darkest place you have ever been?

Jean-Luc Descarte

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I learned to appreciate my night vision both romping around at night as a kid and on camping trips. Under a surprising range of conditions it's possible to navigate over clear terrain with ease and you can see more, further without a light source to snap shut the rods and largely reduce you vision down to the cones around the fovea. That broad yet general awareness of everything around you is a satisfying sensation that does indeed feed into a sense of connection.
You absolutely caught my drift!
 

idleprocess

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You absolutely caught my drift!
It's a sensation I re-learn with decreasing frequency due to the realities of adulthood, but whenever I feel it I imagine it's like when I was a child and we'd let the family cat outside: after a few seconds of scanning it would visibly relax as if it was back in its element and had fundamental knowledge of its surroundings.
 

DaveTheDude

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My darkest nights were all during naval service, with one exception.

Happy Memory: Sailing the western Pacific, on a moonless night there are only the stars for illumination.

Annoying Memory: When conducting emergency drills, there is no starlight if you're below decks. During disaster recovery drills , electrical power is typically cut (simulating an emergency of one sort or another), with the purpose of the drill being to test the crew's ability to recover from whatever casualty is being modeled that day. My work group's "office space" was located about five decks below the waterline, where it is pitch black without artificial lighting. Most of the crew at that time didn't carry personal pocket lights (although today I'd estimate that about 15-20% have a pocket light on them at all times). The darkness was comparable to a cave. [We did however have a few D-cell Mag's and C-cell EveryReady Sportsman flashlights in the workbench drawer to get by.]

Exceptional Memory: Backpacking trip in Kings' Canyon National Park. Cloudless nights at an elevation high enough to virtually guarantee crystal clear atmospheric conditions (this was in early autumn, and a decade before today's chronic wildfires). The lack of atmospheric humidity gave a clarity and sharpness to a riot of stars, and the sky glow from the nearest city (Fresno) could not be seen at all. The view of the Milky Way was even better than at sea.
 

novice

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Oh, I am enjoying this thread, in a wistful sense. I am so enamored-with/dependent-on having a flashlight if I go outside at night, that I cannot remember when I was last able to indulge the feeling of being connected to night-adapted vision, and how it feels in different dark-continuum environments. Lights are a wonderful thing, but so is the sensory and emotional connection/adaptation to darkness. I am not a lumens chaser, but I also have not "sipped and savored" the darkness in a very long time.
 

HSO

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Deep underground in a large chamber in a cavern. I'd found a comfortable rock, taken my pack off, and turned out my headlamp and flashlight while friends continued on up a dead end tunnel so I could experience the darkest dark. I stayed in place for 20 minutes with no light. My eyes had dark adapted, but there was no light to see by.

Other than that, offshore island camping for long enough that the new moon was in phase.
 

gadget_lover

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I suspect that the official darkest place was in the Grand Canyon Caverns. As others mentioned, the guide turned off the lights and let our eyes adjust for a minute. Then he struck a match. One candlepower is a lot when your eyes have adapted. I was about 8 years old and fascinated by the phenomenon.

The place that felt darker was in 1995 in a San Francisco sky scraper. Like many office buildings, the outer areas are office space. The center core is where they put the elevators, bathrooms, etc. Several one or more corridors separate the public areas from the office areas.

So there I was, sitting in the bathroom when the lights went out. It was easily as dark as the caverns. But I had no flashlight, no matches. No emergency lighting. It was my first day in the building. When the lights came on I counted six closed doors and a labyrinth of twists and turns between the bathroom and daylight.

Dan
 

Gemster

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A Black Hole.....mile long abandoned railroad tunnel. In the middle, light is litterally swallowed up and there is no sign of light at the ends. Pretty spooky place.
 

Hamilton Felix

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I retired not long ago from 45 years as a Hydroelectric Operator. When you are two or three floors underground and the lights go out, and you are the guy who has to get it back up and running..... or you are inside the passages of a dam and the lights go out.... well, I still carry flashlights 24/7. BTW my utility’s largest powerhouse is inside a 600 ft. man made cave.
 

thermal guy

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I went to rolling hills in upstate. Very very weird experience. Lots of sounds and some crazy evp’s. This was back in my A2’s days.
 

Chauncey Gardiner

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Sometime during the 1980s, long before I started carrying a light on my person, I was going about my work delivering flowers. Although a cliché, it was most definitely a dark and stormy day. Sometime around 4pm during the late Fall, Tacoma was experiencing a very powerful wind and rain storm. With a couple of hours of work still to go I pulled up to this building.

Image 9-15-21 at 9.28 AM.jpg

I remember being very busy and therefore in a rush. Looking at the resident's directory outside the main doors, I was bummed to discover the recipient resided on the 16th floor. CRAP! Into the elevator and up I went. Arriving at the16th floor the doors opened and the lights went out. All the lights. The elevator was situated in the middle of the building, so there was a circular hallway sans any windows, only steel doors emitting a slight sliver of light from the bottom........

Not being able to see anything, much less being able to find the correct door and leave the flowers, I started knocking on door after door hoping to find someone at home. Anyone, actually. I just needed someone to open their door so I could see. After a few attempts a woman's voice answered -

"Hello. Who's there?
"Hi, I'm delivering flowers to Mrs Davis. I can't see anything. Can you open your door?"
"No. She's around the other side of the hall."
"Thank you."

After knocking on a few more doors, I found an elderly woman willing to open her door. She inform me Mrs Davis was not home, but she would accept the delivery for her neighbor. I thanked her, asked where the stairway was located, and requested she leave her door open until I located the stairs.

As the door to the stairwell closed, It occurred to me this was the first time in my life I could remember being in total darkness. I actually waved my left hand in front of my face. Yes, I know, another cliché. I could not see my hand, or an outline, or a shadow. 32 flights of stairs in total darkness. My right hand never releasing its grip on the handrail, all the while fearing, what if someone had left anything on the stairs. I also remember thinking - If I fall and break something, or am unconscious, how long will it be before someone finds me.
 

Chauncey Gardiner

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Wow Chance, that is a scary story!
Is that what got you into carrying an EDC?

Unfortunately, no. I was a late bloomer to EDC. It pretty much started in my late 40's when my adaptive vision started to fail. A friend led me to the light. I was looking for something in the back of a dark closet in the daytime. He handed me his light. It's always dark somewhere.
 
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GaryF

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Kansas City, MO
What fascinates me more than caves or other structures, which of course can block all of the light, are places with dark skies where you can easily see the Milky Way.

The best dark sky places that I have experienced:

Nepal, a small village at ~14,000ft and no electric lights.
Big Bend National Park backcountry.
Central Australia between towns.
Northern Baja remote areas
 

Got Lumens?

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Chance,
That is scary crazy. Glad You were able to navigate the stair well in total darkness.

The darkest place I have been is in Aruba in the cave passages. You go in and navigate about 100M under ground.
This was 26 years ago.
 
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