Ol Chums already gave the meat and potatoes about this hike so I'll just add my little side.
I am currently typing this triplog with the worst poison ivy rashes I've ever had!
Legs, forearms, shoulders, back and even a few areas where the sun doesn't shine were also affected!
I also made this my first ever backpacking trip hiking in sandals which ended up being the worst idea ever!
I used a pair of Coleman brand teva style sandals that completely failed for me, the awkward foot positions, constant boulder hopping and swimming proved to be too much for the straps to hold.
I found myself constantly adjusting them to stay on and even had to wrap bungee cords around them which finally kept them in position.
The aftermath may be the worst part though because I'm almost certain I now have a stress fracture in my metatarsals due to the improper footwear and heavy weight.
Also to mention my backpack strap almost completely ripped off but luckily Chumley went into full Mcgyver mode and weaved some paracord from the strap to the frame which fortunately held up the remainder of the trip.
Regardless of the gear failures and poison ivy the beauty and silence within the canyon made me forget about all of that!
Even though Willow Valley itself is not necessarily in a remote area the canyon bottom feels very isolated and was completely filled with signs of wildlife.
I encountered more piles of bear scat than I've ever seen, all that's was missing was the bear which we still haven't came to the conclusion as to what animal we passed that was decomposing in a section of the creek.
It was just a large black mass wasting away in shallow water which filled the air of a quarter mile radius with the stench of rotted flesh.
Needless to say as the hike and heat went on a totally forgot about it and found myself drinking unfiltered creek water until Joel questioned my sanity.
I definitely underestimated just how idyllic and impressive this canyon was and will most certainly find myself coming back here one day!