Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Night Freehiking

The following individuals share a wonderful approach to freehiking - doing it at might, especially when the moon is full. This I've never done. I've got to try it! It sounds so lovely.

I suspect freehiking is different in the desert at night. Scary?

I'm going to talk to PJ about a night freehike, and will report it after we go.

Has anyone else experienced night freehiking?


". . . I set out just before midnight, the temperature was standing at 28 degrees and the sky was absolutely clear. I set out wearing just shoes, kilt, sweater, and wool cap. . . I waited till I was well down the trail and into the woods. . . in the Blue Hills reservation . . . After crossing the bridge, being plenty warm at this point, I took off the sweater and kilt, and continued the remaining 1/3 of a mile to the camp in natural form. With the highway behind me, its rumble muffled by the deep woods, I began to experience a profound quite. . . The moon was indeed bright and large, creating an intensity of light and shadow through the stark, utterly naked forest landscape, . . the cold, though surprisingly comfortable in the stillness, was a limiting factor to this endeavor. By the time I got to the camp, I was ready for the sweater and kilt. . . I wandered down to the pond and sat on the dock for a while, admiring the moonlit water vista before me. There were some ducks quacking out across the water, the first and only animal life that I observed. The moon above reflected perfectly on the surface of the water beside me, and all around the still pond, the reflected forms of the trees hugging the shore. After I was sufficiently warmed, I got up and . . . again took off my things, and enjoyed another 1/3 of mile unencumbered walk through the brilliant stillness. . . Not surprisingly, there were not that many stars to be seen. The light from this unusually brilliant moon pretty much washed out the rest of the sky. . . with the bridge a ways behind me, I decided to put my things back on for the final time. Again, the cold was sneaking up on me, and I had had a better hike than I could have hoped for." - FreewalkerMA

". . . last night as I ventured out on my first Moon-the-Moon hike in, of all places......Two Moon Park! . . . [I] arrived shortly before 9:30. . . I had the whole 150 acres to myself! The temperature was 46 and the full moon had cleared the storm clouds lying on the horizon. I couldn't believe my luck. . . At the first corner, sheltered from the breeze, I gazed out over the vista below me and removed my garments. The moon blazed through a light cloud cover, creating a thin corona of spectral light and reflected off the meandering river below. . . I chose the Rocke Juene trail which closely borders the river and traverses through several open meadows and wetlands, dotted with naked cottonwoods, box elders and russian olives. The twisted naked branches of the trees stood in stark relief against the hazy sky and a few stars peeked around the lingering clouds. I recognized most of Orion, but the other constellations were too incomplete to discern. The sound of crunching gravel slowly gave way to soft, muffled foot steps on decaying deciduous leaves. The moon reflecting off the glass surface of a stagnant side channel revealed perfect silhouettes of five deer staring at me on the opposite bank, although their coloring blended perfectly into the background when viewed directly. I wondered if my naked body could be easily viewed by them or if I blended into the dried grasses behind me.

An easily-recognized fallen log, stripped of it's bark and almost shining in the light was the perfect landmark for stowing my clothes. I continued down the trail with only a flashlight (which I never did turn on the whole trip). . . I startled a couple deer, which took off skipping through the grass. A large splash off to my right startled me and I began wondering if I were truly alone until I heard the distinctive honk of a Canada goose. The raspy quack of a male mallard further allayed my isolation concerns. The moon perfectly illuminated the trail, revealing the ruts from several mountain bikes and alerting me to the darker, muddier areas. . . The trail ends at the Weeping Wall, natural seepage of groundwater which oozes from the sandstone bluffs and collects in a small stream that trickles into the Yellowstone. . . I turned around . . . My clothes-stashing log didn't fail me and I easily retrieved my garments, although I refused to put them on just yet. . . I was protected from the breeze and began wondering how far I could make it before I needed to dress. My answer arrived when I rounded the last corner and was hit with an icy blast of unforgiving wind. I retreated a few steps and eagerly put on my jacket and then the kilt. Even though I was externally cold, I was internally gleeful that I had been able to hike nude for over an hour in a very popular park right on the border of the city. A full-moon, winter hike," - Au Naturel

"We're a couple from southern VA. We did get in a hike yesterday afternoon. Have done a couple short naked hikes at twilight and early evening, but this time we kept on the bottoms and boots. Our hike was basically cross-country through some nice 50+ year hardwoods off of an abandoned trail. Once safely away from the parking area and a nearby trail, we followed a large stream and were able to enjoy our freedom. We ended up on a fire break for the last 1/2 mile or so that took us back to the car. 2-1/2 miles total. We then drove to our little retreat near Boydton, VA where we feel more free about stripping completely. Enjoyed several hours listening to the song birds, a Barred owl, and watching the squirrels. . . next full Moon we're going back to do a full-fledged-full-Moon-full-moon!" - VA Bare Couple


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