Utah Backcountry Adventure2019-06-20T13:28:04-04:00

Utah Backcountry Adventure

April 2020

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Welcome to the Utah Most People Never See!

Utah is famous for its incredible and surreal landscapes, but there is a whole side to this wild land that fewer than 1% of visitors will ever see!  The only way to truly get the full Utah experience is to leave the pavement and travel deep into remote areas that you won’t believe are actually real!  This workshop will take you on an epic 4×4 adventure on two of the most iconic off-road trails in the American Southwest:  The White Rim Trail and The Cathedral Valley Trail.

These are my two favorite experiences in the American Southwest because they take you so far from the beaten path to a world most people will never see.  The journey truly captures the essence of the Southwest in all of its gritty detail.  This is an off-roading and camping adventure experience.  We will be sleeping in tents and cooking our own food for four consecutive nights, so be prepared to exchange the comforts of a hotel for the authentic experience of a lifetime.  For more details on the camping, please see the information towards the bottom of this page.  We will be traveling in 4-door lifted jeeps in small groups so everyone has a window seat and plenty of room! There will be multiple short hiking opportunities to some of the most epic panoramic viewpoints you have ever seen.

My personal focus has always been on making travel affordable and attainable for others and this adventure is no different.  I pledge full transparency regarding the cost; however, there simply are no other competitors that I can compare this adventure to.  Simply put, no one else is offering anything remotely like this!  With that being said, I have worked extremely hard to get great rates on our vehicles and keep this as affordable as possible.

Key Details

Dates:  April 15 – 21, 2020

Price:  $1050 (Only 6 Spaces Available!!!)

Why You Should Reserve Your Spot Now:

  Very small group       Once in a lifetime      ✓  Cheaper than going alone        Expert guide

  Because sometimes in life, you should just say yes!

Reserve Now!

Day 1 – April 15


We will meet at the Arrivals gate at the Salt Lake City airport no later than 11am.  After a quick stop at a grocery store to gather supplies, we will drive to the outskirts of Capitol Reef National Park where we will be sleeping in our own private ranch house.  This will give us a chance to prepare our gear for the following days, set expectations and safety guidelines, and get to know eachother over a hot meal.  We should even have time for a sunset shoot overlooking the incredible red cliffs which the area is famous for.

Day 2 – April 16


We will rise very early and catch sunrise at Panorama Point before leaving the pavement and fording our first river.  The rush of hitting the water and traveling into the unknown is certain to get your blood pumping for the adventure that lays ahead!  One of the first major stops are the Bentonite Hills.  This place is an absolute moonscape that seems completely unfathomable to exist here on Earth!  I don’t want to ruin the surprise (many of these places are secret and I want to protect that), but let’s just say the next three overlooks have genuinely moved me to tears.  Once we establish our campsite, we will experience sunset overlooking the epic Cathedral Valley and then share a hot meal together to talk about what we just experienced.  At the end of our first backcountry day, I guarantee you will wonder if it could possibly get any better than this!

Day 3 – April 17


Those of us who are early risers will enjoy sunrise from a nearby scenic overlook before packing up camp and continuing onward.  We start the day by descending through steep switchbacks into Cathedral Valley where we will take time for some hiking.  All days will have ample time for getting out of the jeeps and exploring the views.  Take the time to break out your camera and get creative with the mind-bending formations before you.  We will quickly visit the Temples of the Sun and Moon which stand strikingly tall upon the valley floor before traversing the Caineville Wash which is famous for its wild colors.

We will briefly hit the pavement again to reach our camping destination for the night at the impressive Factory Butte.  The blueish colors of the hillsides here are so striking in the afternoon light and the weathering of the mesas is truly a geological form of art.

Day 4 & 5 – April 18-19


After a stunning sunrise among the mesas and buttes, we will pack up camp and enjoy the scenic drive to Canyonlands National Park.  We will pause for a moment to stand in awe at the rim to contemplate the journey ahead before taking the plunge and beginning our descent to the White Rime Trail.  We will spend the next two days weaving our way along the rim of this epic canyon and soaking up views of the Colorado River.  These sections include challenging rock crawling and bring the true meaning of an off-road experience to life!  All along the way you will have panoramic views, short hiking opportunities and plenty of chances to snap pictures that almost certainly will never be able to capture what your eyes are actually seeing.  This is the Utah that 99.9% of visitors to Canyonlands never actually experience and once you see it for yourself you will truly understand how special it is.  Personally, every day on this trail I feel transported back into time with the knowledge that we are following the paths of old western cowboys and sleeping among the campsites of bandits.  This is the Southwest raw and unfiltered – the way it was meant to be experienced!

Day 6 – April 20


In the afternoon we will complete the White Rim Trail with an epic and hair-raising ascent of the Schafer Trail.  Although the trail is perfectly safe, I can assure you it will feel like a nail-biter and your heart will be racing as we reach the top.  Once safe and sound back on the rim, we will pause to reflect on the insane journey we just completed waaaaaay down in the canyon below us.  I promise you will have a much greater appreciation for everything Utah has to offer and we will have shared an experience that few others have had the chance to.  Rather than camp, we will end our adventure with a comfortable stay in the amazing city of Moab complete with warm showers and soft beds!

For those with energy left to burn, if the night sky is clear we may take a quick trip into nearby Arches National Park to capture some epic shots of the Milky Way above the amazing rock formations.

Day 7 – April 21


For those who hate sleep and love adventure, if the weather is promising I am willing to drive you to watch our last sunrise over the canyons.  Following a pleasant breakfast, we will begin our drive back to the Salt Lake City airport and should arrive there no later than 4pm.

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Price and Dates


Dates:  April 15 – 21, 2020

Price:  $1050 (Only 6 Spaces Available!!!)

Payment and Cancellation Policy:

Because my goal is to make travel accessible and affordable to ALL adventurers, I am offering two options for flexible payment.

Option 1:  Pay a 50% deposit at the time of booking.  The remaining balance is due 90 days before the start of the workshop.  After this date the deposit becomes nonrefundable in the event of a cancellation.

Option 2:  Design a payment plan.  Pay a deposit in an amount you choose no less than 10% of the full price at the time of booking.  The remaining balance can be paid in equal monthly installments that finish 30 days prior to travel.  If you choose this flexible option, the deposit and payments are nonrefundable.

Reserve Now!

What is Included:

  • Transportation in a lifted 4×4 4-door jeep with both AC and heat.
  • An experienced driver for traversing difficult off-road terrain.
  • Guaranteed window seat in the vehicle with plenty of space.
  • Accommodation for the duration of the workshop.  Night 1 will be a private ranch house with shared rooms.  Nights 2-5 will be camping.  Night 6 will be in a hotel or private ranch house.
  • Some meals will be provided while camping.
  • Field guidance and instruction for finding good composition and foregrounds as well as managing your camera settings.

What is Not Included:

  • Airfare to and from the Salt Lake City airport.
  • Camping equipment.  You must provide your own.  Please see the “What to Bring” section below for more information.
  • Several meals (details to be determined later).
  • Snacks are very important for maintaining your energy throughout the day (before departing Salt Lake City we will stop at a grocery store so you may purchase snacks for the trip).
  • Alcoholic beverages.

My Transparency Pledge

There are simply no other backcountry adventures like this one which makes it hard for me to compare it to competitors.  If you would like more information about how the cost breaks down, please just ask!  My goal is to make travel accessible for everyone!  This means I am experience-driven rather than profit-driven.

Special Notes


Flights

Please plan your flights carefully!  You may need to fly into Salt Lake City the day before the workshop begins so you can rest and not risk missing our departure time.  If you choose to do so, I am happy to suggest a number of hotels but this accommodation will not be included in the workshop price.  The same applies for your return home.  Please schedule it accordingly and communicate with me so I can ensure you make your flight.

Disclaimer and Weather

My goal is for you to return home with amazing experiences and images.  However, I cannot control the weather.  Although rain is very rare and the skies are typically clear during this time of year, I cannot guarantee perfect weather for the duration of the workshop.  Though inclement weather may present a challenge, it may also present great opportunities to capture interesting light and weather events and to think creatively.  Your safety is my top priority so if conditions are too dangerous to off-road I have contingency plans in place to adapt the adventure and still see incredible Utah.  Fear not…you won’t miss out!

The climate is generally comfortable in southern Utah during April with a daytime high around 65°F and a nighttime low around 40°F.  Please ensure you pack accordingly especially for camping.  Check the “What to Bring” section for more helpful tips.

The schedule above is only tentative and may change and adapt to accommodate the weather and pursue ideal lighting conditions.  If conditions are unsuitable for exploring or shooting, we will use that time constructively to work on editing and feedback together.  No time will go to waste and, although I cannot be responsible for the weather during this workshop, I will make every effort to ensure you capture some incredible images and leave with fond memories.

Because we are off-roading, there always exists a risk that something could go wrong.  We will make every effort to plan ahead, but in the event of a flat tire or a stuck vehicle everyone may have to pitch in in order to keep the group moving forward.  The unexpected should always be expected and this is why we have extra time built into the end of the adventure in case of emergencies.  The best mindset is to keep calm and problem solve.  I have gotten flat tires out here before, but it’s nothing a little teamwork can’t solve!  After all…adventure is rarely comfortable and getting off the beaten path means accepting new risks.

Fitness and Health

Although most of the experience can be seen in short walking distance from the jeeps, some moderate hiking will be required to take full advantage of the landscape and viewpoints.  Some of these overlooks are inherently dangerous with massive drop-offs and no safety features.  It is paramount you always proceed with caution and listen to the guides.  Never wander off alone and take caution for dangerous wildlife where you tread.

Being off the beaten path means that there are no available restaurants.  It is important that you have snacks prepared and I will do my best to have sandwiches available, but ultimately you are responsible for ensuring you have food.

Road and Communication Conditions

This workshop features multiple stretches of unpaved and rugged roads.  While some sections of these roads are generally well maintained, most are not and some serious jostling should be expected.  Please bear this in mind and ask me for more information if you are concerned the off-roading may be challenging for you.

The areas we are traversing have almost no cell signal and the Wi-Fi in town is often highly unreliable.  This escape from the world is welcoming, but can be challenging at times.  Please temper your expectations regarding communication and ensure your family and friends are aware you may be out of touch for a few days.  Then, kick back and relax without the pressures of the world, the constant emails, and the looming presence of social media and take this opportunity to truly live in the present!

What to Bring


Clothing:

  • Comfortable layers both top and bottom that can be added or removed as needed (there is a wide swing in temperature between night and day, so be prepared for both environments).
  • A wind-breaking outer layer (top and bottom) for the cold nights.
  • A warm jacket, hat and gloves for at night.
  • A warm outer layer of pants for night time shooting.
  • Sturdy hiking boots with spare socks.
  • Casual clothing for while in Moab.
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses.

Photography Gear:

  • A DSLR or Mirrorless camera you know how to operate manually
  • A polarizer.
  • A sturdy tripod.
  • Spare batteries and memory cards.
  • Necessary cord for recharging.
  • Battery bank for recharging in the field.

Required Camping Gear:

Suggested Camping Gear:

  • A sleeping bag liner (it makes a huge difference and you would rather be too warm than too cold).
  • A small camping stove for heating water (I will have some but it can take a long time to boil enough water for a large group).
  • Your own camping food if you’re a picky eater.
  • ***For any gear questions please contact me and I will be happy to recommend some to you.
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