WHEN IT FINALLY CAME TIME to have my bachelor party in June of 2015, I was inspired to do something different. I wasn’t interested in entertaining cliche ideas about a trip to Vegas or Lake Tahoe. I decided to venture high into the South Eastern Sierras for some quality time with the boys and the unspoiled beauty of the Minaret Mountain Range. Most of the guys were a little hesitant to commit to such an excursion, but after a little convincing and some photos from a previous trip, they were all on board.

We spent our first night at a campground close to Mammoth Lakes where we enjoyed more than a few libations and likely turned the neighboring family campers into resentful enemies by morning. Hungover and tired we started our 14-mile journey to Ediza Lake in Agnew Meadows. We had a few first-time backpackers in the crew who handled the steep inclines and high elevations like seasoned veterans. At about 5 and a half miles we encountered Shadow Lake where we took a short break to refuel and take in the views. We all started slowing down in the second half of the trek as elevation and incline started getting the better of us. As we struggled up the last granite steps of the last incline we were all treated to one of the most beautiful alpine vistas in California, Lake Ediza. Physically exhausted we all came stumbling into what would be our campsite for the next two nights. It was a flat and grassy area right next to the water where we soon realized the the mosquitoes were a force to be reckoned with. Too tired to relocate and armed with plenty of highly concentrated deet spray, we covered ourselves and set up camp.

We spent the next three days, hiking, fishing, eating, drinking and being genuinely awestruck by the surrounding scenery. Although we did everything in our power to catch fish, we ended up getting snubbed and had to settle for freeze dried food and cliff bars. Gus Winkelman and myself spent most of our days and nights setting up time-lapses when we weren’t relaxing by the lake or fishing. One evening we all witnessed a burning sunset that looked like it belonged in a Monet painting and will remain forever branded in our memories. When it was time to hike out on Sunday, nobody was eager to make the trek. Not because our feet and backs were sore and tired, but because we all didn’t want to leave the majestic retreat we came to fall in love with over a 3-day span. We were able to reconnect with a primal feeling that had been lost in the urban hustle of our everyday lives. It was an indescribable feeling of purity that stuck with us long after we returned to our normal lives. I encourage anyone who seeks something different, to venture out of your comfort zone and find yourself renewed by the raw power of nature.