10 out of 10 for persistence!
A priority when first journeying is to find a "spirit guide" rather than a "power animal", but perhaps "spirit guide" [who will assist you in future journeys and keep you safe, as opposed to a "power animal" who will embody a quality you need in your life right now] WAS your intention?
Many people teach "forced" journey techniques (particular visualizations) - and they can have their place in widening our journeying experiences. However, I always encourage beginners to simply "open up and let go" [an "unstructured" initial journey] because the result, or the "journeying block" can hold important significance - something (from the past) that needs healing e.g. via soul retrieval or by psychotherapeutic techniques. So I agree with terryjca on this - "no preconceived notions about what will/should happen during the journey".
There was a fire between us. it kept off and on...
Could this be a "fire of purification"? - an indication for some kind of healing work. Your journey seems to me like a kind of "survey" of your psyche. Maybe the dark areas indicate areas of your "shadow self" - not necessarily anything bad, just stuff about yourself that you are not currently conscious about - e.g. painful old incidents or unresolved grief or guilt.