Our latest Mizu Mission takes us to the valleys and peaks of Yosemite and we've teamed up with our good friend, adventurer and nature photographer, Tiffany Nguyen for the ride! Check out the full story below to get her top picks for the best spots in Yosemite and find out how she chooses reusable over single-use while on the road.
Photos: Jussi Oksanen
What was special about this trip?
This was my first adventure with Mizu founder, Jussi Oksanen, who had been a big inspiration of mine not only in the snowboarding community but also in the outdoor community. It was awesome to finally meet the man behind Mizu and adventure with like minded friends who were on a mission to experience the best spots in Yosemite.
What are your favorite places in Yosemite? Glacier Point is always a must visit for me. I love the epic views of the whole valley floor that it has to offer. Valley View is another go to spot for photography. Photographing the backdrop of El Capitan and the three brothers with the Merced River running through the foreground never gets old.
What tips do you have to reuse your Mizu and choose reusable over single-use when you are on the road? I always bring my Mizu bottles with me on every trip, whether I'm hiking to a waterfall or exploring a city. There are so many places with water fill up stations now so the least we can all do is minimize our impact and help preserve this environment we live in. What's great about Mizu products is that there are bottles for almost every type of beverage you can imagine.
How is a dentist able to travel so much? I graduated from USC dental school 2 years ago and have been working with my dad at our family practice in Southern California. It's a unique situation that definitely allows me to have flexibility when I want to travel. I work 5 days a week including Saturdays usually, but I plan my trips in advance and take off a week or so every month to pursue photography.
Do you see lot of plastic trash on your travels? It depends where I am. In our National Parks, there's rarely any trash which is always great to see. However, in some third world countries I've visited, I've seen mass amounts of plastic trash just piled up along the roads. It's unfortunate that preserving our environment isn't as big of a priority everywhere around the world but I'm certainly hopeful that change is possible and it has to start one person at a time.
What inspired you to live on the road and explore the world? I didn't start adventuring until about 2 years ago. I had spent most of my time in school and didn't grow up doing outdoorsy things with my family. When I joined Instagram for fun 2 years ago, I was so inspired by the photos of other people's adventures that I saw. I told myself I wanted to see these epic places and just get out there to explore this awesome world we live in. There are so many places to see and I just want to take advantage of any free time I have in order to experience it all.
Give us the Tiffany tour of Yosemite for someone who has never been there before? For a first timer in Yosemite, I would recommend seeing sunrise at Glacier Point. There are so many spots to explore at Glacier Point with endless amounts of photography compositions. My favorite hike in the park is probably Upper Yosemite Falls. It's the tallest waterfall in North America with stunning views the entire way up. It's also awesome to see it from below at Lower Yosemite Falls before you hike up. For sunset, I think my favorite place is Taft Point. The light there is incredible and you can get a great perspective on just how vast and grand the valley really is. Other spots that are beautiful to explore are: Vernal and Nevada Falls, Valley View, 4 Mile Trail up to Glacier Point, Tunnel View, and of course climbing Half Dome if you're able to get a permit.
What is the first food you eat after a long adventure / outdoor trip? Without a doubt, ice cream. It's one of my favorite foods and it's a must after a long day of adventuring.
Tell us something scary that happened to you on one of your trips? On one of my first adventures, we were in Kings Canyon National Park and we ran into a bear right on the trail. We were all pretty new to adventuring and didn't have bear spray or much knowledge on what to do when you see a bear. Luckily a random hiker passed by as the bear was walking towards us on the trail and we were able to scare it off together.
What does Enjoy the journey. Leave nothing behind mean to you? We're so lucky to live in a world with so much beauty and it's our responsibility to make sure that beauty is still around for future generations to enjoy. Exploring the outdoors has brought me so much joy and I can't imagine a world where that's not an option. I think it's important for us to play our part during our journey in life and leave the world as we find it so we can help maintain this landscape for generations to come.