Snow camping near Mammoth Mountain in our new Aliner

by Scott


Welcome back! I have been so focused on our growing wedding photography business that I didn’t get out backpacking at all last year, hence no trip reports or much of anything else posted here in over a year. Now that winter is upon us (sort of) I figured I would do this post from the maiden voyage of our new Aliner. That’s right, at age 44, I finally am hanging up the tent for car camping and trading it in for a cute, little trailer that goes anywhere. And boy am I glad it does, because for the first trip, I drove down to Mammoth Mountain for a 5 day series of ski races and figured I could save about $500 on room cost by camping out in the desert. What I didn’t figure on was the foot of snow covering the desert roads in Owen’s Valley. It took chains on the X-Terra to get us into position and to and from the trailer for the first couple of days until it turned warm and melted everything, but the bonus was that for two days, I didn’t see another soul near the hotsprings. Owen’s Valley holds several hotsprings in different states of development. Some of them are right off the road, and most of them are scattered around the outskirts of Little Alkali Lake.

In November we got a new Aliner pop-up trailer to take on our photo journeys. I decided to test it out at my first ski races of the season at Mammoth Mountain. I figured I would camp near the hotsprings out in Owen’s Valley, but I didn’t count on nearly a foot of snow on the desert roads. Fortunately I had chains and had to put them on my 4×4 in order to tow the trailer into position.

waxing skis by trailer at mammoth mountain

Since I was racing, I had to be able to wax my race skis each day. I hard wired an 800 watt inverter to my car battery, and while the car was running it worked like a charm. My waxroom had the best view of anyone!

The snow melted off after several days. This was a sunset over Little Alkali Lake in Owen’s Valley, just below my campsite.

sunrise over aliner in desert

Sunrise over the campsite at the head of Little Alkali Lake in Owen’s Valley near Mammoth Mountain.

One last shot of the Aliner, during a long exposure lit by the moon.

Sunset over the warm waters of Little Alkali Lake

woman in hotspring in desert at sunrise

Monique takes in the sunrise at one of the nearby hotsprings. It was nice to be able to loosen up the bones each morning before ski racing, especially since the temps at night were dropping down to about 10 F.

red desert sunset

I almost missed this set of images since I was so focused on shooting the other way, toward the mountains. Finally I noticed my wife gesticulating frantically in the distance and pulled my face out of my D800 long enough to be hit by this from behind.


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  • JulieOctober 26, 2013 - 9:09 pm

    How are you liking your Aliner thus far? We are considering one- or maybe an Rpod.


  • ssadyOctober 27, 2013 - 6:02 pm

    We love our Aliner so far. Lots of ground clearance and easy to to into places other trailers would never make. Also can do the cooking inside, and don’t have to climb over each other to enter/exit the way you do in some of the Rpod’s we looked at. Empty weight 1400lbs, usually less than 2000lb fully loaded, so pretty easy to tow and maneuver.

  • […] to yourself and it is easy to warm up and get to the hill. As the years passed and I figured out how to stay comfortable during the worst nights and where to find uncrowded hot springs and swimming holes, I have had plenty of opportunities to […]

Fine Art Landscape Photography

Lake Tahoe Landscape Photographer

Scott Sady is a freelance and fine art landscape photographer based in Lake Tahoe and Reno. Scott specializes in Lake Tahoe landscape photography, Sierra landscape photography, Reno and Lake Tahoe stock images and freelance and photojournalism. Scott is available for freelance photography assignments in the Reno and Lake Tahoe area.