Posted by: runuphill | May 11, 2014

South Creek Circumnavigation and Tabernacle Dome


Buzz, Ryan, Jared – Canaan Mountain at sunset.  5/9/2014

“History does repeat itself” explained Buzz, “and it’s not a bad thing!  Take for example organized sports like the NFL, NHL, NCAA, etc. Some people today are fanatical about organized sports and fiercely dedicated to ‘their’ teams.  It’s the ancient tribe mentality on display” declared Buzz, “a pre-programmed DNA trait some people have where they need to belong to something; the need to defend their tribe.  This instinct developed many thousands of years ago, long before our current air-conditioned lifestyles, and manifests itself today in the form of organized sports.  This is history repeating itself.  As for me, I simply don’t have the tribe gene.  I’m genetically different.”

The above is my attempt at capturing a snippet from one of the blurry conversations during the drive home this past Saturday with Ryan and Buzz after another action packed 1.5 day trip to Zion NP.  As Buzz continued with his story about our DNA and historical repetition, the reasons for our many trips to Zion started to gel in my mind.  Why was it that Buzz never flinched at flying to Utah, renting cars, spending hundreds of dollars on gear and logistical details, and cramming as much as possible into weekends only to go home with scratched up legs, blood stained clothes, and holes in nearly every piece of gear?  I estimate he’s done this 3-4 times per year for at least the past 5 years and probably only slightly less frequently for the preceding 35 years.  He is either a tremendously committed friend, possessed, a masochist, or a true lover of the desert.  Could he be all of these things?  Wait, this also sounds like Ryan!

Buzz also explained that we are drawn to people with similar values and motivations…  Apparently it wasn’t just Buzz with this strange genetic condition, Ryan and I had it as well…  Did we all independently have it beforehand or had the mutation worsening after years of adventure?  Why had we all moved things around in our busy lives, yet again, to venture out on another crazy route through the sand, manzanita, cactus, and crumbling sandstone in and around Zion?  Why did the thought of seeing a glowing sunrise on the extreme topology make us all giddy?  Why did hearing an orchestra of singing desert frogs in a hidden pool seem so special?  Why did the hundreds of cuts from prickly desert plants actually make me smile, knowing that I’d feel the trip under the business attire of Monday?  Rather than trying to make sense of it all, I’ll share some photos from the trip and hope that one of my faithful blog readers can help answer these questions.

  • Friday : The South Creek Circumnavigation.  A fantastic route with a bunch of new terrain.  Jenny Ridge, East Fork of the Virgin, Transview Mountain, Second Creek, South Mountain, Squirrel Creek, Water Canyon, Canaan Mountain, Sawmill Springs, Eagle Crags.  21.5 hrs of adventure
  • Saturday : Tabernacle Dome.  Arguably one of the best short scrambles in the Park.


Ryan on Jenny ridge in the glorious morning light

Ryan on Jenny Ridge in the glorious morning light


Ryan with No Mans Peak in the background

Buzz, embracing the moment.

Buzz, embracing the moment with both hands


Descent ridge to Mail Drop Canyon

Descent ridge to Mail Drop Canyon

Ryan takes a dip in a refreshing pool in Second Creek

Ryan takes a dip in a refreshing pool in Second Creek

Magical side canyon

Magical side canyon.  Has any human ever been here before?

Very happy after a swim with the desert frogs

Very happy after a swim with the desert frogs

Sandstone "sidewalks"

Sandstone “sidewalks”

Water Canyon

Water Canyon

Some of the best water in the world, just gushing out the earth.  This is heaven.

Some of the best water in the world, gushing out the earth. This is heaven.

Water Canyon Arch

Water Canyon Arch

Ryan hiking up the Water Canyon trail

Ryan hiking up the Water Canyon trail

Art canvas on Canaan Mountain

Art canvas on Canaan Mountain

Ryan on one of the "white hoodoos" above Water Canyon

Ryan on one of the “white hoodoos” above Water Canyon

Nature's protractor/compass

Nature’s protractor & compass

Me on Tabernacle Dome with S. Guardian Angel in the background

Me on Tabernacle Dome with S. Guardian Angel in the background

Buzz striding it out on Tabernacle

Buzz striding it out on Tabernacle Dome

Ryan jumping the gap!

Ryan jumping the gap!



  1. Right now I’m working on a route in the area, and I’m really curious how you guys linked Jenny Ridge to Transview mountain. How’d you get down to the virgin river, and then up to Transview?

  2. When some one searches for his essential thing, thus he/she desires to be available that in detail, thus
    that thing is maintained over here.

  3. […] Zion with Ryan and Buzz – We pulled off an excellent route in a new (for us) area starting in the park, crossing over the East Fork of the  Virgin, continuing south to Squirrel and Water Canyons (near Colorado City), and then back to Springdale via Transview Mtn and the Eagle Crags.  21.5 hrs of fun.   Ran/climbed/scrambled Tabernacle Dome the following day.  Story/photos […]

  4. Jerad,
    On average how much water do you carry at a time, any idea? Do you normally filter or purify anything on the go?

    I’ve only done one self supported run, which took me 28 hrs. I was carrying 3L plus two 20oz handhelds, and I’m hoping to lighten the load on my next run this fall.


    • Hi Mike,

      It depends on how far it is between water sources, and the sun/temp/humidity. I also tend to get by with less water than most. For my recent route in Zion I never had more than 3 of the UD bottles (~60oz total) and we had a hot mid-day stretch of 8 hrs between water so my 60 oz was pushing it. I also went 10 hrs in the evening on 3 bottles, but it was a nice cool evening and we weren’t moving very fast. Not sure you should take my advice as it really depends on what your body needs.


      On Sat, May 31, 2014 at 7:25 AM, Jared Campbell's Blog wrote:


      • Thanks appreciate your input. Yeah I definitely drink more than that! I may try some iodine or Aqua Mira tabs since there is supposed to be water on the trail (Appalachian Trail).

        Thanks again,

  5. Fun insight to some of your conversations. Nice weekend adventure and pics! The shot of the grass creating the compass is awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Actually it’s in all our DNA, unfortunately it’s been beat down in the majority-hence the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. We all inwardly yearn for these things, these experiences-but fear and ourselves limit us and prevent us from fulfilling these natural yearnings. You guys are not alone.

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