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Many years ago, my brother, a friend, and I did a backpack down a section of the Dirty Devil River, in Utah. Several years later, I canoed the Dirty Devil, from Hanksville, to Lake Powell, but that's another story. On the second or third day, we turned up a side canyon that was supposed to have a spring. We planned to spend the night here, so we looked around for a suitable campsite, then dropped our packs, grabbed our water bottles, and headed up the canyon to the spring. It is important to note, that I was the only one that left his pack in plain view, but we hadn't seen another soul since leaving the car. I was the first to finish filling bottles and headed back to my pack. When I came around a corner, I was surprised to see a young couple on horseback. I said hi, as I passed, but they just looked at me funny and said nothing. A couple minutes later, when they came tearing down the canyon, nearly nocking me over, I knew something was up and picked up my pace. When I got to my pack, it was obvious that the sleeping bag had been taken. I took off after them. When I got to the Dirty Devil, I saw that they had met up with what looked like an outfitter with loaded horses about half a mile away. and they were starting up a trail out of the canyon. I started yelling at them to give me back my sleeping bag. The outfitter stopped and I saw that he was talking with the young couple. He then got off his horse and I saw him put something on the ground. By now, I was getting close, and gave them an earful. But they just rode on. What he had put on the ground was my sleeping bag and my headlamp, which I didn't know was missing, also.
It is possible, even likely, that the outfitter was armed. I probably should have just let it go. My life is worth more than a sleeping bag. What if I'd had a gun? Would I have used it? Maybe it's better I didn't have a gun. But I think about my safety more.