Day 4 Hayduke – Descending Dark Canyon

Ledge Walking in Dark Canyon
Ledge Walking in Dark Canyon

Look back and say, at least I didn’t lead no humdrum life.
~Forest Gump

March 23
Dark Canyon to bottom of Sundance Trail – 24 miles

OH baby it was cold this morning. It took me a good 30 minutes walking to get my feet and hands from feeling like little knives were jabbing into them.

It was a very interesting and diverse day. We went from hiking through a very unique, remote canyon, dodging and climbing up and over ledges, pools, and rocks to camping tonight with what feels like a bizzilion campers. We even had a window of warmth where Bubs and I took a quick dip into one of the many enticing pools. I always find quick dips in cold streams or lakes to be restorative and energizing. Always worth that moment of major shock after hitting the water.

Bub’s blisters were a bit better today, however I truly was at wits end with the pounds of fine sand constantly packing into my shoes. It feels like I have bound Chinese feet while walking. After quite a few miles of pondering this inconvenience and desperate for a solution, at lunch I cleaned out my socks and shoes and slipped my socked feet into ziplock baggies before donning my shoes. So far I am very proud of this solution.

With determination and not a lot of lallygagging, we made our destination tonight. It was a bit of a shock to view the plethora of campers here. Apparently, lower Dark Canyon is a very popular hiking destination and I can see why.

Open upper Dark Canyon
Open upper Dark Canyon
Open cross-country walking
Open cross-country walking
Canyon narrowing - no water yet
Canyon narrowing – no water yet
First pools - spring fed
First pools – spring fed
Loved the rock ledge walking
Loved the rock ledge walking
Storm clearing - dramatic lighting
Storm clearing – dramatic lighting
Fun and unique canyon walking
Fun and unique canyon walking
Up and over canyon walls
Up and over canyon walls

 

Deep narrow rock pools and stream
Deep narrow rock pools and stream
Just walkin'
Just walkin’
Easy walking
Easy walking
Steep rock climbs on narrow ledges to maneuver around deep water
Steep rock climbs on narrow ledges to maneuver around deep water
New green emerges as we descend elevation
New green emerges as we descend elevation
Campsite tonight in deep sand - love my new Zpacks Solplex tent
Campsite tonight in deep sand – love my new Zpacks Solplex tent

 

6 Comments

  1. Very gorgeous country.

    And the tent, love that pretty blue! Zpacks makes some well-thought-out gear. Glad to read your thoughts on it above. I bet Silly Chili will be stoked to find out about the gifting (assuming he hasn’t already). What a cool mom!

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      I told Silly Chili last night. He is excited. The Tarptent Moment he inherited from me before the CDT is falling apart in several places. He will love the skyscape.

      Bright tents are super helpful to find when you have left camp and coming back. I think they are cheerful too.

  2. Jon Mathias

    Great photos! Such a dramatic landscape.

    I watched the John Ford film The Searchers again yesterday and your pictures evoke the same huge, dramatic scale of your country.

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      Thanks for the tip on the John Wayne movie. I love your description: huge and dramatic country.

  3. I love the photos from this hike! I’ve got a smd skyscape X tent currently and have never had to use it in a heavy rain. I’m worried water would leak in and get my down quilt wet as the tubstyle floor doesn’t come up very high. I’ve been considering whether the zpacks solplex tent would be worth the huge investment. What are your thoughts now that you’ve tried both? How did you keep water from coming in your SMD Skyscape X? A few of my upcoming longer hikes are in possibly heavy rain. I envy your hike. The canyons are absolutely beautiful.

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      Linda,
      I wondered if someone was going to catch that!!!!

      Here are my thoughts:
      -bought a new tent so that I could give my Skyscape to my son, Silly Chili
      -both tents weight the same
      -both tents have about the same ease of setting up (get comfortable at home setting up before a trip)
      -I think the Skyscape has a bit more room
      -the Solplex has a higher bathtub, so perhaps if you lived in an area that rains quite a bit, that would be an advantage. If not I have had the Skyscape in rain and just made sure none of my gear was close to the edge of the bathtub floor and it worked.
      -I do think if someone really needed room or were larger the Zpacks Duplex tent would be the way to go. Lots and lots of room with only a few extra ounces.

      I hope this helps. BTW this will be my 4th season with the Skyscape with no real visible wear to the tent. Silly Chili is going to love it.

      Hope this helps.

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