Alberta

OH MAN

OH MAN OH MAN

Alberta easily made my top 5 list of favorite places in the world. Whats the other 4 you ask? BACK OFF MAN MAYBE ILL WRITE ABOUT IT.

Anywho, Alberta was awesome. To show you that, this is literally what a pee break looks like in Alberta

 LITERALLY JUST A RANDOM PULL OFF THAT HAD A BATHROOM

LITERALLY JUST A RANDOM PULL OFF THAT HAD A BATHROOM

I should also explain however. Alberta is home to the voted, number one most scenic highway in the world, the Icefields Parkway. Its covered in national parks in the Canadian Rockies so its just eye candy as far as the eye can see.

The kickoff to Alberta was special. We had the privilege of visiting and walking on top of the Athabasca Glacier. It was my first experience with anything like it and I was blown away.

 All of us about to go HAM on a glacier and by HAM I mean walk with care and caution as tought by our guide here

All of us about to go HAM on a glacier and by HAM I mean walk with care and caution as tought by our guide here

This was the peak of summer so we were walking on a melting glacier which, when you hear that, seems sketchy. Then your guide tells you about Moulins and Crevasses and how they're death traps, so you get a kick of adrenaline from your brain saying "PAY ATTENTION RIGHT NOW IDIOT"

 But this you see our other tour guide and you feel a bit better

But this you see our other tour guide and you feel a bit better

But the nice thing about melting glaciers is that youll get some of the best drinking water EVER

 Bottled AT THE SOURCE

Bottled AT THE SOURCE

 Group Pic

Group Pic

After our glacier trek, it was time for a two amazing rest stops followed by my favorite stop on this trip: Banff National Park

 JUST ANOTHER PULL OFF ITS DUMB

JUST ANOTHER PULL OFF ITS DUMB

 Just another dumb looking lake, totally stupid (p.s. can you spot the animal shape)

Just another dumb looking lake, totally stupid (p.s. can you spot the animal shape)

And on to the town of Banff. Banff is a stereotypical Canadian town where strangers smile and say hey to you and its creepy or nice I haven't decided yet.

 Downtown Banff, home to a Billabong store, a zoo, and a pissed off laundromat lady who really needs to calm down it was just one bag of clothes.

Downtown Banff, home to a Billabong store, a zoo, and a pissed off laundromat lady who really needs to calm down it was just one bag of clothes.

Banff is simply amazing. The weather, people, and places are all just pleasant. What else made Banff amazing, is that it was also home to my favorite place on my favorite trip, Lake Moraine.

 

Why Moraine Lake Robin? Why not Lake Louise? Don't you know Lake Louise is the most photographed lake in the world?

Lake Louise is trash. It looks like someone poured milk into what was once a pretty lake and was full of selfie stick toting tourists.

 I SATURATED THE CRAP OUT OF THIS AND ITS STILL TRASH

I SATURATED THE CRAP OUT OF THIS AND ITS STILL TRASH

Please compare the top picture of a garbage bin to the amazing, jaw dropping picture below of Moraine Lake.

 I MEAN WHAT

I MEAN WHAT

 A MAZE ZA ZING

A MAZE ZA ZING

After I had my mind blown in Banff, it was off to Calgary for the Calgary Stampede. Imagine if a fair had a baby with a rodeo, and thats the Calgary Stampede. I had lots of unhealthy food and finally SOME POUTINE.

Poutine, for those of you who might not know, is a Canadian standard that sounds terrible on paper. Its comprised of french fries, gravy, bacon, and cheese curds. Disgusting right? WRONG. Its amazing. I imagine its the Carne Asada Fries of Canada.

After the stampede, we exited Banff National Park, and entered Yoho, home to our last scenic stop at our last glacial lake.

 A quick picture of hands down the tastiest cookie I've ever had.

A quick picture of hands down the tastiest cookie I've ever had.

 THE SCENIC PLACES JUST DONT STOP

THE SCENIC PLACES JUST DONT STOP

Emerald Lake (above) was just as scenic and way less crowded so I'm just assuming this is all of Canada.

 

After Emerald Lake, the gang did get to go white water rafting but I don't have any pictures of that, so just know that it was wet, wild, and COLD like having sex in the snow with a bear (I imagine).

That basically concluded my trip in Canada. Again, I don't know how I got lucky enough to visit there as a job. I remember having a thought about a year ago thinking how awesome it would be to be to visit Canada. At the time of writing this, I've already been there again and know I'll find myself there again soon. 

This trip has opened my eyes to how addicting traveling can be, and how if any time, now is the time to do it. When else are you going to be able to truly travel then in your early twenties? in a few years your going to find yourself trapped by your career or by family. I strongly feel that if you have the means but are either just nervous or cautious, be like Nike and just do it. The memories made will 100% be worth an extra year behind a desk.

 

 

Also, Im still strongly considering buying a bus and living in it down by the river.

British Columbia

"Work" Trip numero dos

After my stint in SF, I arrive in Vancouver, BC excited to have a few days to myself before my second trip officially starts. I made plans to shoot and enjoy the much more temperate weather but LOW AND BEHOLD MY BODY BETRAYS ME. 

I got sick and the most annoying type of sick. Not the "oh man, I might need to go to the hospital" sick, but the "Well I feel good enough to eat this soup from subway, but not good enough to do anything else" kind. Luckily of my three days in Vancouver, it only took up two, so I was able to shoot with the ever awesome Bella Bucchiotti.

IMG_6268.jpg

Canada in "Summer"

It honestly felt like home (weather wise) except people were nicer. We drove to a spot I cant remember, but it was halfway between Vancouver and Whistler. 

If I remember correctly, it was like warm enought that I didnt need the longsleeve that I was wearing that day,  but cool enough that I wasnt dying. 

IMG_6239.jpg

 

They don't have proper beaches though so SUCK IT CANADA

After a lovely day shooting, I got some much needed shut eye and started trip two.

The folowing morning we gathered round the van that would be home for the next two weeks and did our silly introductions of name, where we're from, and what your superpower would be. Everyone was all "Flying!", "Be Invisible!" but I said to freeze time so I could sleep more BECAUSE I'M NOT AN AMATEUR.

Anywho, we depart from Vancouver and head off to stop one: Whistler.

Whistler, for those who don't know ladies and gents, hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics and is a hub of attractive ass athletic people. Its the Colorado Springs of Canada basically. This trip also had a bit of a different dynamic, where we had another group from the same company join us for basically the entire trip.

 US

US

 THEM

THEM

Night one is also where I found out that APPARENTLY IM A DELICACY TO MOSQUITOES.

But day two was my introduction to Canada. The group gets to do whatever they want in Whistler, which for me meant getting as high as I could (ALTITUDE WISE CHILL)

 pffft whatever its just a mountain

pffft whatever its just a mountain

IMG_6529.jpg

I N U K S H U K

This what greets you on top of Whistler, a statue made for the 2010 olympics crafted after the Inuit made landmarks of the past. Makes for a hell of a photo op as well.

 View going down back to civilization

View going down back to civilization

So Whistler was a great introduction to Canada.

We left whistler after two nights there and went off to our next stop: Wells Gray.

Our first introduction to this park was a blind conga line led by our guide Stacey to our first proper waterfall. 

 Not Pictured: Mosquitoes going to freaking town

Not Pictured: Mosquitoes going to freaking town

 The hype didnt dissapoint

The hype didnt dissapoint

The great thing about visiting during this time of year was that it was during peak snowmelt so every waterfall we came across was PUMPING with a huge amount of water, so that was neat.

We were able to stay in Wells Gray in some nifty cabins and enjoy a proper campfire

 WEENIES

WEENIES

 B R E K K I E

B R E K K I E

It was the first proper time that our groups mingled and it was reminiscent of a high school dance where each group were on opposite sides of the campsite until our guides (chaperones) initiated a mingle sesh around the fire (the alcohol helped).

The next morning was time for hike to another waterfall, but this time we could get a little closer.

 Okay,  PRETTY  close

Okay, PRETTY close

 DA CREW

DA CREW

After the brief stint in Wells Gray, we were off to Jasper National Park for the picture that is now my screen saver.

 This isnt it, this was just a random lake we stopped at for lunch. Yes, we did swim, no I didnt have a towel.

This isnt it, this was just a random lake we stopped at for lunch. Yes, we did swim, no I didnt have a towel.

 THIS is my current desktop background

THIS is my current desktop background

Jasper is also home to where Robin said "Yeah I can ride a mountain bike 13 miles without a problem", HA no I can't. It was up and around a mountain but since I'm an idiot I just took the bike and went. Half the time biking was spent making sure I was on the wrong trail (my phone didn't have service in Canada so I did it old school), while the other half was making as much noise as possible to scare any bears away since we were in BLACK BEAR AND GRIZZLY COUNTRY.

 PROOF (captured from the saftey of inside our van)

PROOF (captured from the saftey of inside our van)

And as we spent our last night in Jasper, the next day we were off to Alberta, and more importantly Banff National Park, where photographers dreams are made (continued in my next post :D)

 

As always, thanks for reading!

 

WEST COAST BEST COAST

This summer I got to do something pretty amazing.

Through word of mouth, I found myself bieng asked to take pictures for a Travel Company called Trek America that would take me all over North America, to places I never thought I'd be visiting, let along getting paid to do it.  

 

So "work" Trip Numero Uno.

Basically the gist of my job on these trips was to tag along with these tour groups and take candid pictures for the company to use on social media and their website.

SO

My summer began in LA, a place I'm very biased against because any place that charges $30 to park for two hours in downtown makes me so irrationally angry that you'd think someone just slapped my dog or something. ANYWHO we start our trip with some introductions to the people you'd be spending the next 7 days with and we jet off to Hollywood Boulevard . Kinda overrated to me, but all of these people were from England and Australia and to them it was one of those iconic places from movies and film that made it a big deal for them which showed it was something I took for granted.

 It was here where I figured out Ryan Renyolds and I have the same shoe size

It was here where I figured out Ryan Renyolds and I have the same shoe size

From there we settle into our Sprinter van and head towards our next stop, the iconic Route 66.

 All these places were basically tourist traps selling trinkets and whatnot. They did all have nice murals and for some reason, free coffee of all things, which I didn't try for what I feel are obvious reasons.

All these places were basically tourist traps selling trinkets and whatnot. They did all have nice murals and for some reason, free coffee of all things, which I didn't try for what I feel are obvious reasons.

This was the first time the group ventured off together to wander. We maybe had an hour to ourselves to take pictures and what not but I was impressed that practically the whole group stayed together.

 First attempt at a group picture

First attempt at a group picture

So heres the thing about traveling to Nevada in July.....it had a high of 122 degrees and a low of 98.....so the company (thankfully) put us up in a hotel in Laughlin right on the Colorado river. Now this was one of the hotels where you kinda check the closets to double check for dead bodies, so it kinda lacked some of the amenities a proper hotel would have, but know what it did have? AIR CONDITIONING BABY WOOOOOOOO. Yeah, you bet I cranked that sucker as low as it'd go.

The next night was another day spent in the van traveling (with well planned pee stops) to a place I haven't been since I was 6, the Grand Canyon. The first time I went when I was but a wee lad, I didn't remember much from it. I only remember a general image of the canyon and just thinking it was cool. What I was super excited for this go round was being able to appreciate it more, and I was not mistaken.

 This was the first time where I understood the word  breathtaking

This was the first time where I understood the word breathtaking

At our campsite, we were immediately greeted by some pretty ballsy elk (they would just walk wherever and however close they wanted it was wild) and what I have to only imagine are crows on steroids due to them being as big as german shepherds. 

After we set up camp, we split off so that those who wanted to do the helicopter tour of the canyon could, and others could do a hike and so that we could regroup for a surprise dinner.

 Our tour guide, Charlie, telling us how not to die

Our tour guide, Charlie, telling us how not to die

What followed was one of the best dinners I've had in by far the best you could probably have dinner

 What more could you want really

What more could you want really

 HAVE MERCY

HAVE MERCY

 Some nogoodnicks breaking the rules (but it looks worth it)

Some nogoodnicks breaking the rules (but it looks worth it)

The next morning was one of the very rare times I was glad I was up before the sun was. Emphasis on VERY. 

 This is Doug after he basically sprinted down an extra two miles BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS A COMPETITION WITH HIM

This is Doug after he basically sprinted down an extra two miles BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS A COMPETITION WITH HIM

 This is perhaps the most photogenic squirrel ever

This is perhaps the most photogenic squirrel ever

 Group picture of the morning hike crew ft our squirrel friend

Group picture of the morning hike crew ft our squirrel friend

 Aptly named point

Aptly named point

After settling in for the hottest night of camping I ever had, it was (thankfully) off to Las Vegas (WOOOOOO) 

We go to stay in the surprisingly awesome Golden Nugget where I somehow through a little research and a few emails, found myself on their roof overlooking the strip. Fun Fact: People think your important if you have a camera and you can use this to your advantage. 

 Off in the distance an Elvis impersanator is officiating a soon to be divorce

Off in the distance an Elvis impersanator is officiating a soon to be divorce

After two days of enjoying Vegas and one day of recovering from the past two days, we found ourselves ready to go to our next stop: Y O S E M I T E

I thought the Grand Canyon was breathtaking, then Yosemite came around going "lol hold my beer"

 They call this cup half full dome

They call this cup half full dome

I mean we've all seen pictures and postcards of Yosemite but they just don't do it justice. At all. It was a second home to one of my favorite photographers Ansel Adams and it was just surreal. I caught myself either looking up sheer granite faces or down spectacular valleys in wonder on several occasions.

 I've always wanted to take this picture. Im going to go back soon and do it better.

I've always wanted to take this picture. Im going to go back soon and do it better.

 In the Valley Below

In the Valley Below

 Two Aussies and a waterfall

Two Aussies and a waterfall

Yosemite was truly just an amazing place. Its easy to see how artists gravitated towards it and conservationists fought to protect it. Wildlife roams carefree and if you venture out passed the overridden tourist spots, its still an untouched world. 

 U N T O U C H E D

U N T O U C H E D

 Cup half full dome in la noche

Cup half full dome in la noche

It was just a great place where I wish I had more time to enjoy it, but alas the gang was off to our final stop, San Francisco.

Our last day was spent going to one stop and then dropping everyone off at their respective hotels. That one stop however was pretty iconic.

 Some bridge or something idk man

Some bridge or something idk man

So that was basically the first leg of my summer work trip. I got to stay a few days on my own which was super nice. Got to meet some new peeps, took some pictures (pictured below), caught a Giants game, and before I knew it, it was time to set off for trip number 2!

 This is the back of Mackenzie. She's a doll of a human and was kind enough to drive me around SF in her Prius and take pictures of her. She also has a killer blog by clicking on this here picture!

This is the back of Mackenzie. She's a doll of a human and was kind enough to drive me around SF in her Prius and take pictures of her. She also has a killer blog by clicking on this here picture!

 

Canada is next! (If I ever get around to writing it)

Also if you made it to the end of this long ass post, I O U a high five.

Joshua Tree

I went to Joshua Tree. It was nice.

Oh, did I say nice? I meant FREAKING WINDY. But more on that later.

It was mostly nice. Mi amigo Alex was kind enough to invite me on a trip he already had planned with some of his friends to go camping and climbing to which I replied "will there be smores?" He replied with an obvious "Duh". 

So I was in.

On this trip I had the pleasure of meeting and making some new friends (pictured below).

This is Kasey

 She goes to UC Davis and insists that its not boring (so she's a pathological liar)

She goes to UC Davis and insists that its not boring (so she's a pathological liar)

This is Bridget

 Bridget is a dedicated vegitarian as she can be seen here eating a bean hot dog (I know, freaked me out too)

Bridget is a dedicated vegitarian as she can be seen here eating a bean hot dog (I know, freaked me out too)

This is Jared

 Jared is a culinary wizard. I highly suggest his smore soufflé.

Jared is a culinary wizard. I highly suggest his smore soufflé.

This is Kenric

 Kenric is a freaking spider monkey.

Kenric is a freaking spider monkey.

Aaaaaaannnddd this is Alex.

 Alex is sometimes confused by camera straps.

Alex is sometimes confused by camera straps.

Our first day was simply getting the camp set up so we would have some shade and see if we could fit a climb in before bed, AND THAT WE DID

Now, for the views

The Campsite:

 Are.......are those ants?

Are.......are those ants?

The View from my perch towards the rest of Indian Cove:

 ARE THOSE MORE ANTS

ARE THOSE MORE ANTS

The View from Below

 Rocks are larger than they appear in photo

Rocks are larger than they appear in photo

We enjoyed an awesome sunset the first night 

 SEE?? SEEEEEEEEE?? PROOF.

SEE?? SEEEEEEEEE?? PROOF.

THE WIND THOUGH

HOLY HELL

We didn't anticipate just how windy it was. We had the dumb mindset of "ah everything will be fine overnight" which it was not.

 The Aftermath. The Carnage. Quesy stomachs look away. THE HORROR.

The Aftermath. The Carnage. Quesy stomachs look away. THE HORROR.

WRONG.

Just kidding. It wasn't terrible. But it was pretty windy. Needless to say we learned not to not leave the pop up open overnight. 

Day 2 the gang split up. Jared, Bridget, Kasey, and Kenric decided to go hiking while Alex and I were off to climb. Many pictures of butts followed.

 Alex's Butt 1

Alex's Butt 1

 Alex's Butt 2

Alex's Butt 2

 Alex's Butt 3

Alex's Butt 3

It was awesome until around 10 am when the sun did that thing where it gets super hot and ruins your day. So we decided to find some shade and nap it out. The wind carried over into the day and was actually getting worse which meant the pop up was a a no go AND I HAD TO SLEEP UNDER A BUSH. A VERY PRICKLY BUSH. It wasnt comfortable but it was shady so.

Once the sun was on our side again, we got the gang all together and had one of the most scariest moments in mine and Alex's life.

We found a route earlier that would be perfect for the group since we had some first time climbers with us and hustled back over since we had about two hours left of daylight.

 To get up to where we can set the rope of for climbing, we had to climb up the back of this tower of rock. And in our minds were just like "oh the back way is always super easy it'll be fine". nooooooooooope. Alex and I get up about three quarters of the way up the rock and realize we've past a point of no return, for the way back down was just as scary as trying to repel ourselves over the rock the way where we were going to set the rope.

LUCKILY there was a nice gentleman nearby who helped us not die by wearing one of the harnesses we had and repelled us down which in itself was scary. Like, we knew the equipment would hold fine but the whole "launch your body over the side of a three story drop straight to your possible death" still kinda frightened us. But you know, hey we're alive so no big deal I don't still have nightmares or anything. 

I will say that once we we were back on land (insert scene from The Pacifier) it was very pleasant for pictures

 Big ass rock were were temporarily stuck up on. Jared's butt for scale.

Big ass rock were were temporarily stuck up on. Jared's butt for scale.

GOLDEN HOUR

IMG_3057.jpg

 

After a dinner of chili and a delightful smore sufleé, we tucked in for another night of wind and woke up to a collapsed tent trying to suffocate us.  We did end up having a pleasant morning and was able to fit in another climb before ending our journey.

 What happens when you bring a barista camping...

What happens when you bring a barista camping...

All in all, a solid trip that I had a great time on, Joshua Tree always seems to be a nice escape from life where you can climb to the top of a rock and be surrounded by only the howl of the wind and the warmth of the sun. 

 

Sometimes Road Trips Aren't Fun

I mean sometimes they are.

Okay, so MOST of the time they are. All I'm saying is even if you plan, and think about it, you're still at the mercy of mother nature and human error. 

This past winter break I did what I do every winter break: load my car full of objects that I might need "just in case", noisy young adults that I call friends, surfboards, smelly wetsuits, and the most unhealthiest of snacks.

This trip always consists of us surfing up the coast to Santa Cruz, arguing where we should surf and sleep, and seeing our friend and crashing on his couch in UC Davis and drinking far too much alcohol.

This year we called an audible.

I was joined by friend Tanner and we decided that instead of surfing up the coast, we would instead drive straight to Davis and surf the way back in hopes of they're actually being waves. We left at four am in hopes of beating LA traffic and making a pit stop in Santa Monica a quick photo opportunity by the pier. 

 Why wear one hat when you can wear two?

Why wear one hat when you can wear two?

We groggily made it.

After a much needed caffeine boost from Starbucks, we tackled the worst leg of our trip, the 7 hour journey from LA to Davis. If you like flat farmland as far as the eye can see BOY IS THIS THE DRIVE FOR YOU. This part of the drive was mainly spent keeping a lookout for cops and counting how many billboards for Anderson's Pea Soup we could spot. The answer was too many (Seriously, like a ridiculous amount for PEA SOUP of all things).

Its time. After purchasing a sleeping bag, because its one of many things I didn't pack for this trip, we set foot in downtown Davis. Its about 30 degrees cooler than I'm used to and according to our friends who live there, the solution to get warm is to "ingest copious amounts of alcohol".

So that's exactly what we did.

 SNAPPA  Not Pictured: our livers crying

SNAPPA

Not Pictured: our livers crying

After we recovered enough from our hangovers to function like proper human beings, we already found ourselves having to start our next leg of our journey: The Adventure.

We start by going from Davis to San Fran or "San Francisco" as the locals call it. We did our best tourist impressions, camera and all.

 This is a picture of Tanner ruining a perfectly good picture of Downtown SF

This is a picture of Tanner ruining a perfectly good picture of Downtown SF

And after about 20 minutes of being a tourist, we realized how hungry we were and left SF to find surf and food. What better place to find waves than Santa Cruz, right??

Wrong.

We PLANNED on surfing Santa Cruz the afternoon we arrived and the morning before we departed. Neither of those happened to lack of waves and motivation to float in freezing shark territory, basically saying EAT ME. 

Then the icing on the cake. This is the part of the journey where my body decided "Hey know what would make this trip great? If your got niiiiiiiiice and sick" so that was pretty neat.  This lead to a not so pleasant trip down the 1 through Big Sur.

 Typical Bixby Bridge picture

Typical Bixby Bridge picture

After finding the 1 closed about 30 minutes north of where we planned on staying in Morro Bay, we rolled our eyes, drank some redbull, and doubled back and around Big Sur until we arrived at Pismo Beach exhausted. 

Our dreams turned into nightmares as when we woke the next morning to again, find a severe lack of waves. We did, however have a splendid continental breakfast (THEY HAD WAFFLES YUS) and found ourselves back amongst an ever flowing river of cars.

 Pismo Lake, Sunset

Pismo Lake, Sunset

After staring at Surfline on my phone for a good 30 minutes, my eyes glanced across one of the only fun looking surf spots to surf; C Street, Ventura. It was 9-11ft+ fair, which, for Tanner and myself, was right on the cusp for us going "ehhhh maybe not". However, we talked and decided that we would rather risk death than go home with our tail between our legs from our "Surf Trip" not haved surfed. 

 Don't let the picture deceive you, the waves were biiiiiig 

Don't let the picture deceive you, the waves were biiiiiig 

After a solid session and finally giving our surfboards some much needed water time, we ventured further south in hopes of missing any dreaded LA traffic. We might have driven on the reckless side of the speed limit but hey, we're alive so its totally fine. 

We arrived at the southern part of LA in our last stop of our trip, good ol' Huntington Beach, Surf City USA. Oooohhhhhhhhh how ironic that name was. 

I hands down one had of my worst surf sessions ever. There was a terrible rip current that kept going "hey bud you should crash into the pier, its super awesome to get your feet cut on barnacles". It was choppy as hell and I had to paddle in and walk about 150 yards north, only to be taken riiiiiiiiight back to the pier. 

 My hell

My hell

I know what your thinking. "Robin, if it was that bad, why did you bother even paddling out at Huntington then? Robin, why would be planning another road trip if you had such a bad experience this time? Robin, how are you still single with those dashing looks and boyish charm?"

WELL

I paddled out because even if its terrible conditions, surfing to me is 9/10 times better than any alternative.

I do these trips simply because I believe any experience is an experience worth having, good or bad. Its a memory to be shared or kept, or a lesson to be learned from. Either way, if you can do something like this, regardless, you should.

And I'm single simply because I can't pick one out of the endless suitors wishing for a slice of the Robin Pie.

 

(Just kidding, I'm very lonely, please help)