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Welcome to our blog! We are a husband & wife photography team based in Madison, Wisconsin who document weddings & anniversaries for joyful couples who believe in marriage. This blog is a journal about real love stories, marriage & our own adventures along the way! We are so glad you're here — please stay awhile!




California Road Trip: Part 1 | Personal Post | Sequoia National Forest + San Francisco.

July 20, 2016

The only way to start this blog post is by saying that photographs will never be able to do justice to the greatness of the things we saw over the past week on our trip to California. Time + time again, we would be standing at … say … the base of a Redwood tree with our camera in hand. A comment would be made about how INCREDIBLE the sight was before us + I would take a picture to document what we were seeing. After taking the photo, I would look at the back of the camera and, ultimately, feel disappointed at the photo I saw on my screen. So I would back up, take it again … and again, find disappointment. I would try another angle, but each time, the same scenario ensued. And eventually I accepted that the photos from this trip will only help tell the story of everything we say — they will not be able to TRULY tell it.

Our time in California (which if you haven’t read the blog post about WHY we even went to California in the first place, you MUST do that here!), is going to be split up into two blog posts! This will make things a big more manageable ; ) Today, I am sharing photos from the first half of our trip — seeing The Giant Sequoias in the Sequoia National Forest, as well as our short stay in San Francisco!

We flew into LAX + then drove to The Sequoia National Forest (SNF) the very next day. The Sequoias are located in inland Central California + are known for their great width + thickness. The largest tree in the world (by volume) is found in the SNF. This national park is actually located high up in the mountains, surrounded for miles + miles by desolate desert (at least that’s what it seemed like when we didn’t see another car for an HOUR + A HALF while driving from the SNF to San Francisco!!). It was eerie + incredible, all at the same time.

In the SNF, my dad saw his first Redwood, which took his breath away + the words right out of his mouth. Pure amazement + a very beautiful moment; I won’t forget it, to be honest : ) We drove an endless amount of winding roads + hiked several trails to see the “Big Boys”, as he kept calling them. We talked about what the pioneers must have thought went they first stumbled upon such MASSIVE trees!! We learned how many five-bedroom houses could be build out of a single Sequoia tree : )

After the SNF, our next stop was San Francisco. There were so many things to do + not enough time!! We had LOTS of good food — my favorite meal of the trip was in San Francisco … as weird as it sounds, it was an Artichoke Soup at Blue Plate on Mission Street + has my mouth-watering just typing about it! My dad, mom, + Caleb, thoroughly enjoyed the fresh seafood always available at their fingertips! We saw the Painted Ladies, the Full House house, Fisherman’s Wharf, + many bustling streets in between : ) These two stops will wrap up today’s blog post — but Part 2 is coming soon, so stay tuned!! Happy (almost) Friday!!

One thing I was not expecting was that the Sequoias would be in the MOUNTAINS!! We did a LOT of driving on STEEP, windy mountain roads!! And at elevations towering over 5,000 feet above sea level!!

This is when we saw the FIRST Redwood — Dad abruptly pulled over + stopped the car because he HAD to touch it : )

The photo on the bottom right is of the largest tree in the WORLD — The General Sherman Tree!! It’s super hard to see in the photo, but if you look closely, you can maybe see the ant-sized people at the very base of the tree!!

I just love this photo I snuck of my dad when he got up close to The General Sherman Tree for the first time … absolute amazement + an overwhelming amount of emotion : )

We then traveled a bit to see another famous tree — The Boole Tree!! It is the 5th largest tree + is named after a lumberjack named Mr. Boole. He was, apparently, a very arrogant man, + the story is that the tree was named after him just so he wouldn’t cut it down!!

I spy my sister ; ) The trail to see the Boole Tree was actually a bit of a hike — definitely off the beaten path, but SO worth going!! As you can see from the photos above + below, a lot of the trees in this area were burned!!

The coolest part about seeing The Boole Tree was that since it isn’t a heavily toured area, you can get RIGHT up next to it — like, you can actually climb up on it if you want ; )

One thing is for sure — pictures will NEVER be able to capture the true majesty of these trees …

The house we stayed at while visiting The Sequoia National Forest had an AMAZING view, wouldn’t you say!?!?

Our next stop was San Francisco! First up, The Painted Ladies!!

McKenna + I with momma : )

For those who grew up watching Full House (like me!!!!! I’ve seen every episode … at least twice …) the house on the bottom right is THE Full House house!!! They have since painted it : )

We spent a day at Fisherman’s Wharf!!

Alcatraz!! Not enough time to take a tour : (

Believe it or not, we didn’t get any chocolate!!

We had to … can anyone else see what Caleb is pointing at in the bottom right photo!?! ; )

A foggy day to see the Golden Gate Bridge!! Still so beautiful!! Stay tuned for Part 2 of the trip, coming to the blog soon!! : )


  1. Heather

    July 21st, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    Honestly I teared up at some of these pics of your dad and those trees!!! Also you are your sister will always cherish this trip with them. I LOVE it.

  2. Maison Engel

    July 22nd, 2016 at 1:22 am

    🙂 🙂 I know we will 🙂 Thanks, Heather!

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