Good story and a good lesson. I use a paid app on my phone to track my GPS location and overlay it on maps or satellite imagery. Its a life saver. I’m a hunter and am often in the woods before sunup and its amazingly dark and easy to get confused. Like flying IFR, you have to trust your instruments. Glad you made it out safely and better for it.
I particularly loved your analogy about daytime sounds and night time stars. It conveyed the audible perception perfectly.
Enjoy the mountains, I do. Stay safe.