Couple of tips for Dark Canyon
So I went to Dark Canyon for 4 days through the Sundance trail. It was a bittersweet trip due to a few mishaps..
Tip #1.. Head down in the early morning.. Or evening, but be sure you're good at going downhill without messing up your knees or whatnot... It does take longer to get down from everyone that I spoke to than what they say in books.
Tip #2.. Don't take someone who is afraid of heights down that rock slide ;) It took 4x as long, not enough water was brought and this person got heat exhaustion. Bring plenty of water for the way down.
Tip #3.. There are really smart crows down there. Every campsite had problems with them. They can open up zippers. When you are gone and if you have a tent.. Put your food in your pack with as many layers as possible.. I tied my tent zippers together so they couldn't even open it up. If you aren't using a tent.. I dunno.. I'd even go as far as packing my food around.. It'd suck to have to bail out early because your food got nabbed..
Tip #4.. MOST IMPORTANT - when you hike back up the rock slide you will come to the top of the first mesa that overlooks the canyon.. DON'T sit there all day and wander around that first mesa. There are trails that wander all over it. There is a carn - and quite a few at that.. That will guide you up to the next mesa. Remember you need to get up to the top and around the horseshoe - haha. We had a couple of experienced hikers get heat exhaustion as well and had to come back down because they wandered on top of the first mesa too long and needed water. How terrible is that?! To hike all the way up that thing to go back down. They hiked back out in the morning with us. So watch for that carn. I personally didn't think it was marked well enough, but noticed it and made sense of it that we needed to go that way.. We were on the trail hiking up by 6:00. It felt so nice outside! We made it to our car by 10:15. I hardly even broke a sweat - just waiting for people.. So if you go a little faster.. You will do well getting out.
Tip #5.. I brought my chacos.. No regrets there.. I was a little bit worried about how heavy they were.. But they were WELL WORTH bringing for playing in the river.. I even hiked up the rock slide with them because I loved wearing them so much and packed my hiking boots out.
Hope this helps someone. I felt the need to share those few tips - in case it helps someone from making a few of the same mistakes.
05-22-2012 10:10 AM
Thanks for the tips. Will keep that in mind when I get there. NOW...where is the trip report and all the wonderful pictures?
"Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L’Amour
That's a great place to hang out with a good book for a couple days when it gets really hot out there. The pools down by the lake (river) are great. I can only imagine the drama with noobies that go there...hiking all the way back down for water? Oh boy...you can virtually see the cars from the top of the talus slope now that they moved the trailhead. Nice tips, especially about those crafty crows. I like to play the sneaky Navy Seal hit them with rocks game. I was just there a couple weeks ago, the trailhead was packed with cars...I was on my way to cache some food for another trip so I didn't drop in. If you haven't already been there, go to the upper parts of that canyon... very nice.
Man I WISH I would have read this before I went. I brought a friend who had never been backpacking before on this hike. Come to find out she was afraid of hikes and started getting dizy on the rock slide on the way down. She was a good sport and made it down but we went slowly so she didn't loose her balance. When hiking up the Dark Canyon towards Lake Powell she had the same problem because the trail goes high above the stream blow at times. She told me she may never speak to me again at this point.
The rock slide is also quite tiring going down with a 30lb pack and all of us had a little of the shaky leg thing going on by the end.
The girls I was with were pretty quick hikers and we left our camp at the base of the rock slide by the river at 6:30 maybe close to 7AM. We were to the trail head by 9:30am. The rest of our group was about 10 or 20 min behind us when we got to the top of the rock slide but from there got lost about the same spot as misscakes did because they didn't watch the carins closely. In hindsight we should have added to the carins but didn't. The tail end of our party were lost for over two hours even with the gps. So word of warning to anyone else pay attention to the carins!
Also water shoes are a must. My girlfriend hiked the whole trip in her Tevas but I was happy with my hiking shoes and my Tevas. We put in around 24 miles and loved it. You will too.
When I moved to Utah in 2003 this was the first hike I embarked upon. For my girlfriend at the time (now my wife), this was her first time backpacking.
It had the making for disaster from the get go. Driving in at Midnight it was like 80 degrees outside (memorial day weekend) , my girlfriend felt like she was getting sick, and I had never hiked the Utah desert, etc. etc.
By the time we made it to the bottom my girlfriend had the body chills, it was extremely hot outside, and we both were whipped from the hike down. Once we set up camp all she wanted to do was lay down and sleep. Needless to say we waited the day out and then got up about 5:00 a.m. the next morning to start the grind up the rock face. Basically never really experiencing the canyon.
To this day when I mention Dark Canyon she contimplates throwing me out of the house.
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