2016: Twelve Months of Exploring

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

2016 has certainly been a memorable year for us, as we shared a number of new adventures that inspired us to get out and explore. We visited four countries, checked a number of items off the bucket list, got engaged in Yosemite, turned this blog into a joint venture, and many more. And while, like everyone, the year has provided some unexpected bumps, we had a fantastic time exploring new destinations and are excited for what 2017 has in store!

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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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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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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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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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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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Time Travel Tuesday | Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Written by Julie Boyd | Photography by Julie Boyd

Grand Teton National Park is truly one of the most breathtaking mountain landscapes in the United States. The jagged peaks of the 40-mile-long Teton Mountain Range are unobstructed by foothills and tower over 7,000 feet above the landscape. Below them, the Snake River carves through a valley of picturesque alpine meadows and sapphire glacial lakes. Continue reading “Time Travel Tuesday | Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming”

The Best Adventures in Yosemite National Park | California

Written by Julie | Photos by Julie Boyd

When I was 16-years-old, my dad pulled the car over to take in the majesty of Yosemite Valley at Tunnel View on a family trip to the park. Since that first moment, when I gazed upon the giant granite cliffs, bright blue skies, serene forests, and roaring waterfalls, I was hooked on Yosemite National Park. Over the years, I have returned many times with my family, friends, and Brian to admire its natural beauty, and explore opportunities for adventure. From my travels so far, these are what I consider to be the best things to do in Yosemite. Continue reading “The Best Adventures in Yosemite National Park | California”

Earth Day & National Park Week

Written by Julie Boyd | Photography by Julie Boyd

Happy Earth Day!

This week the National Park Service is celebrating our National Parks, and Earth Day, by offering free admission to all of the parks, nationwide. While Brian and I wish we could get out and take advantage of this great opportunity, our obligations with our jobs are holding us back this year. As an alternative, I thought I would share some of my photographs from past travels to national parks. Enjoy!

Rocky Mountain
The View from Curve Overlook in Rocky Mountain National Park

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