Southwest Soulquest 1

River and Service

This expedition includes:

  • Rafting
  • Inflatable kayaking
  • Native American service project

The Soulquest series was designed exclusively for Summer Search in order to support you in reaching your life’s goals. You’ll discover unknown aspects of yourself on a seven day river rafting trip, before immersing yourself in a cross-cultural community service project.

“Deer Hill holds a unique and irreplaceable spot in my heart. It feels like a second home.” – Laura, participant


Arrive at Basecamp

Days 1-3
Participants arrive at Basecamp throughout the first afternoon. Their expedition leaders help them become acquainted with Deer Hill, as participants meet each other and the group begins to form. In addition to playing games, and eating home-cooked meals, the group will pack group and personal gear for the first part of their trip.

Rafting the San Juan River

Days 3-10
You’ll raft 83 miles of this beloved river. The first 27 miles will take you past ancient Puebloan ruins which you’ll stop to explore along the way, and learn about the rich cultural history of the area. The next 56 miles wind through deep sandstone canyons. Your leaders will teach you how to navigate the river’s flat water and its rapids. You’ll make camp along the way on sandy beaches and learn about this desert riparian ecosystem, and its fascinating geology, exposed by the ravages of water and wind over the millennia. Your group will take some time out of the boats to hike up to higher vantage points and see the river’s sinuous path unravel before you.

Native American Service

Days 11-17
Service projects have you working alongside Hopi, Navajo or Zuni families on meaningful projects that they have proposed. Host families share cultural knowledge, stories, and arts with Deer Hill participants.Your service project might be to herd sheep on a high mesa top, or to help build a shade arbor with your host family. When the day’s work is done, gather round to hear traditional stories and learn about your hosts’ culture.

Return to Basecamp

Days 17-19
Participants return to Basecamp for program closure. The group cleans equipment and returns it to its storage locations at Basecamp, and returns any rental items to the Deer Hill Store. The group holds a closing ceremony to conclude their experience, and enjoys a cookout and slideshow on the final evening. On the last day of the program, expedition leaders drive participants to the Durango airport to return home.

High School Sophomores*

Southwest Soulquest 1

June 29 – July 17, 2017

19 Days

50 Service Hours


*For questions, call us at 970.533.7492.

Start and End at Basecamp

The expedition is bookended with time at Deer Hill’s Basecamp in Mancos, CO. From Days 1 to 3, participants get to know each other as they pack group and personal gear for their river expedition. At the end of their expedition, the group returns to Basecamp (Days 17-19) for hot showers and home-cooked meals. The final full day will include a closing ceremony and celebration with a cookout and slideshow.

Transitions between sections occur in the field. The group is at Basecamp only at the beginning and end of the expedition.

Arrival and Departure:

Durango Airport (DRO) or

Deer Hill Basecamp, Mancos, Colorado.

Arrive June 29, 12-6pm; Depart July 17, 8:30am-2pm

Travel Information



I have been doing similar outdoor adventure trips for the past five summers, but I have never experienced anything like I have this summer at Deer Hill.

Lily, participant