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Why I Carried A Drone To Donner’s Highest Peak

In the outdoors, we feel most At Home in the water, on the trail, or journeying to some remote corner of the earth. Something inside of us comes alive because we’re exploring the places we belong. There is no right or wrong way to do the outdoors – it’s only the way that feels right to you. A spontaneous adventure can create some of the most unforgettable moments you ever achieve. Some of the greatest places in the world are right in your backyard but you’ll never know until you take that leap.

As a QALO team member I want to tell you about the best adventure I was fortunate enough to be apart of. Three weeks ago a few of us took a trip to Truckee, CA to host a booth at the Spartan Race World Championships but instead, this led to some of us on a path to an epic adventure. Included was the HYPE Media team (Iain and Leo), Taylor Holiday and 2 wanna-be photographers Cory Hamilton and myself -Reed Naliboff. The goal: go on a crazy journey to a place we’ve never been, film for the upcoming QALO commercial, and see who can get the shot. The shot is something we pride ourselves on as a marketing team, it creates memories and puts natures beauty into still frame for a lifetime.
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5:30am: Wake up call! Taylor, Cory, Iain, Leo, and myself head out on the journey. We’re tired after all that ping pong from the night before (champs writing here!)

5:45am: Find a place called Coffeebar for our daily dose of caffeine, breakfast and meet with Truckee locals Laura and Nick Visconti. (Rad Instagrams). Our team had never been to Truckee before so Nick and Laura were going to be guiding us along the way to a place we’ve never seen before. It was still really dark at this time and we weren’t even close to our hike so we all we could do was imagine and brainstorm for what we could potentially shoot for our commercial.

6:00am: We started the drive to Donner Pass and our eyes suddenly began to become wide open as we passed by a still, fog filled lake that had almost an erie feeling to it. As we passed by the lake we saw the view (below) and this is when I began to think wow, if this is anything close to what were about to see we’re in for something special.


Fog sitting on Donner Lake

6:15am: We parked the car and began our hike. There was tons of equipment to bring including a super heavy drone which Taylor and Cory were thrilled to be carrying. On our way we were surrounded by big boulders and couldn’t see the Donner Lake anymore. So I was a little confused thinking how could we leave that crazy view we had before?! Remember- we have no clue where Nick and Laura are taking us but sometimes getting lost on an adventure is exactly what you need when you’re with good people.


The hike: Taylor and Cory carrying the drone

7:00am: The light was starting to poke through and we passed by a small lake going up the mountain (we were tempted to stay here awhile to shoot some film) .. but Nick and Laura promised where we were headed was going to be way better and they took the lead. A couple of us fell behind with all the equipment to carry but that just made for more fun during the hike. Footing was sketchy and we couldn’t see our team anymore but with Taylor’s expert tracking skills you can see he pointed us in the right direction.


7:15am: We approached our destination and the peak where Nick, Laura and the rest of the team were already setting up camp. I was so anxious and as we climbed to the top we were looking at a view that I couldn’t imagine. This is the feeling of what it was meant to feel At Home Out Here – high above the clouds we were secluded on an incredible mountain top. There were no nerves, there was no stress, there was just us and this moment- where we were able to appreciate life’s greatest adventure. A feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction had surrounded the air and yet we haven’t even completed our goal. But either way, on a personal level, we were accomplished – today, we looked out from the top a mountain and felt the beauty which is the outdoors in its most humble form. Out Here is where we belonged right at this moment.

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Now we challenge you- take a journey with a loved one and enjoy something spectacular to feel the At Home Out Here experience!