration of our ten-mile hike. The rain however, couldn’t deter us from enjoying this beautiful waterfall hike and we’re anxious to get back to it under better conditions.

We also made return trips to two of our local hikes, the first to Pinnacles National Park with Julie’s parents. The second, a hike up local Bay Area favorite, and great training hike, Mission Peak.

May

My birthday month of May included adventures in the outdoors and a city getaway. First, a hike to Berry Creek Falls in our local Santa Cruz Mountains allowed us to cross of another adventure in our backyard.

My birthday weekend was our first visit to Chicago, a city long on our domestic wish list. We ate pizza, watched a Cubs game and even took in a show – seeing Hamilton for the first time!

June

Julie’s long-awaited tropical vacation was finally realized when we visited the island of Maui in June. Our first trip to Hawaii together was a cross between our typical desire for adventure, mixed with some much needed relaxation. Waterfalls, volcanoes, banana bread, beaches, and my failed attempt at snorkeling all made for a memorable getaway. I have no doubt we will be back again in the not too distant future!

Our need for adventure meant a second visit to Yosemite, this time to capture the famous waterfalls at their peak. We hiked the Mist Trail on a beautiful June day and were soaked by the powerful falls while enjoying spectacular views.

July

Fourth of July weekend was supposed to be our first multi-day backpacking trip and a chance to visit Thousand Island Lakes. The heavy winter meant that the lakes were still almost entirely frozen over and the trail still treacherous. Not wanting to waste an extended weekend, we drove out to spend the weekend in Mammoth and Bishop. Up early on the 4th, I was able to secure us an overnight backpacking permit to another bucket list hike on our list: Big Pine Lakes.

At the end of July, we made our third trip to Canada, this time with Julie’s parents in-tow for their first visit. We spent the first part of the week as a group of four, crossing off a few more hikes on our list (Eiffel Lake, Twin Falls, Athabasca Glacier) and showing Julie’s parents some of our favorite places.

Julie then spent four additional days exploring the stunning Bugaboo Mountains  in British Columbia with CMH Heli.

August

By the end of August, we hoped that the mosquitoes were gone for the season, and took only our second ever trip to Sequoia National Park. We were quickly reminded that the bugs were not quite done yet, but were mostly manageable as we hiked the Lakes Trail.

September

Julie’s birthday month of September meant a trip home to visit family, the beach, and Disneyland.

October

During the first week of October, we made a trip up to Washington for a hike in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness to Colchuck Lake. It was also our first time visiting the Bavarian town of Leavenworth and experiencing their version of Oktoberfest.

A few days later, I completed my first half-marathon here in San Jose and then we were back on the trail again the following weekend hiking to Minaret Lakes.

We capped off a busy October with another trip to Yosemite and a fall hike to Stanford and Artist Points.

November

With the weather starting to shift towards winter, we made our final visit to Yosemite for one last hike to Cathedral Lakes. After starting off the year with beautiful sunrises, it was nice to watch the sun set in the high country of Yosemite with not another human in sight.

December

To close out 2019, we headed back to Utah for a chance to redeem our trip from the beginning of the year. We spent New Year’s Eve hiking in Arches National Park, a fantastic end to an adventurous 2019!

We are excited about what 2020 has in store for us and look forward to sharing it with you. Thanks for reading in 2019!

Final hiking stats for 2019:

Total hikes: 23

Miles hiked: 200

National Parks visited: 7

Hiking to Cathedral Lakes | Yosemite National Park

Hiking to Cathedral Lakes | Yosemite National Park

Hiking to Cathedral Lakes | Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd The hike to Cathedral Lakes had been high on our Yosemite list for the last few years and it’s easy to see why. Two alpine lakes, in the high country of…

Minaret Lake Hike | Mammoth, California

Minaret Lake Hike | Mammoth, California

Minaret Lake Hike | Words By Julie Boyd |Photos by Julie Boyd and Brian Callender Deep blue waters, nestled in an alpine basin, below craggy spires that seem too jagged to hold themselves up is the reward for the long trek up to Minaret Lake…

Hiking to Stanford Point | Yosemite National Park

Hiking to Stanford Point | Yosemite National Park

Stanford Point Yosemite | Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

Unrelenting. That’s the feeling that was mutually shared between Julie and I on the hike to Stanford Point. In fact, several times, I found myself wondering aloud, when had we hiked a trail that was this steep. Make no mistake, this hike will kick your butt. From the seemingly never ending stair master to the point, to the knee pain inducing decent, you’ll earn every bit of that post-hike meal. 

Continue reading Hiking to Stanford Point | Yosemite National Park

Hiking to Colchuck Lake | Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Hiking to Colchuck Lake | Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd The Alpine Lakes Wilderness is a hiker’s paradise located in the state of Washington, about 2.5 hours east of Seattle. It is a place that has particularly hit my radar of late as I began to…

Hiking the Lakes Trail | Sequoia National Park

Hiking the Lakes Trail | Sequoia National Park

Hiking the Lakes Trail | Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd Sequoia National Park, well-known in part for its namesake giant trees, is also home to some fantastic alpine lakes. The Lakes Trail visits four such lakes: Heather, Aster, Emerald and Pear,…

Heli-Hiking in the Bugaboo Mountains with CMH Heli

Heli-Hiking in the Bugaboo Mountains with CMH Heli

Heli-Hiking in the Bugaboo Mountains with CMH Heli | Words and Photos by Julie Boyd

This summer, I was invited by CMH Heli to attend their Content Summit at the Bugaboos Lodge in British Columbia. 

The trip was an absolute dream! I spent three days heli-hiking in the Bugaboo Mountains with an incredibly talented group of photographers, and expert mountain guides. In the evenings, we shared the stories of our photography journeys, attended workshops led by travel photographers Callum Snape and Katie Goldie, and were wined and dined by the welcoming lodge staff.

CMH Heli has tons of resources on their website to help you plan your trip to the Bugaboo Mountains, but I thought I would share my experience to help inspire you to journey to this incredible destination. 

Continue reading Heli-Hiking in the Bugaboo Mountains with CMH Heli

Hiking Twin Falls | Yoho National Park

Hiking Twin Falls | Yoho National Park

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd During our first visit to Canada in the summer of 2016, Julie and I made a brief stop in Yoho National Park. The highlight of that quick stop was Takkakaw Falls, the stunning 830 foot waterfall…

Columbia Icefield Tour: Athabasca Glacier Hike

Columbia Icefield Tour: Athabasca Glacier Hike

Columbia Icefield Tour: Athabasca Glacier Hike | Words and Photos by Julie Boyd The first time I stood at the base of Athabasca Glacier was an unforgettable experience. To be in the presence of an ancient piece of ice is humbling, and to know that…

Hiking The Valley of Ten Peaks: Eiffel Lake Trail

Hiking The Valley of Ten Peaks: Eiffel Lake Trail

Hiking The Valley of Ten Peaks: Eiffel Lake Trail | Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

Eiffel Lake is a hidden gem in the Moraine Lake region of Banff National Park. This is a popular trail leads to an alpine lake with gorgeous views of the Valley of the Ten Peaks along the way.

A moderate hike, you can expect most of the elevation gain during the first half of the hike before being rewarded for your efforts with views of the incredible Eiffel Lake.


Eiffel Lake Trail: Hike Details

Starting Elevation: 5,860 ft.

Distance: 7.67 miles

Elevation Gain: 1,345 ft.

Hike Type: Out and back, day-hike

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Permit: None required for day hiking

Date Hiked: July 24, 2019


Getting to the Trailhead

Hiking The Valley of Ten Peaks: Eiffel Lake Trail

The hike to Eiffel Lake begins on the eastern shoreline of Moraine Lake as part of the Larch Valley trail. Moraine Lake is a popular destination within Banff National Park, and is 20 minutes from the Lake Louise Visitor Center, and an hour north of Banff.

From the town of Banff, take the Trans-Canada Highway (AB-1 W) for 55 kilometers (35 miles) and take the Bow Valley Parkway exit, following signs to Lake Louise. Continue to Moraine Lake Road, which you will then drive for 15 kilometers (9 miles) to Moraine Lake.

Because Moraine Lake is a highly popular destination, it’s important to get as early a start as possible. The road leading to Moraine Lake is closed periodically due to the parking lot being full. If the lot, is full in the morning, consider arriving later in the day after the first wave of visitors has left. On our trip we heard from others that the lot fills up by 6:30 a.m. with those who arrive early to capture sunrise. On this trip we arrived later in the morning, around 8:30 a.m., and were able to find parking.

Once you arrive at Moraine Lake, park in the main lot and walk towards Moraine Lake Lodge where you will pick up the Larch Valley Trail.

Hiking The Valley of Ten Peaks to Eiffel Lake

Hiking The Valley of Ten Peaks: Eiffel Lake Trail

Starting on the Larch Valley Trail, the hike to Eiffel Lake begins to climb from the moment your boots hit the dirt. It’s a steady incline through a lush forest as you switchback your way up. During our visit, the weather was not on our side as a light, but steady rainfall kept us wet throughout our hike. Julie and I remarked several times that we should have done the hike one day earlier when the sun was out and temperatures were around 80 degrees. The mountains can be funny like that; great weather one day and crummy weather the next.

Hiking The Valley of Ten Peaks: Eiffel Lake Trail

Around the two mile mark, we reached the junction for Eiffel Lake and Larch Valley/Sentinel Pass. If the weather had been better, we would have loved to also hike Sentinel Pass, but we’ll save that for another trip. At this point, we had taken several breaks as we contemplated whether or not it would be worthwhile to continue hiking. We figured at the very least, we would get to the junction and then decide from there, based on how much we were getting rained on. Once there, we had a snack and chatted with some other hikers who were intent on going up to Sentinel Pass, but were hoping for an improvement in the weather. Ultimately, after a short break, we decided to push on and get as close as we could to Eiffel Lake.

Hiking The Valley of Ten Peaks: Eiffel Lake Trail

The nice part about the second half of the hike to Eiffel Lake is that it is almost entirely flat. You do about 1,000 feet of gain in the first couple of miles, and very little the rest of the way. This makes the hike much more manageable, particularly since we were getting consistently rained on throughout. As we continued along the trail, the wildflowers were out in full force and helped brighten our spirits up a bit. We caught some nice views of the end of a bright, turquoise-blue Moraine Lake as we got further along the trail.

Hiking The Valley of Ten Peaks: Eiffel Lake Trail

Eventually, as we neared Eiffel Lake, the trees began to fade away and it almost felt like we had stepped onto another planet. We were greeted by a sparse, rocky landscape and rain clouds hugging the peaks that sat just above Eiffel Lake. Unlike Moraine Lake, which is famous for being a brighter blue, Eiffel Lake is a dark blue that almost felt like the color of the ocean. Nestled at the base of snowy mountains, the lake was a welcome sight after spending the past couple of hours getting rained on. We stopped to snap a few photos and enjoy the solitude of being the only ones at the lake before we were ready to turn and head back. While Eiffel Lake is beautiful, there is no clear trail that leads to its lake shore, and we were certainly not of the mindset to try and climb down any slippery rocks in the rain.

Hiking The Valley of Ten Peaks: Eiffel Lake Trail

The return hike was an easy one, as we quickly retraced our steps, anxious to get back to the car. We took a few breaks for photos, but as the rain was never really nice enough to let up for us, there wasn’t much to shoot. At the junction, we saw some of the same hikers we had chatted with on the way up, and they were deciding to call it a day and head to Sentinel Pass in the morning. We wished them well and made our way back down the Larch Valley trail.

Hiking The Valley of Ten Peaks: Eiffel Lake Trail

Eiffel Lake was a nice day-trip, hindered only by the late-July rain. We definitely recommend the hike if you’re looking to explore a little more of the Moraine Lake area!


Check out these other awesome Banff hikes:

Hiking to Moraine & Consolation Lakes

Hiking to Lake Agnes & the Big Beehive

Peyto Lake Hike to the Bottom

Exploring Johnston Canyon

Lake Louise & Hiking Plain of the Six Glaciers


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Hiking The Valley of Ten Peaks: Eiffel Lake Trail


Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you place an order after clicking through those links, Brian and I get a small commission (this does not cost you anything extra!). This is not a sponsored post, all of the gear we mention was purchased by us, and all opinions are our own.


 

Backpacking Big Pine Lakes | Temple Crag

Backpacking Big Pine Lakes | Temple Crag

Backpacking  to Big Pine Lakes| Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd Hiking to Big Pine Lakes via the North Fork Trail of Big Pine Creek is a classic trip in the Eastern Sierra. This strenuous trail can be done as a long…

Hiking Vernal and Nevada Falls | Yosemite National Park

Hiking Vernal and Nevada Falls | Yosemite National Park

Hiking Vernal and Nevada Falls| Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd One of the premier hikes starting from Yosemite Valley, the hike to Vernal and Nevada Falls is a must-do when visiting the park. An incredibly popular trail thanks to its access…

Hiking Berry Creek Falls | Big Basin Waterfall Hike

Hiking Berry Creek Falls | Big Basin Waterfall Hike

Big Basin Waterfall Hike| Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

Berry Creek Falls is a hidden gem nestled within Big Basin Redwood State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Hiking to the falls is the most popular activity in the park, so expect crowds to be high on a summer day. The redwoods provide the ideal backdrop for this waterfall hike, as you’ll be provided with plenty of shade along the way.

If you’re looking for a great day-hike in the South Bay area, Berry Creek Falls should be on your list!

Continue reading Hiking Berry Creek Falls | Big Basin Waterfall Hike

A Scenic Drive Through Monument Valley | Arizona

A Scenic Drive Through Monument Valley | Arizona

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd Monument Valley is an iconic destination in the heart of the American Southwest. Chances are if you have seen an old Western film, Forrest Gump, Westworld, or any number of other movies, then you know Monument…

24 Hours in Page | Arizona

24 Hours in Page | Arizona

24 Hours in Page| Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd In what has quickly become an annual tradition, Julie and I hit the road at the end of December in search of adventures in the Southwest. With winter weather making most of…

Hiking Devil’s Bridge | Sedona, Arizona

Hiking Devil’s Bridge | Sedona, Arizona

Hiking Devil’s Bridge| Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

The hike to Devil’s Bridge in Sedona is a popular, short excursion that leads to a heavily photographed natural bridge. An arch formed below the bridge, is the largest naturally occurring one of it’s kind in Sedona. Located just twenty minutes outside of Sedona, and surrounded by beautiful red rocks, hiking Devil’s Bridge is a must-do!

Continue reading Hiking Devil’s Bridge | Sedona, Arizona

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…

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…

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.

Continue reading Hiking Lassen Peak | Lassen Volcanic National Park

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…

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…

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.

Continue reading 2018 In Review – The Year of Weekend Road Trips

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…

Gift Ideas For Adventure Travelers

Gift Ideas For Adventure Travelers

Written by Julie Boyd The holiday season is officially upon us, filled with family, friends, and lots of food! Inevitably, we find ourselves in search of the perfect gift, and if you’re like us, that can often be a challenge. This year, we decided to…

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 hoped due to the rain, and in some cases, snow, that have accompanied our week in the mountains of Western Canada. Instead of being early summer, the June weather has felt a lot more like late winter, and it’s set to be another cloudy day.

Hoping to see something new, I suggest driving through Kootenay National Park, just south of where we have been spending the past several days in Yoho. Unfortunately, the clouds are covering up any chance of seeing the mountains, aside from the occasional glance we catch of snow capped peaks. We know that with so much left that we want to see and do, we’ll need to plan another trip back to Canada, but a bit later in the season next time. We are determined not to let the weather get us down, so we decide to do one of our favorite things when in the mountains, visit a waterfall.

Continue reading Hiking to Wapta Falls | Yoho National Park

Peyto Lake Hike to the Bottom | Banff National Park

Peyto Lake Hike to the Bottom | 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 the Canadian Rockies, the striking blue water is captivating. Is the water…

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

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

Big Beehive Hike| Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd The Lake Agnes and Big Beehive hike is one of our favorites in Banff National Park. Alpine vistas, quiet pine forests, and a lakeside tea house make this adventure unforgettable.

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. We first had the opportunity to explore Moraine Lake in 2016 and were instantly captivated by its striking beauty.

Continue reading Hiking to Moraine & Consolation Lakes | Banff National Park