The Freedom of Open Space

// “Out in the open there are no rules”

Open space means freedom to think, a time to step off the treadmill of your day to day, always moving, always doing. For a moment you can turn your back on the small stuff and fill your lungs with air that only the big sky can bring. Out in the open there are no rules, only the sense of insignificance you feel under a limitless sky and the sense of freedom that it brings.

“Out in the open there are no rules”

We wanted to explore this idea and get out to some open space, so we took a trip to LA. Keeping it simple with little more than our bikes, a camera, and some old friends we headed out with some routes thrown around on group texts beforehand our only guide.

First stop El Mirage, good fun, these huge salt flats a few hours outside the city. It’s remote, served by just one gas station with nothing for miles, saves only the odd stray baja buggy it was the perfect place to wind the bikes up, ride flat out and hit it up.

Day two saw us load back up and get on the road again and venture further. We got our heads down for some hard freeway miles on the 395 which saw us wind 200 miles deeper into the CA hills through the desert, head wind battered the bikes and late day after a couple of resupplies we finally rolled into Lone Pine. The plan was simple, get some food, and try and shoot some of the range in the blue light of dusk… sounds easy right?

Lone Pine CA – population 1600

A laid-back town of around 2,000 people in Owens Valley on the foothills of the eastern Sierra Nevada. You’ve probably heard of it because it’s used as a base camp for hiking Mount Whitney, located just 12 miles west. What you might not know is Lone Pine is home to the Alabama Hills, which draws people from around the world for its hiking and biking, but also there isn’t a location that is steeped in quite as much history with the movie industry. Since the 1920’s crews have been coming out to Lone Pine to film their piece of the Wild West and as if cast in our own Classic Western we rolled in hungry, caked in dust and covered in road keeping the legacy alive.

That night we pitched up and sat around reminiscing on our day, stretching out after the long ride. Naturally the beers and laughs were flowing, and as the sun started to set, cliché crickets turned up the volume.

Settling into the BLM of the Alabama Hills, which itself epitomises big country, big space. Each and everywhere you look its wild and uninterrupted views draw you in. It was humbling, and like many other parts of this wonderous world, it gave a sense of perspective difficult often to contextualise, albeit you realise we as humans are small in this big world, yet the fragility of this outdoor space, in all its greatness needs to be protected and preserved for future generations.

“…you realise we as humans are small in this big world, yet the fragility of this outdoor space, in all its greatness needs to be protected and preserved for future generations.”

The next morning, waking up out there, out in the open, this feeling was hanging in the air. It was epic, it was 4:40am – sunrise was at 5, meaning we had 20 minutes to hike across and shoot ‘movie road’ at dawn… We sat roadside as the sun gently rose behind us. We shared this moment with a person sat sketching in silence on a rock nearby and another traveller just there, also with a very specific free ticket to nature’s show… then the sun came up.

As we go into the trip, we knew we were onto something, clear minds come from big space and our human instinct is to live life in the open. The incredible vastness of El Mirage and the vivid landscape of the Alabama Hills played it so well, which ever way you looked we were tiny in this big world, and that’s a freeing thought.

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