Sunday, September 14, 2008

Night Hike Dog Mountain, Part 1

Last night I made a night hike of Dog Mountain. This is going on the list of less than wise decisions I've made recently. I consider Dog Mountain to be a walk. A slightly steep and somewhat rocky walk with some exposure. Well, by night it acquires an entirely different and less pleasant persona. I dunno why I felt the need to follow-up on Angels Rest, but I'm going to record my experience in case this bug bites me again. Someone sensible can quote me my own freaked-out impressions to remind me why normal people don't do this kind of thing.

The evening started with an opportunity to sample some superior tequila with some co-workers. A far, far wiser choice that I spurned in favor of this maniacal adventure. The moon was bright in the sky, and I must have caught some form of lunacy to have listened to it's glimmering lies. "I'll show you the path!" it said. "I'll be right over your shoulder, the whole way..."

At least this time, I brought my hydration pack and big stick. And my camera, which doesn't work a DAMN at night, despite awesome lunar lighting. Oh, and my headlamp, an extra flashlight, and some spare batteries! Good idea, that last bit.

This was a pretty moving experience, that I'm going to try and record as a supplement for my own somewhat leaky memory. I'm planning on breaking the actual hiking into two more parts (plus a wrap-up of recent lessons learned) to avoid a novel-length message...

This adventure was terrifying. Everyone has a fear or two. Some people are afraid of heights. Others are scared of insects or snakes. Mine is the dark. Not phobic afraid, just sensibly terrified of the awful things I know are always lurking in the absense of light. I'm pretty sure that when they can genetically engineer people to have cat eyes, I'll consider doing my next night hike so equipped. I already have the cat-like reflexes, so that's no worry.

The basics convey nothing of the actual experience. 3.3 miles up. Started 9:41PM, ended 11:17PM. No headlight. 3.7 miles down. Started 11:43PM, ended 1:12AM. Highbeams on for most of the way.

I got maybe 3 hours of sleep last night between this hike, my nerves, and the morning sun through my window. I'm a wreck. More to come once I've wrapped myself around a largish meal.

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