Twin Lakes, Mammoth, CA

We had always talked about going on a camping trip, but never got around to doing it. Life was moving faster and faster. We had family, school, jobs, girlfriends and different dreams that got in the way. I began to feel that my closest group of friends and I were drifting apart.

At the end of our first year of college, we decided that we had stalled long enough on our camping adventure. We packed my station wagon full of camping gear, food and boys hungry for the wild and nights under the stars. We woke up early one morning in June, not a worry in our minds, and drove towards the Sierras.

"We hopped in our camping chairs, grabbed a cold beer from the cooler and sat under the trees, enjoying every sip of life we took from the air."

After an easy five hour drive, we had arrived at our destination. We had no reservation to camp, so we were not guaranteed a spot to settle down. Luckily, we arrived on a perfect campsite. #88 sat on a clearing above the rest of the campsites, so we felt separated from the other campers. After quickly setting up camp, we hopped in our camping chairs, grabbed a cold beer from the cooler and sat under the trees, enjoying every sip of life we took from the air.

Signs of spring still lingered in the air as new flowers were emerging from the soil and small piles of snow were scattered under the shade of the pines. The air was crisp and clear and I felt my surroundings rush through me with every breath.

After cooking a simple dinner of some pasta and sausage, we huddle around the fire, enjoying our solitude and freedom. We share stories from the past, talk about current issues and simply sit in silence, listening to the crackle of the fire and noises coming from the forest around us. The stars and the fire is all that illuminates us in the darkness of the forest. It is eerie and quiet, yet alive and bright. We head to the tent for rest. We quickly fall asleep, eager for the adventure that we have planned for tomorrow.

Morning comes and we are up early; preparing a fire, making a pot of coffee and making peanut butter and jellies for the day. We all have our jobs, saying little to each other and listening to the soothing sounds of Bob Marley in the background. We eat scrambled eggs, sip on coffee and orange juice, gather cameras and jackets and pack camp up for the day.

We start out on our hike for the day. We don’t really have a plan, just climb up into the Sierras as high as we can, exploring what we find. We locate a trail and start heading up the mountain, taking breaks for water periodically but we are determined to make it to the peaks. We reach a high peak that overlooks the lakes below us as well as the valley below them. Pulling out sandwiches and nuts, we fill ourselves with energy to keep climbing up the mountain. After taking a break for lunch on the beautiful overhang, we keep heading up. We reach a glacier that we then climb for a higher vantage point, although the view was less mesmerizing than below. We then slide down on our feet, competing to see who can slide the farthest without falling. I am taken back to all of the memories we shared as kids, and here we were creating memories just like those from our childhood.

As the summer sun is beginning to set and our trek down the mountain starts, I think about how my relationship with my best friends has changed since elementary school, high school and now college. I saw everyone of my friends everyday for years, and here I was thousands of miles away from them all. It hurt to be away from them, but I knew our bond would still be there. We did not talk or see each other as much as I would have liked our first year, but the camping trip made me realize a very special thing about our relationship. We could go months, even years without talking and still hold the extremely tight bond that we had formed together. We are family; the brothers that I do not have.

"This was the first trip of many."

As our few days in the wild came to a close, I came away with a newfound bond with my friends. I realized that we would keep creating moments like these for the rest of our lives. This was the first trip of many. We would be back together soon.  


Tip from Base Camp:

Twin Lakes Campground was very crowded when we visited in early June. We got lucky and pulled up on this beautiful site and took it immediately. If possible, I would recommend booking a reservation beforehand to gurantee a spot at this busy campground.  


Oliver Ambros