THE IMPORTANCE OF HIKING INTO THE DARK.
All summer I made it a point to hike just late enough so that I would have to use a head light on the way back to my car. My attraction to hiking in the dark started about a year ago after I did my first few hikes alone before the sun would rise. I would pack the night before wake up at 3am and start hiking at 4:30 so that I could catch the sunrise start a fire and make breakfast. The first time I did this alone because nobody would go with me. It ended up surprising the hell out of me in the best way. I showed up to my first solo hike in the dark on a windy, grey and snowy morning in December. It was pitch black at 4am as I was gathering my camera equipment and gloves to prepare myself for the cold still totally negligent to what was about to hit me. As I opened my car door the cold air rushed in andnbit my ear drums like a plane taking off on the runway. As soon as I heard the wind screaming one thought went through my head..."Fuck I didn't realize this was going to be this scary." You think walking through the ghetto of a foreign country is scary...well it is but your mind doesn't register it nearly as high as walking blind in the dark with only one sense to rely on, your hearing. With the wind being so loud that day there wasn't too much to hear at first until about 5 minutes into my hike and trees and branches started to fall down. It was such a strange feeling barely being able to see more than 10 feet from the headlamp, white noise drowning out my hearing except for the occasional snap of a large branch, and yet after 10 minutes it felt intoxicating. I felt so aware, so alert and so clear minded that instead of turning around I continued onto my 5 mile hike. Since then I have done this about 20 times, sometimes in the morning and most times after sun sets although it is a little more risky because thats when the animals come out, especially in the summer. Last month I saw 2 black bears about a mile apart from each other within the same hour, so I recommend doing this in the morning. If you are at all interested definitely go for it and try it in the morning before the sun rises. It gave me a psychological boost more powerful than anything I have ever done in my entire life.