While on a summer trip to Copco Lake in 1982, five Santa Barbara High School buddies snapped a random photo that became a lifelong bond.

Sat on the deck railing of a cabin by the lake, John Wardlaw, Mark Rumer, Dallas Burney, John Molony, and John Dickson — all around 19 years old — decided to memorialize a fairly trivial moment in their lives. Little did they know that what seemed like a point of fleeting significance at the time would eventually come to define them.

Five years later Wardlaw suggested they try and recreate the photo, and a tradition was born. They later made a vow to return to that same spot every five years and take the exact same photo — and they haven't broken that promise yet.

Though they've gone their separate ways since — one of the guys lives in Portland; another in New Orleans — they still keep in touch, and, no matter what else they have going on, always make it back to the cabin in time to take the next photo.

"We plan on doing this for the rest of our lives, no matter what," Dickson told CNN. "Up until there's one guy just sitting in the same pose! Even then, maybe someone will take a picture of an empty bench for us."

[photos via Facebook]