Monday, January 4, 2016

Snow Shoeing Into the Night

Dark slowly falls over the Mill Brook.
Winter is now fully on us with more cold nights in the forecast.  Winter time also means that in order to enjoy the outdoors, most of us will need to snowshoe, cross country ski, or even hike in the dark.  Unless you don't work a typical 8 to 5 job, the only time to get out and enjoy the elements is when it is dark out.  It is hard to be motivated to get outdoors this time of year and for some, fear of being in the dark is enough of a deterrent to dissuade you from going.  I'm hear to say that your missing out and the dark is no reason to be scared.  The same animals, insects, trees, and plants are in the wilderness at night as in the day time.

I enjoy the  rush of overcoming that fear of the dark and exploring the wilderness at night, especially in the winter time.  Sometimes I use a light and others I don't, tt really depends on my mood, the phase of the moon, and the weather.  I always have a flashlight and extra batteries with me.  Well usually, except once when I didn't have the batteries.  That was a rough hike out which resulted in a few scratches to my face and head but I made it.

Tracks across the Bluff during a winter snow shoe outing.
When the snow is on the ground and the moon is full with a clear sky, the woods at night can actually be quite bright.  Typically though on such nights it is really cold and the shadows can play with your mind.  Dress warm and keep your wits about you and the perspective is incredible and it truly is a different perspective every time out, even if you snow shoe the same trail night after night. 

Personally, I like the calm, warmer, nights when there is a light snow falling.  The snow gives a surreal feeling to the night and usually creates a calming sensation because it mutes out the sound of moving branches and other things that might be otherwise easily heard.  For couples, it can be a romantic setting and because of the warmer temperatures you don't mind laying down in the snow and cuddling a little if the mood hits you.  The warm temperatures also make it easier to stay out longer and enjoy more of the night.

Go Outdoors Sussex is hosting regular outings here in Sussex and if you haven't been out with them yet, you should make a date to join them.  I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't yet been out snow shoeing with them so I'm hoping to get out soon.  For those looking to gain experience hiking during the evenings, this is an ideal way to attain that needed experience and possibly meet new friends.

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