Large Format Landscape Photography in Utah: Day 2

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Thanks so much for watching! I am really proud of this series of videos and the images from them. We worked especially hard to to make this happen and show you guys a part of Utah that not many will ever get to see. I would very much appreciate everything you could do as far as sharing, liking, etc!!!

On my second day in Utah, I started a 4 night/5 day backpacking trip in a remote canyon outside of Zion National Park. While there is no practical way to confirm this, I'm fairly certain no one has ever backpacked the canyon with large format gear before. To say it was an intimidating trip would be an understatement. Fellow large format photographer Justin Lowery and I had been planning this trip for almost a year. It had been in the back of my mind for even longer though. Nearly five years ago I first heard about this canyon. For the longest time, it seemed completely impossible. However, it has always been on my mind, and little by little, I began pushing myself further and further over the years. Finally, a year ago, I decided it was time to make this trip a reality. I contacted Justin to see if he was up for it...and well, I guess you can see the answer to that.

The logistics alone were mind boggling. How could we possibly carry enough film? How was I going to video this, while carrying large format gear, while also carrying backpacking gear? How were we going to juggle finding campsites, moving campsites, and finding time to photograph? Gradually we worked these issues out until there were no more discussions about it. It was go time!

The canyon is essentially a through hike with an almost infinite source of side slot canyons to explore. We hired a shuttle service to take us offroad to a dropoff point and then left a pickup car at the exit. By the time we reached the high elevation of the start of our hike, the temps hovered in the mid-30s. That may not sound extremely cold, but I can assure you it's MUCH colder when you have a river crossing in the first 100 yards of the hike!! Watching the car leave was a reality check. No turning back now. The trip had officially started.

Initially the hiking wasn't too bad. The river, even though it had to be crossed MANY times, was shallow and the terrain was gently sloped downhill. As the hike progressed, the river moved more from a valley-type terrain to actual segments of canyon. It was SOOOOO cool to witness the land change right before your eyes. However, this also caused travel to become much more difficult. The river, which was relatively wide and gently flowing in the beginning, now was much more constricted. This meant MUCH faster flows and deeper water; I would not have wanted to attempt hiking against the current. This is also where I met my nemesis of the next 4 days: quicksand. I've spent the last few weeks trying to think of a way to describe it, and here is what I've come up with...it's like walking on jello. It is absolutely miserable. The river way quite silty as well so you can't see what you're stepping in. At one point I stepped in an unseen pothole full of quicksand that went up to my thigh!! I couldn't possible back up, the current was too strong, and moving forward only got deeper. Fortunately I grabbed one of Justin's trekking poles and he pulled me out!!

I was never in danger, but it made ever step I took in the river stressful for the rest of the trip. I was very grateful to be on solid ground again the final day. By around noon, we made it to an ideal camp location. spring water was close by as well as access to a picturesque slot canyon. From here, I'll let the video tell the rest of the story!!

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