Take back the night

Night hike.

Alan and I were overdue for an epic ride. During the early summer we’d done a handful of 4- to 5-hour rides at Umstead, Lake Crabtree and adjoining single track networks that will go unnamed for fear of prosecution for trespassing. But since July — or specifically since I’d done ORAMM and no longer had the incentive to put in long hours in the saddle — our longest ride had barely topped 2 hours. So we were overdue, we realized last week, but we were also short on after work daylight.

No problem, Alan said. Let’s break out the headlamps.

This time of year, with the passing of Daylight Savings Time, I get the urge to go all Medieval, break out the torches and roam the countryside. Only it ain’t a monster I’m looking to vanquish. Rather, it’s the monster of inactivity I’m looking to do in. Be it mountain biking by the massive flare of my 1200 lumen helmet-mount light or the more cozy, though still effective, glow of my 90 lumen Black Diamond headlamp for hiking it might as well be high noon in the High Sierra

I’ve written a good deal over the years about getting out and exploring at night. And since I’d rather get out at night and do something than rewrite what I’ve written about before, I’ll just direct you to those previous articles. Here’s hoping you’re inspired to see your day end long after 6 p.m.

Mountain biking

Since we’re already on the topic of mountain biking, let’s start there. An elaboration on why riding a bike through the forest at night is safe and scenes from a 24-hour race that runs through the night.


One of my favorite times to take a long hike? In the dark of night. A 3- to 4-hour walk in the woods after the sun goes down can be aerobically aurally stimulating. Some tips on making a safe night of it.

Neighborhood walk

Spooked by the idea of hiking in the dark with … who-knows-what that might be out there with you? Join the masses who bundle up and walk their neighborhoods in the dark.


Of course, you can’t stay out every night. Which is why I find myself spending considerably more time at the climbing gym during the winter than at other times of the year.

Need more incentive?

Another reason not to taper off when the weather turns cold? It’s bad for your hrealth.  According to the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State’s North Carolina Research Campus people who don’t exercise in the winder are more likely to catch cold.

Last year, when I originally foisted this repackaging of past posts upon you, I noticed one big omission: Nary a mention of paddling at night. I’ve mentioned guided paddles that occur at night, but nothing reflecting the experience personally. I’ve paddled at night: I still have vivid memories of being part of a flotilla that paddled to a remote part of Falls Lake one cold November night to watch a meteor shower. But that was years ago, and I can’t find a report on the event. And if that was the last time I’ve had a paddle in my hands in the dark (it was in the mid-1990s), that’s too long a time to go between night paddles.

Last year I vowed to remedy the situation. The vow still stands. Hopefully it will happen this month.

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