My long time hiking buddy, Keith Beaty, and I applied for fall Thunder River - Deer Creek permits the last four years, but were turned down each time. Out of frustration, we opted last year for a Royal Arch permit. The national budget issues and subsequent Grand Canyon closure in early October last year caused the Park Service to cancel our Royal Arch permit. As a little bit of compensation for that permit cancellation, the Park Service gave us an opportunity to apply a month early for any permit within the next year. With that "Get Out of Jail Free Card," we got a Thunder River - Deer Creek permit this year with a great itinerary.
We have one night in Surprise Valley, one night at Lower Tapeats, two nights at Deer Creek, and one night on the Esplanade. I hiked most of this area ten years ago, but this will be Keith's first time to hike here. Our plan for the first night is to camp on the very eastern edge of Surprise Valley and day hike down to Thunder River for water.
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