[pct-l] night hiking in the desert

Erik The Black erik at eriktheblack.com
Thu Apr 2 22:10:29 CDT 2009

Night hiking in the desert is wonderful. 

Most of the animals that live in the desert are nocturnal, so the desert is
far more "alive" at night than during the day. It has a different smell,
there are lots of cool noises to listen to like crickets and coyotes and
junebugs and whatnot, and of course it's not a thousand degrees out.

I don't remember having a huge problem with lighting while night hiking. A
lot of the time the moon provided plenty of light to see by. Nothing beats
night hiking with a full moon. Sometimes, on the darker nights I would use a
headlight. I've just got a Petzl Zipka and it always seemed to do the trick.

One thing that sucks about night hiking in the desert is road crossings.
There are lots of jeep roads in the desert that intersect the trail, and
sometimes the trail itself follows a road for a while, so if you aren't
paying attention you can accidentally walk off onto the wrong road at an
intersection, or miss where the trail resumes up after following a road for
a while.

Make sure you have good maps and look at them often when night hiking.

-Erik The Black

Hi Folks,

I'm a late entry into the class of '09.  Looking forward to meeting as 
many of you as possible on the trail.  I've got a fair amount of 
experience hiking in the sierras but very little in the desert.

A was reading a journal that said many were hiking through the night to 
avoid the heat.  I was planning on a siesta and hiking at twilight.  But 
hadn't really considered the need for hiking many hours in the dark.
So is this what most people do?  If so how well is the trail marked in 
these areas.  I was planning on taking only a photon rex, which can be 
bright enough for night hiking on well marked trails, but only has 
enough battery power to do that for a couple hours.  Are most people 
taking larger headlamps for hiking through the night?

Anything else I should be aware of in the desert, besides keeping well 

Thanks for your help,
nia (aka giggles)


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