Hello from Roach
Heyo…. Sarah Roach here- figured I’d start with an introduction. I’m a fairly new addition to the Obey posse- these guys over here seem to think I can work a camera decently enough & I’m stoked to now be a part of such a rad crew.
On my own time, I travel with my camera as much as possible- along with my boyfriend (who happens to be 10x the photographer I am). We share the same travel philosophies, and we usually end up getting into some pretty incredible shit.
Our most recent trip to the Sierra Nevada Mts is a great example of how such epicness ensues. I’ll share a few of our travel tips with ya. Now, I’m not claiming I hold the key to becoming the ultimate master adventurer of the “Hipster #Campvibes Revolution”. I’ve just found this way of gettin’ around to be the most rewarding in many ways. So here we go…
1. Have ideas, not plans.
Loosen up a bit. If you go into a trip with a strict list of things to do, it’s likely you’ll miss out on way cooler stuff just because you couldn’t un-wedge that stick from up your ass. We started out with a beginning destination in mind & a few ideas here and there of what we’d like to see. No freaking itineraries. We left early in the morning (also a good tip- get outta bed you bums) and made it to Mt. Whitney portal before most people had their first cup of coffee that morning- talk about feeling like you ruled the day already.
(35mm shot with Canon F1)
Whitney Portal is at 8,000 ft… frigid as shit this time of year and I felt like the bears were already checkin out our situation the second we rolled up. But man it is so beautiful up there. The mountain’s infamous minarets (long, thin peaks- it’s ok I had to look it up the first time too) tower over the massive evergreens- kinda feels like being in the shadow of a castle.
2. Google maps is your friend.
Ok I know this is a long stretch from how the early explorers did it, but I’m sure those dudes didn’t feel techno-guilt when the sextant was first invented- they embraced that shit! I suggest you sit down with a cold one, turn that satellite “hybrid” feature on, and find roads to get you somewhere you think looks cool. It’s an amazing tool that does way more than just find the nearest In ‘n Out. But beware- I’ve been sucked into that vortex before- it’ll get ya for hours.
(35mm shot with Canon F1)
(35mm shot with Olympus XA)
Inyo Craters near Mammoth (35mm shot with Olypmus XA by @drewmartinphotography)
Onion Valley was a turnoff from Independence we noticed while driving through. Good’ol Google maps showed an insanely windy switchback road leading to a valley with tons of lakes… uh, yes please. The place is surrounded in waterfalls. Hiking at 10k feet will kinda make ya feel like a geezer- but at least you’ll have an excuse for being so winded after taking 10 steps (THIS time). Didn’t see any onions. Then it was north to Mammoth Lakes…
3. If you don’t already know about BLM land, then I say YOU’RE WELCOME- in advance.
Everyone loves free shit. Camping is no exception. If you can get over the fact that you don’t have a drinking fountain and a convenient campground toilet & shower at your disposal, then you should do yourself a favor and find some FREE wilderness to stay in. BLM stands for Beaureau of Land Management- but all you need to know is that means PUBLIC land- it’s yours (and everyone else’s, too. Don’t be an asshole out there- pack it in pack it out, ok?) It’s easy to look online and see what’s BLM and what’s private. It usually pretty obvious, too… people that own land usually don’t want you on it, so they’ll make it known to “keepthefuckout”. Extra bonuses include: doing whatever the hell you want, no families to bother late at night, no kooky camp neighbors… I could go on and on.
35mm shot with Olypus XA by @drewmartinphotography
West of Bishop is a magical land called the Buttermilks. Mostly known for rock climbing and bouldering, we just see it as a massive playground to take photos of a stupidly gorgeous landscape. It’s almost all BLM and there’s dirt roads to romp on for days.
4. Say yes.
Having an open mind and allowing adventure into your life is my absolute number one rule. Go for it, man. Clearly, don’t be an idiot…. this philosophy strictly applies to humans equipped with a shred of common sense. But I think if you find yourself asking “why not” more often than “nah”, your life will always stay interesting.
We called up a friend who lives on a ranch in Big Pine. After a couple drinks at his family “bar” in their barn, they offered us their extra double-wide trailer to stay in for the evening. Didn’t have to take a couple of geniuses to say “Yes” to that one. After a few more drinks we ask about this “Death Valley Rd” they live on. Sure as shit, they said it’s a dirt road 86 miles to the park. It may have been the beers talking, but we said “Yes” to that idea. Next morning we hit the dirt. Let’s just say the experience more than paid off. Not only was it a fun & beautiful drive, it’s actually a huge short cut to get there! We ended up in Death Valley. We kept saying “Yes” for the remainder of our trip. Got us into some radical fun…
our double-wide quarters… it was creepy awesome
along the dirt road from Big Pine to Death Valley
ended up at Ubehebe Crater… photo: @drewmartinphotography
35mm shot with Olympus XA by @drewmartinphotography
mysterious sliding rocks at Racetrack Playa… my bet is it’s aliens screwing with us
got an up-too-close fly by from a fighter jet on the playa… photo: @drewmartinphotography
salt formations at the bottom of Badwater Basin… elevation -200 ft
Alright think that’s where I’ll leave it. I’ll be happy to take credit if these tips improve your next adventure, and will also fully deny any responsibility in the case of accidental forest fire, bear attacks, angry landowner shootings, or lost hikers.