Night Hiking. I’ve posted about this subject before, so forgive me if this sounds repetitive, but I have found night hiking to be so refreshing. Now this does not mean that I am going to go exploring every new trail in the middle of the night, I would be losing half the reason I go, to see the wonderful world around me. I have found that night hiking ( intentionally going out at night to hike, not just being out on the trail early or late ) has some great advantages as well as some draw backs. This is not for every hike you want to do out there, I tend to do this on well established trails that I have a lot of experience with. Recently I did this with a buddy on the Mt Woodson trail going from the back to front down at the lake and then back up and over, between 6pm to 11pm, we wanted to get some mileage on our legs for our 22 mile hike up MT Langley the following week. Here are some of my ideas about this.
Night Hiking Pro’s and Con’s.
- Hiking at night can help you beat the heat (duh, what else you got ).
- I find that trails that tend to be overflowing during the day like Cowles Mountain, Mt Woodson, Iron Mountain, etc,..tend to be virtually empty at night, which can be a plus and a con depending on the person. I find these trails can get so over crowded during the day that it changes the experience for the worst. But if you find that being on the trail at night by yourself to be to creepy this may not be for you, or just make sure to get a friend to go along with you.
- If you are close enough to the city such as doing Cowles Mountain, Mt Woodson, Iron Mountain, etc…you get such a cool view of the lights.
- Some Hiking spots will close the gates at sunset, and or there is little to no security around and therefor even less once the night starts.
- Most hikes are far enough removed from the city light that even if your close enough to see the city at night you will also get to look up into the heavens and see far more stars then you ever see at night around where you live ( if you live in the city ).
Night Hiking : Do’s and Don’t’s
- Do Make sure some knows where you are going and where you are going to be ( duh, did you ever see 120 Hours. Enough said on that one ). My wife feels more comfortable when I turn on the find my friends app on my iphone so that she knows where I am when I am out hiking alone or shooting photos at night out in the middle of nowhere.
- Do make sure and take a headlamp and or flashlight with a refill of batteries just in case you run out of juice.
- Make sure to take enough water, even though you are hiking at night and its cooler you are still going to sweat, and on a long hike you can go through a lot of water. I tend to like having water left over after a hike rather then running out as you are hiking.
- I have yet to hear about someone getting attacked by an animal hiking at night and the only one I would worry about here in San Diego is a mountain lion. For that reason when I hike by myself at night I carry a knife easily accessible ( I don’t know how much good this will do if I get attacked but it makes me feel good), and I use trekking poles, the poles make more noise, letting animals know you are coming so that you don’t surprise them, and its one more weapon to wave around at them. Some ideas on what to do if you get attacked
- I also find that using the trekking poles at night also helps with your balance as you are hiking. Even when you are using a headlamp while hiking at night I find that you tend to loose a little depth perception, so I like having the poles to help with that.
- Try doing this with trails that you are already familiar with, so that your not missing the bigger picture (the world around you) but that your also more comfortable with where you are going.
- Do not leave valuable objects in plain view in your car, your asking for for a real headache when you get back.
So if you want a little change in your adventure, grab a buddy and head out at night one of these days, get some good exercise, see the pretty city lights, or look up and see the great stars. Have an awesome adventure.