Trekking Into the Unknown With Jeff Vallee, Heath Kirchart and Friends
Each year photographer, Jeff Vallee and legendary skateboarder, Heath Kirchart set themselves a challenge: "Find something that we have no business doing and jump in head first." This normally calls for picking a seemingly unattainable adventure typically reserved for professionals within that field, going hell-for-leather in their own rogue style, and coming out the other side with life-changing experiences, a story or 10 to tell, and, fortunately, alive.
Their most recent endeavor involved bringing friends along for a self guided rafting mission through the 225 mile section of the Colorado River that runs through the Grand Canyon. In the face of isolation, danger, and inexperience, the crew proved that a profound sense of adventure and a healthy dose of courage can go a long way.
Photos and Copy Jeff Vallee
One of the greatest views in the canyon. While standing at a native grain storage hundreds of years old, you watch the sun work it’s way into canyon, the river snaking it’s way around fallen rock.
One of those rapids that seem so mild. It’s not famous, you don’t remember it from the last trip down the canyon, but it’s power shuts you right up and you hope you’re not about to get your ass handed to you late in the cold afternoon.
On the 18 day trip we watched an amazing cycle of the moon. When the moon was low, the stars put on an amazing show, when the moon was full the walls lit up and the river flowed with metallic sheen.
Leo and his guitar, a pretty common sight on this trip or any trip for that matter. The kid loves to play and if you give him the campfire DJ rights, he’ll blow you away with an amazing collection of tunes.
In order to see the largest of the waterfalls on the Havasu reservation, we had to hike 18 miles round trip from the river up into the side canyon that hosts the milky blue water. We finished just in time to row in the dark to find the rest of the crew that we left behind.
On an 18 day trip your tent is your sanctuary, and you set it up the same way every night. In the pitch black you can wake up and know exactly where your headlamp, water bottle and shoes are.