Tag Archives: National Parks

Maroon Bells-Snowmass

Ever since Katie and I moved to Utah, we’ve been slowly losing touch with friends and family back home.  Although we visit a few brief weekends every year, it’s hard to see everyone we’d like to.  In August, a couple old friends from high school wanted to get out of town for a weekend and I quickly recommended the Maroon Bells-Snowmass area in western Colorado.  Firstly, this pristine wilderness outside of Aspen is lightly traveled and would be perfect for a three night backpacking trek for us.  Secondly, western Colorado is directly between SLC and Lincoln so I could easily meet them there.

Right out of the gate our plans had to change: an increase in bear activity caused the park service to require bear canisters instead of bear bags for all backcountry trips.  We called every outfitter in a 100 mile radius and they were all sold out so we settled on some local tent camping with a few light dayhikes in the area.

Brian and Ben on our first hike into Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area
Brian and Ben on our first hike into Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area

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Glacier National Park

From Banff, we hopped on the highway and immediately missed an exit or two and got lost in Calgary.  Eventually we made it out and after a long stop, courtesy of the US Border Patrol, we arrived at our rental house on the edge of Glacier National Park.  We were pretty tired from driving and spent the rest of the day lounging, before heading into the park the following morning.

East side of Glacier National Park
East side of Glacier National Park

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Banff National Park

Banff is Canada’s oldest national park and sits on the western side of Alberta, about a 4 hour drive from the border.  It has glaciers, mountains, lakes, and rivers that make up some of the best views you can find in North America.  And the park is completely dog-friendly.

Katie and I have been meaning to go for ages.  We got our chance over 4th of July weekend, when we took a quick roadtrip up there with Sherlock.  Joining us on this excursion are Katie’s parents, her sister Julie (I swear she follows us everywhere), and her new fiance Chris.

After 14 hours of driving, we arrived in Banff on July 5th and set out on our first hike up to a waterfall.

Katie and Justin overlooking a waterfall on our first hike
Katie and Justin overlooking a waterfall on our first hike. Sherlock was afraid of the walkway, so he didn’t join us.

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