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Programbo
12-15-2006, 00:16
Has anyone else ever tried any night time hiking?.....On a night when the leaves have already fallen and there is a nice full moon you can actually see fairly well once your eyes adjust to the dark..Of course rocks can be tricky with the shadows....But with the current level of night vision goggles I bet someone could hike the whole trail at night..Now THAT would be an interesting hike

rafe
12-15-2006, 00:28
Lots of folks do it, but it's not my cuppa tea. I scare myself with my own shadows!

TJ aka Teej
12-15-2006, 00:33
But with the current level of night vision goggles I bet someone could hike the whole trail at night...
They'd need to come down in weight a few pounds first!
My 'night' hiking is mostly done very early in the morning. I love starting out three hours or so before daybreak as the forest wakes up.

early to bed & early to rise!

rafe
12-15-2006, 00:35
I love starting out three hours or so before daybreak as the forest wakes up.


Doncha just love the feel of spider webs across your face... ;)

Jim Adams
12-15-2006, 00:35
in 1990 I hiked 239 miles of my thru hike at night. I found it a little more on the edge than daytime and I enjoyed it however I stopped in Pa. because I was seeing too many snakes lying on the edges of the trail hunting the small critters running on the trail at night.

rafe
12-15-2006, 00:38
in 1990 I hiked 239 miles of my thru hike at night. I found it a little more on the edge than daytime and I enjoyed it however I stopped in Pa. because I was seeing too many snakes lying on the edges of the trail hunting the small critters running on the trail at night.


Indeed, I remember when you stumbled into our shelter (Sassafras Gap? -- just north of NOC) well after dark. You didn't stay. I walked past your tent early the next morning, pitched right on the trail. You were still in it. Your bear bag was hanging about chest high of some tiny sapling. LOL. :D

rafe
12-15-2006, 00:45
Oops, sorry, Geek. It wasn't you. It was Mule. The date was 4/17/90.

Jim Adams
12-15-2006, 00:51
yeah, Mule stopped!

RAT
12-15-2006, 01:14
On my `91 hike (SOBO) I nighthiked alot of the Smokies since it was late Oct, indian summer with a near full moon. Was awesome, got to see alot of wildlife wouldnt have seen otherwise and hardly ever needed a flashlight. I have been on alot of work trips where we had to hike out in the dark as well, nothing to it, I enjoy it and would recommend it to anyone who is able. Night vision goggles I am not sure of, that would reveal all the things lurking out there looking back at you that you may not want to see, lol

RAT

minnesotasmith
12-15-2006, 03:08
I would say that cliff faces, rock escarpments, and boulder fields are bad, bad places to nighthike. Fields of ankle-busters/foot-pokers or bog bridges of uncertain condition over deep bogs aren't much wiser to NH in. This all goes double for wet conditions. That means that IMO that most of the White Mtns. and Maine, and much of the northern half of PA are best hiked during daylight only.

Cuppa Joe
12-15-2006, 03:54
Night hiking is a blast ... Maybe not "all night" night hiking but hiking few a few hours after sunset was always a lot of fun. Gypsy Lulu and I night hiked after Smart's Mountain in Maine as we headed toward Hexacuba Shelter. (That was all Blister Sisters fault for giving us a ride back into Hanover for lunch :) We came across an overlook where we turned off the headlamps and started in awe at the night sky and the lights twinkling in the valley below.

I have also night hiked the Stairway to Heaven area before Waynesboro, the section of the Wildcats before Imp, I think it is Imp .. The last fee camp area in the Whites and this last summer Touk, Clearwater, Jay and I did some night hiking on the Long Trail.

It is fun because your world shrinks to the light of the headlamp. Go slow and stop every now and again and turn off the light .. Night skies without light are tremendous!

minnesotasmith
12-15-2006, 04:02
Night hiking is a blast ... Maybe not "all night" night hiking but hiking few a few hours after sunset was always a lot of fun. Gypsy Lulu and I night hiked after Smart's Mountain in Maine as we headed toward Hexacuba Shelter. (That was all Blister Sisters fault for giving us a ride back into Hanover for lunch :) We came across an overlook where we turned off the headlamps and started in awe at the night sky and the lights twinkling in the valley below.

I have also night hiked the Stairway to Heaven area before Waynesboro, the section of the Wildcats before Imp, I think it is Imp .. The last fee camp area in the Whites and this last summer Touk, Clearwater, Jay and I did some night hiking on the Long Trail.

It is fun because your world shrinks to the light of the headlamp. Go slow and stop every now and again and turn off the light .. Night skies without light are tremendous!

Did you hike the steeo descent just north of North Carter Mtn., or are you talking about the ridge walk in the Whites just before the first self-service AMC hut (Carter Notch, I think it was)? The second was doable, the first not so at all IMO.

Blue Jay
12-15-2006, 04:11
Doncha just love the feel of spider webs across your face... ;)

Actually spider web mixed with sweat is the perfect face cream. I am 463 years old and have no wrinkles.

refreeman
12-15-2006, 04:45
Stepping on snakes while night hiking sucks! With my Black Diamond diode headlamp I hiked more miles at night than Iíd ever enjoy. However, if you do choose to night hike, DO NOT hike with out a headlamp or flash light. A headlampís weight and extra batteries are well worth it, so donít ever not have one to save weight. One hike I thought Iíd not take a headlamp to save weight, thatís how I broke my foot. An anterior process fractures of the calcaneus and torn ligament, it is now my little pain for life

If the moon is out, sure hike in the moon light, but always have the headlamp as a backup. Falling with a pack on while night hiking can make you want to or even have to leave the trail. The one cool and very creepy thing about night hiking with a headlamp is when you glance off trail to your right or left and see the glow of eyes watching you. And as you continue to walk the eyes follow your every move. Then you get to play the ever popular ď*** was thatĒ guessing game. And then when you hear it walk you will want to see what direction it is moving, away from you or towards you. So do you stop and watch the glowing eyes advance or resume walking and keep the beastie off your back? Big smile, ya Iíve been there, and yes you guessed it, I night hike if I have to, but I donít like it.

stumpknocker
12-15-2006, 06:27
They'd need to come down in weight a few pounds first!
My 'night' hiking is mostly done very early in the morning. I love starting out three hours or so before daybreak as the forest wakes up.

early to bed & early to rise!

I agree....I just don't get up quite as early.....I start walking maybe an hour before sunrise. I also like walking till about an hour after sunset.

I get to watch the forest wake up and go to sleep....the two most beautiful parts of the day on the Trail for me. :)

You get to see more animals at those times too.

You also get to see some awesome sunrises and sunsets while your walking. :sun

I find myself walking those hours more in the winter though...maybe because there's only about 10 hours of daylight then.

Chip
12-15-2006, 07:10
Section hiking over the balds just past Roan Mtn. last year at night and with a couple of inches of snow and mud was tricky, in high winds too ! Used a headlamp and flashlight. Going downhill meant watching every step.
:)

fiddlehead
12-15-2006, 08:15
Being on the trail before dawn and after sunset well into the hour of dark (either way) is the BEST time to be out there. The animals are out, the alpen glow when it is shining is really cool, and you see the sky often puttin on an amazing slideshow. Plus the trail is usually quite free of people as most of them will be in their tents or shelter at this time writing their journals or reading their Steinbeck novel. (things they could do anytime, anywhere but are using up the best time of day and missing the real show)
As for hiking in the middle of the night, i have done it and will again but it is not my favorite time to hike. (i do sleep sometimes)
I get a kick out of people who say we hike too fast and don't see anything yet we pass them in their tents with their headlights on, reading a book when the best sunset of the year is going on around them.
By the way, i heard there was a great meteor shower 2 nights ago, around midnight, but here in PA, we had the thickest fog I've seen in a long time. Did anyone catch it?

rafe
12-15-2006, 08:21
I have also night hiked the Stairway to Heaven area before Waynesboro, the section of the Wildcats before Imp, I think it is Imp .. The last fee camp area in the Whites and this last summer Touk, Clearwater, Jay and I did some night hiking on the Long Trail.

Lessee... the last fee camp (ie. AMC camp) would be Speck Pond, three three days north of Imp shelter.

The north face of North Carter -- just south of Imp shelter -- is a sonofab*tch. I think I'd die trying going up or down that one at night.

There are one or two flat, gentle miles on the Carter/Moriah ridge. Imp Shelter to Rattle River trail might work. And the lower part of the Rattle River trail (just south of Rte. 2) might also work.

Big Dawg
12-15-2006, 10:47
I love night hiking, especially when most/all leaves have fallen & the moon is bright. That way you can hike w/o a headlamp. I probably wouldn't night hike in precarious areas, such as steep ledges, etc.

Below is a night hike starting at Allen Gap heading south towards Hot Springs. We hiked 3+ miles to the shelter (forget the name). We just happened to arrive for a section hike in the evening, and was dropped off at Allen Gap after dark. Had a blast!!!

weary
12-15-2006, 11:59
When we were kids, camping all summer at Dolly Copp, five miles outside of Gorham, NH, we frequently left at midnight on full moon nights to climb Mt. Washington so we could watch the sunrise. We rarely used flashlights because they destroy your night vision for everything outside the range of the beam.

Weary

Nightwalker
12-15-2006, 12:03
yeah, Mule stopped!

That's alright. I've hiked more miles than most of you sissies*, and I've never done a thru. Probably never will, but I do 1000+ miles almost every year. Most seem to do "their hike" and then quit forever. How incomprehensible!

Hey, at least you've got a for-sure 4350 miles. That's more than most. :)

________________________________________

*For those humor-retarded among you. >>>> :)

Nightwalker
12-15-2006, 12:05
Actually spider web mixed with sweat is the perfect face cream. I am 463 years old and have no wrinkles.

That hyperbaric chamber probably helped a little, too.

Nightwalker
12-15-2006, 12:07
I agree....I just don't get up quite as early.....I start walking maybe an hour before sunrise. I also like walking till about an hour after sunset.

I like to do about five miles after dark this time of year.

Hint to self for future group hikes: make sure that your companions know about your messed-up body clock. :)

Footslogger
12-15-2006, 12:08
[quote=Programbo;285926]Has anyone else ever tried any night time hiking?.....On a night when the leaves have already fallen and there is a nice full moon you can actually see fairly well once your eyes adjust to the dark.

==================================

Closest I came to that was getting up really early (3 - 4 AM) and hiking. It was enjoyable watching the woods wake up and come alive. Tell you this though ...most of my more alarming animal encounters ocurred when I was hiking in the dark. Just something about the combination of darkness and strange noises ...

I did my share of night hiking on patrol in the service (1968 - 1971). Still feel at times as if I need to look over my shoulder and every once in a while and I's want to have a twilight scope handy.

Truthfully though ...after putting in 12 - 15 miles of hiking during the day this bod needs some dinner and downtime.

'Slogger

rafe
12-15-2006, 12:10
Most seem to do "their hike" and then quit forever. How incomprehensible

Indeed. I "failed" at my thru, but never lost my love of hiking. I've come back from sections feeling beat and miserable, but within days would be raring to do it again. Win some, lose some...

Hammerhead
12-15-2006, 12:37
As far as night vision goggles go, they are pretty cool but they have a major downside (besides weight): when using them, you have very little depth perception. When I was a 19D Scout in the Army we had to drive our Hummers with them on, while it was fun, it was a real pain in the arse!

weary
12-15-2006, 12:45
Indeed. I "failed" at my thru, but never lost my love of hiking. I've come back from sections feeling beat and miserable, but within days would be raring to do it again. Win some, lose some...
Memory is strange. After 12 hours of fighting brush and steep trails on the partial bushwhack between Center Traveler and North Traveler at the north end of Baxter Park I vowed never to do that again -- only to find myself three days later doing the walk again. Someone new showed up at South Branch Ponds wanting a guide. Withour a second thought I volunteered. I now dream of doing the bushwhack once more.

Weary

Fiddleback
12-15-2006, 13:29
Early in my backpacking I got a different perspective of night 'hiking'. Back in the 60's, I got my start in backpacking with the Scouts and my troop did a lot of time on the AT in the VA/MD/PA area. One of my buddies turned out to be a sleep walker and there was more than once we caught him heading down the trail at night...

Now, that was spooky!:eek: (but he made Eagle:) )

FB

freefall
12-15-2006, 14:07
I night hike quite a bit, usually w/o headlamp on ( but accessible). 15-20 minutes into it and I see just fine.

Lone Wolf
12-15-2006, 14:11
Indeed. I "failed" at my thru, but never lost my love of hiking. I've come back from sections feeling beat and miserable, but within days would be raring to do it again. Win some, lose some...

I quit in Gorham my first thru-hike. I was done hiking. Had enuf.

rafe
12-15-2006, 14:25
I quit in Gorham my first thru-hike. I was done hiking. Had enuf.


You told me that when we first met, Wolf. It was mind-boggling to me at the time.... well, actually, it still is. You'd done all sorts of miles, but seemed completely dismissive of hiking "thru." You're an odd one -- which is what I like about you.

Nightwalker
12-15-2006, 14:37
I quit in Gorham my first thru-hike. I was done hiking. Had enuf.

Yeah, and you've got about 3 times the miles that I have. Cool. :cool:

mythicyeti
12-16-2006, 13:46
I love night hiking and I completely agree that you should have a headlamp at the ready at all times. I use a led headlamp that has a red light option. The red light dosen't schmuck with your own night vision making it eeasier to transition between using the headlamp and going natural. Night hiking is just a completely different experience. Try it slackpacking sometime.

Nean
12-16-2006, 15:38
I love night hiking, especially when most/all leaves have fallen & the moon is bright. That way you can hike w/o a headlamp. I probably wouldn't night hike in precarious areas, such as steep ledges, etc.

Below is a night hike starting at Allen Gap heading south towards Hot Springs. We hiked 3+ miles to the shelter (forget the name). We just happened to arrive for a section hike in the evening, and was dropped off at Allen Gap after dark. Had a blast!!!

Spring Mtn. is the name of that old CCC shelter.

One of my favorite memories was night hiking in a full moon after a bear scared me out of camp. As the sun dawned I was casting 2 shadows for a couple of minutes. Reminded me of those pictures I saw of those guys on the moon.:rolleyes:

Big Dawg
12-16-2006, 15:56
Spring Mtn. is the name of that old CCC shelter.

One of my favorite memories was night hiking in a full moon after a bear scared me out of camp. As the sun dawned I was casting 2 shadows for a couple of minutes. Reminded me of those pictures I saw of those guys on the moon.:rolleyes:

Ahh yes,, Spring Mtn shelter (I was too lazy to look it up).

chknfngrs
12-16-2006, 16:15
I night hike as often as I can. A completely different perspective is added to the landscape....especially when you see the reflective tags hunters add to trees. My favorite is to remove them and make a smiley face with them. anyone else?

hobbit
12-16-2006, 19:28
why would you remove them?
just seems a little disrespectful when hunters are a major reason that there are still animals on the trail to see...

rafe
12-16-2006, 21:11
why would you remove them?
just seems a little disrespectful when hunters are a major reason that there are still animals on the trail to see...


Really? The hunters put all those squirrels and grouse and hawks and snakes and skunks and racoons and porcupines and wild turkeys there? Wow. Who knew?

the goat
12-16-2006, 21:40
i did a lot of night hiking too, especially in nc/tn/va, it's cool to mix things up a bit.

it usually starts for me by being lazy & staying in the sleeping bag all day, then eating dinner & headin' out. once i start, i find it hard to stop the cycle.

i remember night hiking w/ a buddy in '01, and we thought some friends ahead of us were at the next shelter. we stopped just up the hill from the shelter at 4a.m. & had a coupla smokes, he cooked & ate dinner, i ate dinner, we had some bourbon & then brushed our teeth. we then packed up all of our stuff and politely, and quietly, crept down to the shelter only to find it empty!

chknfngrs
12-18-2006, 19:49
I thought hunters shot/killed those things...

Green Bean
12-19-2006, 22:35
Hiking in the moon light is a whole different experience of hiking. THings are very different. you still got the wood scene but you really cant see it that well so you just image what it may look like. which is kinda cool at times when youve been in the woods for awhile to change things up a little bit and it also seems that the woods come alive at night. I duno I prefer hiking during the sun light/day but I suggest to everybody to atleast try out a night or two of night hiking. ~GB

Tankerhoosen
12-20-2006, 19:51
I did a bit of a night hike over labor day in the Bigelow Range in Maine, got to the trail head after a 5 hr drive and hiked up to the campsite at night, only fell off the trail once, didnt hurt myself thankfully. It was nice though, a 1/2 hr into the hike the coyote's started up. Took me longer than expected, but that could have been my fatness as well ;)

rockrat
12-21-2006, 00:09
I did it from the Massie Gap parking lot to Thomas Knob a couple years back. It got so foggy in the last mile that we had to pull out a GPS and hike IFR to the shelter.