Exploring Jasper National Park | Alberta, Canada

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

After completing a full day of driving along the Icefields Parkway, (read: part one and part two) it felt amazing to drop our bags off at the hotel, shower, and head into town for dinner. While the city of Banff was crowded with tourists roaming its streets, Jasper had a more relaxed vibe. Walking through the quaint town streets, we eventually decided on pizza at Famoso Neapolitan Pizza. Between all the walking and driving that day, pizza and beer was a well deserved meal! The next morning, we set out to explore Jasper National Park.

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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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Driving the Icefields Parkway | Part 2: Jasper | Alberta, Canada

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

With Banff squarely in our rearview, we continued our journey along the Icefields Parkway, headed for the town of Jasper.  If you’re a fan of stunning mountains and breathtaking waterfalls, then this is the place to be. Our first stop on the second half of our drive was the Columbia Icefield, a place that is truly spectacular.

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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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