When I get an invitation for adventure, my initial reaction is to jump to a quick "I'm down!" but when my friend (and roommate in LA) Laura, invited me on a camping trip to Lone Pine, California with her photographer friend, John Duarte, I had second thoughts.
Me? Camping? Yikes. At first, I was hesitant. What the heck do I know about camping? A) I had never been, B) I don't particularly see myself as a "camper" type. But there is one thing that I am always game for, and that's some good ol' fashion adventure.
After some back and fourth bickering, Laura got me on board. John sent us a mood/style board so we did a quick trip to Urban Outfitters to pull some looks.
Our alarm clocks rang at the ungodly hour of 5am and off we went, groogy-eyed, to meet up with the rest of the crew. A rental Jeep, plus two cars full of wardrobe and camera equipment made its way 3.5 hours north to the dessert of Lone Pine, California. I slept most of the way and woke up to views I had never seen before. Desert in front of us, snow caps on the mountains in the distance. My initial reaction was just "wow".
We started shooting immediately to make the most out of the daylight. There was so much variety in the terrain that we were able to switch up outfits and make it look like a completely different place!
After shooting for about 4 hours, the sun went down and so did the temperature. We went out for a group dinner at one of several restaurants in the small town of Lone Pine. If you ever find yourself that way, I'd recommend the Mexican restaurant, Bonanza. Don't worry about forgetting the name; you can't miss it, it's the only one!
Thankfully, we thought to drop a pin at our "home base" because there was zero service and it was pitch black when we got back. Honestly, I was kind of excited to camp! There's a first time for everything and I was ready to feel at one with the desert. First things first, we started a fire then started the process of setting up our tents. Just a few minutes in and the situation turned into a bad episode of Man VS. Wild. I didn't want to feel useless, so I got out there and tried doing what I could to help. Hilarious idea. Just picture a 6-person tent blowing against 105 pound me while I'm shouting "THIS F***ING THING IS GOING TO BLOW ME AWAY!". Hah!
After fighting the wind for a solid half hour, we turned around to realized that the fire we had started was blowing onto dry ferns and starting little fires all around us! We ran to stomp them out and at that point, we called it quits. The last thing we wanted was to start the next wildfire in CA. Our next option was to look into one of the motels in town-not my first choice, but definitely another opportunity for adventure. Unfortunately, no motel had any vacancies...can't say I was too disappointed. Our final option was to drive home. At that point, I was happy that I was going to be able to sleep in a bed.
So we hit the 395 South and made our way back to LA. On our way home, every single sign on the highway had a wind-advisory warning. LOL. There was also a bizarre situation in the middle of all of this that involved a stray dog & crazy lady but I'll spare you the details. Just trust my word when I say it felt like I was thrown into a Twilight Zone episode. But hey, I did ask for adventure...
So my friends, the lesson learned from this adventure? Check the weather- before going camping, or really before embarking on any outdoor activities. Seems like common sense, but you would be surprised.
Here are my favorites from this epic day trip. Photographed by John Duarte.