A week or so ago my boy Albert invited me on a camping trip to Yosemite with his friends who I didn’t know, but I was down. Albert and I have been friends for a long time so I had no doubt he would have a tight selection of good people to hang with. I was dropped into a group chat and tried to get a grasp on what was going on but didn’t understand until we had a zoom meeting for the trip. Still, I didn’t really know what was going on haha. I usually camp alone so it was difficult to work out trip logistics since I didn’t have to do everything myself. This post is pic heavy so please enjoy ~
Sony a6400 + Sigma 30mm f/1.4 + Sony 16-50mm kit lens
The first day I was supposed to meet up with Thanh at his workplace in Pleasanton CA since we were scheduled to leave a little after 1pm. Another guy riding in Thanh’s car was Bobby who was arriving from San Francisco CA. I got my car all packed up in the morning and brought some extra stuff just in case we needed it then started to drive down to the bay. As I pulled onto the last street I saw a gold Lexus GX and I remember Albert saying both those friends drove a GX, so I figured it was one of them so I followed. It WAS the right person as we rounded the corner and saw Thanh with his GX. From there we introduced ourselves and started to load up our gear.
We took off sometime after 1pm then make a stop for coffee and snacks before getting into the hills. Upon approaching the Yosemite entrance a car got our attention and pointed to the back of the car, we looked back and saw smoke!! The wood had ignited from the hot exhaust being so close. We quickly put it out and thought about how lucky we were then moved all the wood to the other side. It’s funny because a 4 Runner parked next to us with wood issues on their cargo rack too, but it was because their wood was falling off. We got the wood situation covered then kept driving to our campsite in Upper Pines Campground.
Photos of the rigs. Thanh’s silver GX, Albert’s black 4 Runner and Ngoc’s grey Tacoma.
Here’s Albert and Ivy whipping up ravioli for a pre dinner snack.
Thanh and Ngoc chillin out.
Cooler essentials, had to grab a few before walking down to the creek.
After a short walk we got the creek, water temperature was perfect but it was a little tricky walking across the rocks without slipping. I had to make sure my camera didn’t take a dunk. Albert tried out my new lens and got some nice shots.
Rare photo of me
Albert & Ivy
Albert is always crackin’ up about something, and with Truman around it’s easy to be always laughing.
Nice group photo of us, didn’t realize I wasn’t smiling lol.
Albert & Ivy
Our last little adventure for the night included walking to a lake but we ended up turning back because I thought I dropped my wallet near the creek. Turns out it was in my backpack haha whoops.
That night Thanh prepared some Korean BBQ short rib that was amazing and we had so much. I forget what time we went to bed but we were woken up by the birds in the morning.
Everyone woke up and got ready to roll out to get some morning photos while Bobby and I stayed back to have coffee and chill.
Ngoc’s dog Kona in the back ready to go explore.
Finally, I got to use my new coffee setup while camping, I had been waiting for this moment. I was glad to have critics there so I can fine tune my brew.
I had Albert do a couple laps so I could snag a sick rolling shot.
Ngoc’s Tacoma with his Commencal bike.
Albert with some salt bae action for the avocado toast.
After breakfast we drove to the main part of the park to rent some bikes to ride around. Each bike was $24 for 5 hours.
We rode to Mirror Lake and Thanh brought his electric skateboard which was super fun to ride.
Mirror lake was uhh, a little dry. Just imagine there is water there…
When we got back from riding bikes we packed up and headed to Cherry Lake.
A couple photos as we crossed the dam at the lake.
It was a chill dirt road to the dispersed campground.
Albert, Ivy, and Truman arrived not too long after we got there
Cheers to everyone making it safely
These items never left my side during the duration of the trip, well except for when I thought I lost my wallet. The inreach GPS came in super handy when navigating the trail down to the water and back. I was also able to communicate with my family via text message that sent a location pin with each message.
Ivy posted with her dollar store floaty
We had so much fun swimming and jumping off the rocks. The water temperature was perfect and the clarity was crystal. I brought my tripod into the water for a nice group photo.
After swimming Ngoc started to get the tacos fired up, such a good dinner while camping, he even brought some orange sauce from La Vics!
Pre dinner group pic
Albert out here trying to work his way into the northface modeling scene
Taco tiiime, everyone’s tacos were so photogenic, not something you usually see when camping.
Thanh brought some fresh coconut for us all to enjoy, good call, super refreshing.
On the way to the spot, Ngoc and Thanh both had low fuel and Albert mentioned that he had 2 gallons. Well it was a 2 gallon empty container is what he meant lol! Ngoc was heading to SoCal so he needed some gas to make it to the next station. They tried to use a hookah hose to siphon gas out of Albert’s 4 Runner, that didn’t work so the 3 of them rolled out together to the closest gas station.
Before Ngoc rolled out I had to give his bike a try and rip some wheelies, the bike is so smooth and the front brake/tire setup has a massive amount of bite.
Once it got dark out the stars really started to show, I tried to get an astrophotography style photo but I just couldn’t get the focus right. It took many tries but I only got this sub par photo. If anybody has any tips please let me know!
A few of the guys wanted to fish with me buuuuutt they stayed up suuuper late so they were dead in the morning. I woke up at 5:30am then hit snooze for 8 minutes and rolled out of my tent a little before 6am. I tried waking the guys up but everyone needed rest for the trip home so I let them be. It was still dark so I wore my headlamp on the walk down to the water. I had 3 poles setup and the one that caught fish was a simple garlic power bait on a sinker, classic.
I caught this one after about 40 minutes, I thought I would catch some more but 1 is better than none.
This was the view to my left.
After fishing for a couple hours Truman walked down to join me. We caught this water snake and got him hooked up to his first fish! He caught a few bluegill and even though they are small it still gives the pole some action which gets you familiar with the bite feel.
Once it got a little too warm for fishing I prepped the trout to cook right there on the rocks, which I was inspired to do courtesy of Fisherman’s Life.
You can cook the trout whole but I like fillets more, and I’m getting better at filleting so there’s less meat wasted.
Seasoned with fresh cracked pepper and garlic salt, simple but delicious.
We swam a little more then went back up to camp to have lunch before rolling out. Albert and Ivy made curry, yum!
We left at about 1pm I think and had to take some detours on the way home due to the fires. I didn’t take many photos at this point because I was exhausted and still had to drive 2 hours to my house.
This was a solid trip and even thought I went with strangers, we meshed together and built a little family which turned out great! Hopefully we can have a similar trip in the near future, snowboard season is approaching, let’s see what happens!