Spent a good part of last weekend running a canyon through Zion National Park. If you've never been, it should make the bucket list!

Nate, the leader of the pack.

We made it a quick trip, down and back in 24 hours, but there was no shortage of fun. The hike in to the Left Fork of North Creek (Das Boot) is pretty easy and unbelievably beautiful. We caught the scenic portion of the trail right as the sun was cresting over the hill. First light was perfect, but unfortunately I don't have any images from that portion of the trip (more on that later).

Heidi and Blake taking the icy plunge.

Scott on rappel.

When we arrived at the first rappel, we quickly changed into wetsuits and harnesses to better manage the cold canyon. After the icy baptism, we spent the better part of the day navigating down climbs, cliff jumping, and rappelling through scenery from another world. It's hard to describe these places and experiences, and crazier to think that less than 1% of Utah's population will get a chance to do what we did over the weekend.

The whole group in Das Boot. Front to Back: Heidi, Scott, Blake, Rich and Nate.

Moving on. Every bit of sunshine was heartily welcomed as our feet were frozen stumps lacking any and all dexterity. When swimming, it was hard to put your hands in the water because of the low temperatures. I was recently in San Diego and swam off the beach nearly every day without a wetsuit and that was cold, but this was freezing!

Rich, Scott and Blake above the Subway.

Now for the bad news. I had a dry bag fail on me and my camera and lens took a bath. Luckily, I had my point-and-shoot with me in a waterproof housing so I still salvaged some images from the trip. Insurance will take care of the rest.

Heidi, Scott, Blake and Rich in the Subway.

The whole trip was incredible with great people! I think I'll be doing this whole trip again in the not too distant future.

The whole gang! Left to Right: Nate, Rich (front), Blake, Scott and Heidi.


Adventure? Blisters, thirst, heat, cold, and a 180-foot high waterfall. That pretty much sums up Deer Creek Canyon. And no adventure would be complete without some pain and discomfort and I got my fill on this trip. 

Trail to Deer Creek


Deer Creek Canyon sits at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and dumps water over a giant waterfall into the Colorado River. It’s truly a majestic site and a long hike in and out with limited water. We left a gallon of water near the Bill Hall sign on the valley floor and then headed off down the canyon with heavy packs in tow. We camped at Surprise Valley where the running joke was “Surprise, there’s nothing here!” The valley is barren with no water source, one tree, and blazing heat (my Camelback tube melted closed). From there, it was a long and heavy hike to and from the Deer Creek Canyon trailhead, but the fun was worth the hike. 


Surprise Valley


Considered sacred to Native Americans in the area, the canyon is now closed to canyoneers. Upon hearing this news, I felt fortunate to have been able to experience the thrill of the final rappel before it was listed off limits. The canyon is wet and cold (wetsuit required) and ends with a 180-foot rappel over a waterfall into a small pool that rests at the edge of the Colorado River. 

View from the canyon.

The 180' rappel.


We left for our car and the North Rim early in the morning to try and beat the heat. When you include the weight of wet ropes and wetsuits along with a camera and 1,400 additional feet of canyon wall any “adventure” quickly becomes a rugged test of endurance. In the end, the images made were worth the 16 blisters incurred.

View back up the Colorado River.

My entire group of images from this trip can be seen here