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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Hiking in the dark

    Have you ever been hiking during the night?

    For some it might seem frightening, for others exciting.

    I personally had some really pleasant experience with that.

    One of the most memorable was when me and my friends decided to go for a walk by the beach. It was 2AM and the moon was red.

    After few hours it started getting cold and we were quite far away from our campsite.

    We decided to make a campfire. Just on the sand. Best decision ever...

  2. #2
    Registered User swjohnsey's Avatar
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    I did it for a living for about 20 years.

  3. #3
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    One of the best hikes I have done was going up Leconte at night....

    such a different experience and then to get to watch the sunrise and later the sunset from up there was great....

  4. #4
    Clueless Weekender Another Kevin's Avatar
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    I found myself night hiking yesterday. Daylight is getting short, so it was full night by the time I was back at the car. At least the Moon was nearly full, and I had a decent headlamp. I find that the New York Long Path blazes are more visible at night. That may have something to do with my odor blindness. The aqua blazes tend to blend into the tree bark in twilight or cloudy weather.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  5. #5
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    I find myself night hiking often and really enjoy it especially during winter....careful with ice....a GOOD light is very important too me...the Zebra light H502 300lm works great...by far my favorite light to date...my second Zebra light...love them...with the $$$$


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    GoldenBear's Avatar
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    Unhappy Never intentionally

    Both times it was sheer, unadulterated hubris, with a little stupidity mixed in.

    First time was in Rocky Mountain National Park, when I calculated the time it would take me to finish a hike based on the ONE WAY distance. By the time I was at the far point of my hike, I slowly realized what I had done, and that I would have no chance of getting back before dark. Worse, there was no moon that night. Worse still, I didn't have a flashlight! I simply walked back as fast as I could, resolving to either spend the night on the Trail OR get back to my car well after dark. I had the trail memorized, so I didn't really have to look at my map as dusk came upon me. When I got to Bierstadt Lake, I could see the reflection of the sky off the lake, so I knew ABOUT where to go to get to the trail down to my parking lot. Amazingly, I found it in (pretty much) pitch dark. The actual trail down the mountain was wide, and brighter than the ground off the trail, so I was able to walk down a series of switchbacks.

    The other time was a little more recently:
    http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/entr...itle!-(Part-1)
    http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/entr...itle!-(Part-2)

  7. #7
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    One evening I took the family to a night hike up the mountain behind our house (just 300m elevation gain), to watch the fireworks for the summer festival in our little town.
    We had headlamps, but asked everybody to keep them off. Sky was bright but the moon was not up already, so the only light came from the stars and from the near city (which is not much).
    Once accustomed to the dark, the hike worked out pretty nice, if slow.
    I teached the kids how, if the eyes fail due to lack of light, they could walk by carfully listening to their own footsteps. There was a lot of dry leafs aside the path, but the path itself was cleaned of leafs.
    I demonstrated it by walking on the path (quite quiet), then aside the path (noisy rustling)... and then it was dead silent suddenly: I had fallen off the path.
    Luckily unhurt.
    Some minutes later we had the scariest moment of our life so far:
    It was really pitch black in the forest.
    To our left suddenly a low greenish light covered the ground. It seemd to move and flow a bit but contoured a quite big longish shape.
    After long seconds of horror I recovered and walked up to it, got down on the ground and moved away more of the dry leafs. There was more and more light.
    It came from an old rotten trunk.

    The firework was very nice, but what the kids kept telling for years later was me falling off the path and the green light thing.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by higuy111 View Post
    Have you ever been hiking during the night?

    For some it might seem frightening, for others exciting.

    I personally had some really pleasant experience with that.

    One of the most memorable was when me and my friends decided to go for a walk by the beach. It was 2AM and the moon was red.

    After few hours it started getting cold and we were quite far away from our campsite.

    We decided to make a campfire. Just on the sand. Best decision ever...
    Sandy beach hikes where there are biolumenescing life forms in the water or combined with phosphorescence from dinoflagalletes perhaps with breaching dolphins, whales, huge Manta Rays, and sea turtles or combined with a swim are awesome. It's cool to listen to the small rocks washing up on the beach and being brought back out to sea on rocky shoreline night hikes. Full moon night desert hiking is awesome with the meteors and moon shadowing especially in canyons and on the red rocked Colorado Plateau. The formations come to life. Dark clear night hikes to elevation atop mountain summits like at Mauna Loa, Haleakala, Mauna Kea, Half Dome, or Mt Whitney, or at Bryce, Zion, etc is awesome. Remember well fond night hikes at GSMNP into fields where the fire flies were synchronizing in mass; felt like I was hiking in the midst of the Milky Way. doing night hikes into glow worm infested areas is pretty cool too; I'm looking forward to it; haven't done that yet. Feel fortunate to experience winter night hiking in deep snowpack with rime and snow on the bent over trees at Zion, along the AT in NJ on the Kittatiny Ridge, on the AT south out of Palmerston in PA, at Cascades NP along Lake Chelan and Ross Lake, at the Grand Canyon on nighttime moonless snow filled winter descents, in Yosemite NP up to Clouds Rest or Glacier Point in the snow, checking out erupting geysers at night at Yellowstone on hikes, or to a unexpected frozen waterfall with my footprints being the only ones. Full moon winter night hikes with snow on the ground, the hoo dos, and arches and other formations at Bryce Canyon NP, Arches NP, and Escalante I will never forget. I did a 3 day winter backcountry trip with two nights of night hiking in Acadia NP with snow on the ground and along the coastline that was cool. It's so surreal usually with the places to yourself. Quiet. Crunching sand and snow with the occasional rolling pebble or shifting scree underfoot. Glowing eyes in the brush, and trees that come to life looking like alien snow monsters. It's a different connection to Nature at night with the rattling of a nearby snake, a howling coyote or wolf, hearing the growl of a mountain lion, Black Bear sniffing around and huffing, armadillo, raccoon, coati, skunk, or opossum seeking food in the leaf litter, the glowing eyes of elk, whitetail, and mule deer in their beds or as they browse looking at me trying to figure me outa as I creep along hiking silently into the night even occasionally hiking without a headlamp. On night hikes when all is quiet I can hear my heart beat, have a greater sense of my breathing and energy expenditure, the beetles in the grass, luna moths, and owls before I see them. Nothing like hiking across a frozen lake at night under a full moon with the occasional expansion crack noises or hiking around glaciers at night that are melting off large chunks of ice to make me know I'm alive and to be grateful.

    Doing night dives, spending nights in caves where no light exists especially where their are bats, and night padding at Channel Islands NP and Isle Royale NP is a whole other world of adventure and excitement. On my bucket list is a night time sky dive and rappelling into caves in Mexico and Central America.

  9. #9

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    In an avg week on a trail in warm weather, I probably average 8-10 hrs hiking in dark.
    Mostly pre-dawn, as opposed to late evening.

  10. #10

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    I've led short night hikes (2 miles out & back) for families. It's very interesting observing people's behavior in the woods at night. Otherwise, just tonight, I had a very short "hike" - I picked a spot to watch the supermoon rise over a river, and had about a 1/2 mile walk through the woods in the dark to get back to my car. I was hoping to hear an owl; didn't happen. I was hoping not to see a coyote; that didn't happen either also!

  11. #11
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    While I love to night hike in Michigan, I hate to night hike on the A.T. On the A.T., there are usually too many rocks, roots, and elevation changes - all of which make a night hike difficult.

  12. #12
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    I have done quite a bit of night hiking, both to do the miles and because it is a whole different world. I have seen so much wildlife including skunks that I normally don't see in the day. If hiking out west it can be an incredible experience. One of the memorable was in North Cascades NP at the end of my PCT hike. There was a bright moon, cool temperatures and the most incredible lighting and shadows. I have also done three different hikes at night through the Grand Canyon of PA. While that is a cool area in the day night, at night it is magical. The shear amount of wildlife makes it very special.

    here is a little gem while night hiking at evolution lake in the Sierra.
    IMG_2698.JPG
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  13. #13

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    nighthiking is the best, especially on a full moon. My favorite times are dusk and dawn though forsure.
    - Young Blood | AT2015 | PCT2016 | CDT2017

  14. #14

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    Jeff, the late owner of the Lodge near Fontana, NC told us sternly about hiking in the dark "there are things out there that will eat you".

    Having said that, it's always been a memorable experience and such a relief to watch the sun come up.

  15. #15
    In the shadows AfterParty's Avatar
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    Is one allowed to hike after dark in the smokies?
    Hiking the AT is “pointless.” What life is not “pointless”? Is it not pointless to work paycheck to paycheck just to conform?.....I want to make my life less ordinary. AWOL

  16. #16
    Registered User Kaptainkriz's Avatar
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    Beware of the Yeti...
    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    Jeff, the late owner of the Lodge near Fontana, NC told us sternly about hiking in the dark "there are things out there that will eat you".

    Having said that, it's always been a memorable experience and such a relief to watch the sun come up.
    Plaid is fast! Ticks suck, literally...
    Follow my hiking adventures: https://www.youtube.com/user/KrizAkoni
    Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alphagalhikes/

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptainkriz View Post
    Beware of the Yeti...
    A couple weeks ago I did my first solo night hike. It was on the approach trailer at Springer. I started well before dawn. The unusual thing about it is that you can't see the distance and elevation change you are making. It was easy to hike too fast and wonder why I wasn't making better progress. Later the GPS showed I was moving along quite well.

    Starting that early in the day is a lot of fun, but there just isn't much to see. You almost feel like you are back home on your treadmill.

  18. #18

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    Hiking in the dark. hmmmm
    I was 12, living in Michigan and a member of a group called the Sea Scouts.
    One night we crossed the Muskegon Lake Channel to the state park on the other side to learn how to camp and hike in the woods at night, etc. Did a couple of miles in the woods and it started to rain. Got back to camp (no tents of course) and not one of us had a dry bag. Froze our butts off.
    "Worst Night" and the "Best Night" I ever had in the woods as a young boy. It has been 58 years and I remember it as if it was yesterday.
    Rolls
    Rolls down the hill, Kanardly hike up the other hill
    May all your hikes have clear skies, fair winds and no rocks under your pad.

  19. #19
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    As one could read out of my little story above, I definitely love nighthiking, maybe due to the fact that most of my life I'd been sitting in the office during daytime and for the outdoors mainly dusk and dark is left, time-wise.

    At times I loved to walk barefoot, and walking barefoot in the nature in the night is really spectacular.
    First, you pay so much attention to your footing that you get a very intimate connection to the ground, and second you walk so noiseless that neither human nor animal will hear you approaching.
    Many a time I got scared to death by deer jumping off just single meters ahead.
    (have to mention that in our country there is no single animal that could be deadly dangerous for poison or aggressivity).

  20. #20
    279.6 Miler (Tanyard Gap) CamelMan's Avatar
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    Magnus Innovation 1000 lumen headlamp + Fenix PD35 LED blaster = What night?

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