On Tuesday evening’s hike, I overheard a new hiker ask a veteran, “Someone told me you do this series in the winter — in the dark? Is that true?”
Indeed it is, replied the veteran of our winter weekly Tuesday night campaigns. She went on to explain why you would hike at night, in winter, essentially boiling it down to two factors: First, the practical: for most of us, if you want to get in a mid-week hike when all the daylight hours are consumed by work you have little choice but to hike in the dark. And two: it’s a good time. “It’s just a different experience hiking in the dark. It’s fun!”read more
We came to a stop in the narrow clearing accommodating a power line and switched off our headlamps. We’d reached the turnaround point for our weekly Tuesday Night Hike, and as was our habit, we went dark for several minutes. The sun was long gone, having set two hours earlier, and the moon was just starting to think about cresting the eastern horizon. It was dark, really dark, and it took our eyes a minute to adjust. Our psyches, too.read more
We typically wait until the end of Daylight Saving Time to advocate hiking at night, for strapping on a headlamp and venturing down your favorite trails after dark. We’ve long been fans of hiking in night in winter because, for those of us in the workforce, it’s typically the only time we can work in a midweek hike. The sun sets at 5 p.m., before the whistle blows at the Widget Works, who cares? You’ve got a 300-lumen torch strapped to your forehead to light the way.read more
On Sunday, we’ll turn our clocks back one hour as we leave Daylight Saving Time. That means we will no longer have the extra hour of sunlight we’ve enjoyed at day’s end since March 11. On Saturday, sunset in the Raleigh area is at 6:16:44 p.m.; on Sunday, when we switch back to Standard Time, it’s at 5:15:46 p.m. Poof! Just like that.
Here are a few things to keep in mind with the time change:
We have an hour more daylight in the morning. The extra hour is nice if you like to get in a morning run, ride or walk before work. On Saturday, sunrise is at 7:39:30 a.m.; Sunday, it’s 6:40:31 a.m.
Plan your afternoon adventures accordingly. It’s easy to keep thinking, “Ahh, I’ll be done by 6.” But if you’re done at 6 p.m. on Sunday, the sun already set 45 minutes earlier and you’ll be 20 minutes past twilight. It will be dark. Better bring a headlamp.
Don’t despair: it won’t last long. We will only lose another 15 minutes of afternoon sunlight before the tide turns. Though overall daylight keeps diminishing until Dec. 21, the first day of winter, we actually start regaining afternoon sun on Dec. 6. In fact, by the time December is over we will have gained back 10 minutes of afternoon sunlight.
Don’t be afraid of the dark. We love going out at night, especially with the aid of today’s versatile and lightweight headlamps. Every other Tuesday from Nov. 20 through March 5, we’ll be doing a night hike that starts at 7 p.m. We’ll hike different spots around the Triangle, exposing you to some great night hike options. We’ve got loaner headlamps. And, this being GetHiking!, there’s no chance of getting dropped; we lead our hikes from the rear, so nobody gets left in the dark. It’s a great way to get on the trail during winter.
You can put that time to good use. After the holiday hubbub settles, we’ll be doing weeknight seminars on a variety of hiking and backpacking topics. This is an excellent time to start planning what to do when the sunshine returns. Watch for details in early December.
March 10 is only 140 days away. March 10, at 2 a.m. — that’s when Daylight Saving Time returns.