Tag: Hiking

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…

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…

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 read more about the famous Enchantments region of the wilderness. This year, I applied for one of the incredibly rare permits to backpack in the Enchantments, but unfortunately, as with so many others, my bid was unsuccessful. Undeterred, I quickly moved on to plan B, which was a day hike to the edge of the Enchantments, and another popular destination: Colchuck Lake.

Continue reading Hiking to Colchuck Lake | Alpine Lakes Wilderness

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…

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 in the heart of Yoho Valley. While walking to enjoy the falls, we stopped at a trail sign near the parking lot, and marveled at the many hikes we had to come back to do. Flash forward to 2019 and with our third trip to Canada booked, we were excited to cross one of these hikes of our to-do list: Twin Falls.

Continue reading Hiking Twin Falls | Yoho National Park

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…

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 to Half Dome, hiking to the falls is best done in Spring or Summer when the falls are at their peak.

While we consider this to be a difficult hike, you will be rewarded for your efforts with two stunning waterfalls and fantastic views along the way.

Continue reading Hiking Vernal and Nevada Falls | Yosemite National Park

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…

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 alpine lakes that are surrounded by a series of jagged peaks.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to hiking Little Lakes Valley is the starting elevation which is over 10,000 feet. If you’re like us and spend most of your time near sea level, it can be a bit of a challenge without some acclimation ahead of time.

Continue reading Hiking Little Lakes Valley | Gem Lakes

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…

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 to be a great option for a day hike on the day we picked up our permits. The trail is short, just three miles roundtrip, but starts at an elevation of 9,960 feet, which makes the hike a bit more challenging. Doing this hike the same day as coming from sea-level meant we moved at a slower pace, as we worked to acclimate to the elevation.

Continue reading Hiking to Upper Gaylor Lakes | Yosemite National Park

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…

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 put together a list of some of our favorite items that we love to use for our adventures. We hope you find something useful and if you have any tips, we would be excited to hear about them.

Continue reading Gift Ideas For Adventure Travelers

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…

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.…

Hiking Joffre Lakes | British Columbia

Hiking Joffre Lakes | British Columbia

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

One of the central appeals to staying in Vancouver, when planning our trip, was its close proximity to outdoor activities. As much as we enjoy visiting a new city, we find ourselves eager to get outside and into the mountains. Continue reading Hiking Joffre Lakes | British Columbia

Hiking Mission Peak | Bay Area California

Hiking Mission Peak | Bay Area California

Written by Julie Boyd | Photography by Julie Boyd One of the things I miss the most about living in Southern California is the proximity to high altitude hikes in the San Gabriel Mountains. Sure, living in the Bay Area means that Brian and I…

Hiking Mt. Tallac | Lake Tahoe, CA

Hiking Mt. Tallac | Lake Tahoe, CA

Written by Julie Boyd | Photography by Julie Boyd When we arrived in Lake Tahoe, I gazed at the snowy peaks and knew immediately that our plan to hike Mt. Tallac would have to be saved for another trip. The snow level seemed pretty low,…

Glacier Point Hike to Sentinel Dome and Taft Point | Yosemite National Park

Glacier Point Hike to Sentinel Dome and Taft Point | Yosemite National Park

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

Working full-time jobs means we live for the weekend, and more importantly, our weekend adventures.

In the little over one year that we have lived in Northern California, we have made every effort to get out and explore our new surroundings. Often, this means extensive time in the car as we travel to different outdoor destinations where we can stretch our legs with a good hike.

With summer just around the corner, Julie and I have started to ramp up our training regime in preparation for making the leap from day-hikes to backpacking.

On Friday evening, we started to throw around the idea of going to Yosemite as a day-trip for the opening day of the road to Glacier Point. After a few minutes of discussion, we made the plan official, and began prepping for an early morning trip to Yosemite.

Continue reading Glacier Point Hike to Sentinel Dome and Taft Point | Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Falls Hike to the Top in Winter | Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Falls Hike to the Top in Winter | Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Falls Hike to the Top| Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd Yosemite is a magical place to visit anytime of year, but there’s something extra special about seeing the famous granite covered in a fresh layer of snow. Perhaps that lends…

Hiking to Castle Dome | Castle Crags State Park

Hiking to Castle Dome | Castle Crags State Park

Castle Crags Hike| Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd One of the very best aspects about living somewhere new is the opportunity to explore your surroundings and uncover new adventures. Northern California has reinvigorated the love we have for our home state…

Hiking the Bear Gulch-High Peaks Loop | Pinnacles National Park

Hiking the Bear Gulch-High Peaks Loop | Pinnacles National Park

Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd

I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t excited about visiting Pinnacles National Park. Before meeting Julie, I hadn’t heard much about the park, which had previously been a National Monument before receiving National Park status in 2013. And what I had seen in the research we had done as we planned for our trip: rock formations, hills, a reservoir, caves, didn’t pique my interest in the same way as some of the other National Parks do. For the record, I love visiting the parks and have a goal to visit all fifty-nine, but I am more inclined to high peaks and alpine lakes than desert landscapes. Perhaps then, one of the best things about being outdoors is the ability for nature, and our parks, to completely flip those preconceptions upside down. After visiting Pinnacles, I can safely say that the park is an underrated gem, and that is definitely saying something when you consider we have nine National Parks in California!

Continue reading Hiking the Bear Gulch-High Peaks Loop | Pinnacles National Park