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Explorer Spotlight: Derrick Lytle

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Name: Derrick Lytle | Age: 28 | Location: Reno, NV.

What’s your day job?
I am currently working for Journeyfilm which is a production company in Reno that focuses on ultra running video production.

What are your favorite things to do outside?
Besides time lapse photography, I'm an avid trail runner and I just enjoy a good adventure. The last couple years I've gotten really interested in finding old ghost towns and exploring those.

What first drew you to the outdoors?
Growing up my family wasn't very interested in the outdoors, so I don't have one of those stories where I can say "I remember when my dad first took me to the crag..." or something. We did a lot of car camping and similar things, which were great, but never really experienced the outdoors. When I was in college in Utah I started running out of boredom and that took me to the trails. I went to school in Utah and had the whole Wasatch Front as a playground. I haven't looked back since.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?
My favorite hometown adventure spot would have to be Valley of Fire, which is a crazy sandstone state park just outside of Las Vegas. The park and the surrounding area is full of cool sandstone formations and rocks which makes for some fun runs and always amazing photo ops.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?
My iPhone. Seriously couldn't live without it. I use it for photos, time lapse work, maps, etc. It truly is a Swiss Army knife, which has become deeply integrated in my adventures and photo workflow.

What’s your favorite trail snack?
Tanka Jerky with some Guayaki Mate.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?
I'm cheap so anything that's free is probably what's on my playlists but I'm a huge fan of The Glitch Mob.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/or, the funniest?
Last year I was on a shoot in Monterrey, Mexico and we met a guy who owned a tourism company that took people on climbing and canyoneering tours. He said he was interested in getting a video done of one of his tours so he sent us out with a guide to "climb" a peak. The whole thing was bolted with a steel cable running from top to bottom which made the process really easy, but about three quarters of the way up there was a series of ladders cabled to a wall and free hanging which we had to climb to get to the next section of the climb. The ladders were just standard metal ladders you can get at any hardware store but these were thousands of feet up in the air and just swung around. I've done a lot of stupid crap in my days but climbing sketch ladders in Mexico is by far the most terrifying thing I've ever done.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?
My partner-in-crime would have to be Bruce Wilson of Three Peak Films. We worked on a climbing film a few years ago and have been shooting together ever since as our styles just work together. We basically can read each other's minds when it comes to shots, so we just click well. Shawn Reeder and Renan Ozturk are probably the biggest inspirations in my life when it comes to art and adventure.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?
Mexico, Mexico, and Mexico.

What’s on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?
I'm hoping to run the Zion Traverse Trail this fall. The traverse is a 50 mile network of trails that cut through Utah's Zion National Park.

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!
Most memorable photo? That's a tough question but this shot at Sunset in the Valley of Fire is one of my favorites. The area is called "The Fire Wave" and when I first found the spot to shoot sunset it was an internet rumor that the even the park ranger's wouldn't tell people about. It was truly a hidden gem. Recently, the park added a trail and trail signs to the spot which means this area is pretty packed now with everyone trying to get the perfect shot.

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?
Échale ganas

Check out more of Derrick's adventures here.

And here's a frame from a time lapse video I'm working on about Nevada.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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