I absolutely love nature. I love finding spots where man hasn't messed up the landscape and filled the air with noise and smog. For me hiking into remote regions is like taking a time machine back into an earlier America, at least the closest I'm able to be. If you really like nature and have hiked out most of local trails I offer you another opportunity to see nature like most haven't: at night.
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The vibe of the forest completely flips when you quietly pace through the night. Sound becomes an absolute currency among the predators and prey. Diurnal species bed down and hide until dawn breaks and the nocturnal crowd climbs out of the den to forage and survive. Third shifters roll in and the active species of the time completely flips. The inquisitive call of the barred owl, the howl of the coyotes evening kill, the stillness of the pines, you lose yourself into a sort of deafening silence cracked every once in awhile with sounds of communication from the third shifters. Heres how to scope out the night scene farther away from any neon lights as possible.
Don't use a light
- You should choosing the trail here that you have hiked at least a handful of times.
- Also check to make sure the trail is open to night hikes, (some will ban hiking at night) but most state parks you can fully hike at any time of day here in Ohio. As you make your way along the trail you want to be able to stay on the trail and not wander off a cliff...
- Bring a small light in case you really need it. (resist it though)
Believe it or not humans don't have terrible night vision, most just don't ever experience it. Once you allow your eyes to adjust for 20-25 minutes you will be surprised at your visual capabilities, the trail bounces moonlight back to your eyes and you can actually see where you're going. Another idea to fully take advantage of the night hike is plan them nearest the full moon lunar phase; more light as well as animal activity.
The real treat
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Everyone has gone a hike but your seeing only half the picture. Despite what most say traveling into a wild place without our number one sense in command is intimidating, but adventurous. If you want to really know wildlife then don't discriminate; get out and experience the wild at night, it's a treat you won't forget.
If you've got advice or a story to share (or even some cool pictures) share them down below!