Dark Canyon, Utah, spring break backpack

Erik Lund, Tom Baskin, and I finished a backpack in Dark Canyon, in the desert of South West Utah.  It was between Hanksville and Blanding, near Lake Powell on the Colorado River.  It is very remote, and one has the feeling that a rescue is out of the question, there is no cell coverage, and its a long hard hike back to civilization.

The pic above shows the starting point, Sundance trailhead.  From there, we hiked around and canyon and descended a rough, difficult, scary rockslide of 1200 feet.The red line in the picture below is the route down the rock slide, more or less.  Each step was down, onto rocks with gravel on them, that could turn or roll, and was hard on old knees.

The picture below is on the rockslide, but doesn't capture how steep and difficult it is. There is no trail, but a lot of different use trails criss crossing the steep slope. There are places with a 100' drop off.

Pic below of Tom Baskin, partway down the slope, with Dark Canyon in the background, a long way down.

Above: the bottom of Dark Canyon.

Above: the bottom of Dark Canyon.

Above: The second day we hiked up river, walking on ledges above the water.  Most of the time the water was not reachable due to cliffy sidewalls.

Above: The second day we hiked up river, walking on ledges above the water.  Most of the time the water was not reachable due to cliffy sidewalls.

Above: Erik leaps the river.

Above: Erik leaps the river.

Above: Tom using his little wood burning stove, with a few sticks of wood heating 3 cups of water to boiling in 6 minutes.  It is very effective for heating water.

Above: Tom using his little wood burning stove, with a few sticks of wood heating 3 cups of water to boiling in 6 minutes.  It is very effective for heating water.

We saw plenty of awesome swimming holes, but it was too cold to swim.

We saw plenty of awesome swimming holes, but it was too cold to swim.

We spent the 2nd night on the grassy area above, then headed upriver to Young's Canyon for the third night.

We spent the 2nd night on the grassy area above, then headed upriver to Young's Canyon for the third night.

Bob and Erik at the last water before tackling the slide on the last day of the trip.

Bob and Erik at the last water before tackling the slide on the last day of the trip.

Above: back up the slide on the last day, to get back to the trailhead. Erik taking one step at a time.  The hiking was very exhausting.

Above: back up the slide on the last day, to get back to the trailhead. Erik taking one step at a time.  The hiking was very exhausting.

View of Dark Canyon from the climb up the slide.

View of Dark Canyon from the climb up the slide.