If you’ve ever hiked until nighttime, you’d know that hiking in the dark makes you more vulnerable to committing mistakes. As darkness crawls into your trails, you slowly lose visual acuity, leading to poor decision-making. Add to that, the sound of breaking twigs and falling rocks suddenly becomes amplified. As your other senses begin to heighten, you become terrified of the unseen and the unknown. However, night hiking doesn’t have to be a horrifying experience, especially if you carefully planned your trip.
Choose a Safer Hiking Trail
Planning a night hike should start at choosing an appropriate location. Since night hiking puts you at greater risk, you should avoid dangerous spots including those near dense woods and high-current rivers. Instead, hike in open areas with reflective surfaces like sand dunes and meadows. If possible, choose hiking grounds with flat trails so you can avoid tripping along the way. The more familiar you are with the location, the better.
Pack Extra Lights
Let’s face it: not all hikers bother to learn about the lunar cycle, so let’s scratch the idea of hiking near or on a full moon for now. When planning a night hike, always pack extra flashlights, headlights and batteries so you’d be able to clearly see your trails in case you get stuck on a moonless night. Also, bring lighters and matches so you can create a torch in case your battery suddenly runs low.
Hike in Groups
If you’ve ever watched James Franco’s movie, “127 Hours”, you’d definitely understand the dangers of hiking alone. Moral lesson of the story: If hiking in broad daylight doesn’t exempt you from facing the dangers out in your trails, then you should definitely tag along with a group if you plan to go night hiking.
As the saying goes, there is always safety in numbers. Hiking in groups isn’t only fun, but it also offers you an enormous advantage. What if a bear suddenly attacks you? Remember, the bigger your group is, the higher your chances of survival.
Lastly, slow down; you are not in a race. Seize the moment and enjoy the atmosphere. Slowing down doesn’t only help you get the best out of your night hiking experience, but it also gives you the chance to quickly assess your trails and avoid accidents. When you can’t gain visibility, flip on your headlight and evaluate your surroundings. After all, you are better SLOW than sorry.