The hiking landscape changes radically beginning March 14. Instead of barely making it home from work before sunset, you suddenly have time for an evening adventure, thanks to the extra hour of late-day sunshine granted by the switch to Daylight Saving Time. Better still, your local parks are keen to help with these midweek adventures by extending their hours: instead of closing their gates at 6 p.m., for instance, some N.C. State Parks stay open as late as 9 p.m. Between the extended sunlight, the warming days and the the bursting of spring all around, what’s to keep you from striking out on an after-work outing?
A little trepidation, perhaps? A fear of the unknown?
If that’s the case, our two-part GetHiking! Get Comfortable with an Evening Hike class can help. Here’s how it works:
Zoom session. We start with a one-hour Zoom session in which we go over our basic tips for hiking in The Gloaming, that transitional period when daylight hands off to dark. Among other things, we discuss:
- How to choose a headlamp and how to use it
- Picking the right hike for a night hike
- Listening to your feet (they’re your best guide for keeping on the trail)
- Determining your pace
- Key information to keep in mind (including sunset, the end of civil twilight, when the park where you’re hiking closes)
- The key differences between hiking mid day and late day
- Zoom sessions will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 31 and April 7 and 14. Upon registering, you will be asked for your preferred date and sent an invitation.
An evening hike. Then, armed with this new knowledge of night navigating, we take you on a 2- to 3-mile hike in the waning light of day. You’ll have four hikes to chose from:
- Wednesday, March 31, 6:30 p.m., Umstead State Park, Crabtree Creek Access, Raleigh. 2.8 miles
- Wednesday, April 7, 6:30 p.m., Knight Brown Nature Preserve, Stokesdale (just north of Greensboro). 3 miles
- Wednesday, April 14, 6:30 p.m., Mountains-to-Sea Trail, Day-hike Section G, Raleigh. 3 miles
- Wednesday, April 21, 6:30 p.m., Eno River State Park, Fews Ford Access, Durham. 2.9 miles
In addition to the Zoom session and the hike, you’ll receive:
- GetHiking! Rule the Dark! Tips for Hiking After Dark. A quick two-page guide to hiking without sunlight
- GetHiking! Top 10 Hikes for After-Hours Hiking. Ten hikes in the region that, for a variety of reasons, are great for evening hiking.
- Eguide for the hike you choose, including a custom map, detailed route guide, overview (including a short essay and video) and key details (such as how to get there).
Cost: $65, $95 for couples and families
Each night hike is limited to 7 people. Upon registering, you will be asked your preferred hike date.
Your safety: In addition to limiting the number of people per hike, we observe social distancing on the trail and ask that participants wear masks at the trailhead as we gather to discuss the hike.