Eastern Sierras Landscape

An Adventure with Hardshell Rooftop Tent

I went on a recent trip through Eastern Sierras with my new Hardshell Rooftop Tent. After many weeks of researching which one I would get and a brief trial with softshell ones, I decided to get the Alu-Cab 3.1 Expedition tent which is considered the best and gold standard in the market, completely made in South Africa. It can only be bought and installed by certified professional dealers and the closest dealer to Reno, NV was in Sonoma, CA. Mudrak Custom Cruisers did a fantastic job installing my new tent which took almost 6 hours to install. I will be installing solar panels on the tent in the next short few months.

The U.S. Route 395 is an absolutely scenic route that goes through so many beautiful places. There are multiple lifetimes that can be spent exploring the beautiful nature in this area.

My first stop was about 24 miles to Bishop, CA in the Inyo National Forest offroad dispersed camping area, which was absolutely breathtaking with a 270-degree view of the surrounding mountains including Mt. Tom (13,658′). Mt. Tom is in John Muir Wilderness. There was minimal to no light pollution and great for Astrophotography but we almost had a full moon so it was not going to turn out great on this trip. Definately next time!

The next morning my trip took me through Bishop, CA, and a quick trip to Lake Sabrina, which had even less water than when I visited it in May 2021.

Fall Colors were in full swing and amazing along the way especially in a small unincorporated community in Inyo County called Aspendell (elevation 8409′) in mid-October. Definitely worth the visit from Bishop and a short trip. There are tons of hikes around Lake Sabrina, you would enjoy.

Bishop area
Aspendell, CA

I headed next toward Lone Pine, CA, as I wanted to have time and find and set up my location for camping and sunset/sunrise photo shoot in Alabama Hills where you have the best vies to Mt. Whitney (elevation 14,505′) with lots of trails and a favorite place for rock climbers and also movie producer to shoot scenes (Iron Man and many more movies). I stopped in Big Pine, CA for lunch and had an amazing barbeque rib for lunch at Copper Top BBQ, which I absolutely recommend.

Alabama Hills are absolutely out of this world. If you are a photographer and love to hike, this is heaven. It can get busy though. Alabama Hills belongs to the City of Los Angeles, as I mentioned favorite spot for movie producers. You can also hike Mt. Whitney but you need a lottery for it because it is very popular. I will definitely be heading back there to get some shots of Mt. Whitney with snow on them and also hike during the day more when it is cooler. Morning Hikes are the best as it is cooler and still beautiful. For the Sunrise picture, you have to be ready on location 35-40 min before sunrise. Sunsets right behind the mountain, still beautiful but not as dramatic as sunrise.

The next day I wanted to go to Yosemite. I decided to stop by Convict Lake for a hike and see if they have good fall colors which they did. The surface elevation is 7,850′. There is a beautiful campsite out there with 80 or so awesome camp spots ($29 a night). I am sure it is super busy in summer and I would not want to be there but, 70% of the camp spot was empty because it could get cold in October at night at that elevation. Hiking there is absolutely beautiful. I paid for a campsite and decided to drive to Yosemite which was 60 min away from the Yosemite gate. I drove there but saw more than a mile of cars in the traffic trying to get into the park. I decided to head back to Lake Convict to stay. A storm was coming and Highway 120 was going to be closed to Yosemite that evening.

It was very windy overnight and snowed as well but the tent did amazing and I felt very secure and when I woke up the next day I found we had 4-5+ inches of snow. It was 13 degrees that morning.

The setup and takedown of the tent in all conditions was a breeze and less than a minute even with snow on the top. I left a sleeping bag a Down cover and a pillow in the tent and it was still a breeze to close it back up.

The roads the next day were super icy and I wanted to go to Minaret Vista in Mammoth Lake, CA but decided not to risk it and headed back to Reno after a quick stop at Mono Lake and Twin Lakes by Bridgeport, CA.

I did stop by “The Barn” in Bridgeport for an amazing Hamburger (they had more things) for lunch and had a great coffee at a charming store called Walker Coffee Company in Walker, CA, and headed back home.

Easters Sierras are absolutely majestic and there are gazillions of opportunities to explore and take amazing photographs and spend time with Mother Nature. A Hardshell Rooftop Tent proved to be the best choice to be able to set up anywhere you want in less than a min including the time to put it back together, and Alu-Cab is the one to go with.

Thanks again to Rack 2 Roam in Reno, NV and Mudrak Custom Cruisers, in Sonoma, CA for helping me to have the best setup possible any photographers could have.

See you on next blog and Happy Shooting!

In memory of Dr. Sheikhzadeh who was an amazing physician colleague and Mountaineer in Reno, NV, who passed away in that area in a freak accident last year.

Author: Kouros Farro

I am a family physician, educator, and photographer who loves landscape photography.

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