NOS Mission

Nevada Outdoor School inspires exploration of the natural world, responsible stewardship of our habitat and dedication to community.
This is the spot for us to share stories, fun ideas or general musings. When you aren't in here, we hope to see you out there!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Night Hikes!

Winter can be a bit of a discouraging time for everyone, but especially those of us who want to get outside.  When I was young I could not get enough time playing outside in the snow, but as an adult, I find myself more often choosing to stay inside and enjoy the warmth. I think one of the biggest deterrence of wintertime recreation is the limited daylight. By the time most of us get home from work, the sun has gone down and the temperatures have dropped below freezing.  

Convincing yourself to get outside in the dark is likely going to be the biggest challenge of your wintertime adventure. However, if you can get over that initial hurdle, there are a few things that you can do to increase your comfort level. 

The first and most Obvious is to make sure that you have the appropriate gear. Wearing multiple layers ensures that you will be comfortable in the cold of night, it is important to self-regulate your temperature, you don’t want to get too sweaty on that long uphill only to be damp and cold on the trek down. Shed some of your warmer layers if you feel yourself getting too warm, and take breaks if necessary.  It is also a good idea to bring a thermos of warm drinks to help you warm up or a jet boil to heat some water for tea or cocoa.  Be sure to brink some snacks also, your body burns a lot of energy just keeping you warm. While some folks like to allow their eyes to adjust to the dark, and avoid using a headlamp, I like to use mine earlier rather than later. Having the ability to clearly see what type of terrain you are walking on helps to avoid rolled ankles or worse. 

Hiking in the dark can be intimidating. It is difficult to be as aware of your surroundings.  Personally, I am always more concerned about an encounter with wildlife when Hiking in the dark. Be sure to research what kind of wildlife you might encounter in your area, and what to do in the event that you see them.  Having that knowledge going into your adventure well help you to feel more confident while you are on the trail.  One of the best ways to gain confidence on the trail at night is to do it! The more experience you have navigating a tail in the dark, the more comfortable you will feel doing it. If you are hoping to get your feet wet with a group hike before embarking on a solo adventure, NOS leads evening hikes once a month. These guided hikes are a great way to introduce yourself to night hiking, and even meet a potential hiking buddy. 

Hope to see you out there!

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