Driving the Icefields Parkway | Part 1: Banff | Alberta, Canada

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

After a successful visit to Johnston Canyon, we hopped back in the car and continued north towards Jasper. On a trip packed with scenic beauty, we were especially looking forward to our drive along the Icefields Parkway. Famous for its stretch of unmatched natural beauty, the parkway travels between Banff and Jasper National Parks. The 140 mile drive derives its name from the Columbia Icefield, which feeds several glaciers that can be seen as you traverse through the area.

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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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Exploring Johnston Canyon |Banff, Canada

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

On Wednesday morning, we woke up, packed the car, and jumped on the road for a full day of adventure. This would be our last day in Banff, and to start, we planned to visit Johnston Canyon before heading onward to Jasper National Park. As with most popular tourist destinations, its best to get an early start to avoid crowds. However, as perpetual late starters, we arrived at the parking lot around 10:00 a.m. and found no available spaces. Many cars here opt to park along the roadside, but we were fortunate to find a spot in the the lot for Johnston Canyon Resort. Grabbing our gear, we made our way into the canyon to explore.

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An Afternoon in Yoho National Park | British Columbia, Canada

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

Fresh off an awesome hike to the Plain of Six Glaciers, we still had several hours of sunlight left to explore the area before sunset. Julie had come across Takakkaw Falls while researching the trip, and suggested a quick visit to fill in the rest of our afternoon. While not an original part of our trip plans, we decided to make our way to nearby Yoho National Park to explore.

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Lake Louise & Hiking the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail | Banff, Canada

After our visit to Moraine Lake, we made the short drive over to Lake Louise and were promptly greeted with an overwhelming traffic jam. Cars arriving in the parking lot were quickly directed to the exit, and we followed suit. If you have the patience to wait, some parking spots could be found alongside the two lane road, albeit at the expense of blocking traffic. Instead, we opted to come back on Tuesday morning, with an earlier start. As with Moraine Lake, it’s best to aim to be in the lot prior to 9:00 a.m., so you can get there before the tour buses arrive. Once you park, it’s a very short walk to Lake Louise, and its popular photo spot. Unless you are there before sunrise, expect to encounter crowds looking for the perfect selfie.

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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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Moraine Lake | Banff, Canada

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

As we planned out our Canadian adventure, Julie and I each had a long list of “must visit” locations. Many of these destinations were shared, and that was especially true of Moraine Lake. If you spend any time on Instagram (including ours) these days, there’s a good chance you’ve seen photos of Moraine Lake pop up, and the images are always stunning. Spending just a few minutes there, it’s not hard to see why this place is an absolute gem!

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An Afternoon in Kananaskis | Alberta, Canada

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

As mentioned in our last post, while visiting Banff, we opted to stay outside the park in Kananaksis Country. We spent most of our first day in Calgary, but after checking into our hotel, we decided there was enough sunlight left to explore our home for the next three nights. Kananaskis, and the area it encompasses, is named after the river which runs through it. If we had more time, this is definitely somewhere we would loved to have explored further. There are supposed to be some great hikes in this area, though several of the places we stopped at were closed and warned of bears in the area. For that reason, and because it was later in the day, we only made a couple of brief stops to check out the scenery.

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