The Dawn Trail Makes Good Memories

Off-road adventures are always worth getting up early for.

Sorting through old adventure photos inspires many emotions, the most powerful of which is damn I want to go back. I felt this as I dug through my archive and found a stunning picture of a beautiful eastern Sierra Nevada dawn on the trail back from a camping trip at the foot of some of California’s most stunning mountain ranges. 

  • Cars: 2008 Toyota Tundra, 2008 GMC Sierra 2500HD, 2010 Jeep Wrangler Sahara
  • Location: Bishop, CA
  • Photog: Chris Rosales (IG + Twit @Chrishasacamera)
  • Camera: iPhone 7

This was after a single-day camping trip with my friends as a high school graduation trip. The trail up to our campsite was reasonably difficult for my 2WD Tundra, while the GMC 2500 and the Wrangler in my convoy were 4×4 and didn’t have many troubles. Truthfully, the Tundra had zero business going up there but momentum, a new set of K02 tires, and a youthful lack of mechanical business got it up the mountain. Also, the Tundra had a pseudo-limited slip differential via ABS.

Having my dirt bikes in the bed didn’t help the traction situation much but I sent it just as hard as I could anyway. The Tundra, with its mighty 5.7-liter 3UR-FE V8 was my high school car, and it was a proper hooligan. Many donuts and burnouts were accomplished, on closed courses of course. It also made for an incredible fire road drift truck. Uphill on a proper 4×4 trail? I was surprised it got to camp.

The way down was much nicer. All I had to do was coast it downhill, and I could enjoy my trip much more. This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in my life, and I need to go back. Does someone want to lend me an off-roader?

As big as we could get it:

The Dawn Trail Makes Good Memories

Chris Rosales
Chris Rosales

Chris has owned 12 cars of questionable quality, is an experienced motorsports photographer, and a good all-around wrench. When he isn’t tinkering with his car in his home garage, you can catch Chris in the canyons around SoCal. He also hopelessly hankers for Euros, but he honestly knows he should get something Japanese, eventually. Contact the author here.