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Day 122: 11/23/17 Thanksgiving: Bottom of Dark Canyon to confluence of Lost and Dark Canyons

Miles: 16 Steps: 37,603 Vertical gain: Strava Knows! Liquid consumed: 112 oz. Wildlife: 1 Lizard, birds, tadpoles Faith in Humanity: Naomi has been a great hiking partner: no arguments, comfortable hiking separately for much of each day, Great level of fitness, and fun to be around. Happy Thanksgiving! Hope everyone got to eat a timid food! In some ways I’m a little sad I’m not in town to enjoy a huge Thanksgiving dinner, but I’m also super thankful to be on this trip at the bottom of beautiful Dark Canyon! Today was a really cool day of canyon exploration. Lots of places there was barely a trail. I really enjoy the puzzle of days like today: minimal trail, uncertainty as to exactly where to go, some scrambling, about 1,000 stream crossings, etc. just so much fun! Here are my tips for poorly defined trails: 1) just go! Sure, look at your map and consider options, but don’t consider for too long, just go. Many times by the time you’ve considered options fully you could almost be done with the section of trails. 2) Look for cairns! At critical points there are frequently cairns, always keep your eyes open. 3)Look close and far. Look close at your footing as undefined trails can often be quite rough. Look far to see what’s ahead. If the left wall of the canyon becomes a cliff maybe it’s time to move over toward the right wall, and so on. 4) Don’t dwell on negative thoughts. Sometimes you may go the long way or the wrong way entirely. Look at the positives: you’ve learned about a new area of trail. You’re enjoying time outside which tends to be rare, enjoy it! Sure there are hardships, but overcoming them is fantastic too! 5) if you’re lost or frustrated, chill out! Take a break, drink some water, eat some food. Life is amazing outside. You’ll make it through. It’ll be better if you smile! Another great day! Dark Canyon is really cool and not a single other person seen all day! I’d love to come back here someday! Lots of sand, plowing through the vegetation, guessing which side of the canyon will work and which will lead to a cliff forcing you to backtrack. I must say though, the journals I’ve read about this place made me think this could be really hard. Overall, it’s really not bad. Sure, if you debated every decision and were terrified of getting your feet wet it’d be a lot more challenging, but the reality is most choices end up working out and if not it’s fairly minimal backtracking to get to the other side of the creek and try again. Had some tasty stuffing with bacon bits for dinner to celebrate Thanksgiving. I’m so thankful to be on this trip! Tomorrow we’ll get to Naomi’s car in the afternoon and I have food, water, maps, and a brand new pair of shoes there! Almost 1,000 miles on my current pair, super impressive!

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