One evening, two Utah men tried to hike Kings Peak. The men camped one night at Dollar Lake and planned to summit Kings Peak the next night.
Along the way to the peak, the men became too tired to continue. So, they opted to take a shortcut down the mountain.
On the way down, one of the hikers fell down a steep slope. His fellow hiker called 911 to report his friend had fallen and was stuck.
It was cold and there were about 8 inches of snow on the ground. The men were stranded at an elevation of 11,500-feet, making rescue difficult.
A helicopter rescue was chosen as the best solution.
The problem is, helicopters have less power at high elevations, so it wasn’t going to be easy.
The injured hiker was wrapped in coats as he and his friend waited for a helicopter.
At first, the Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter responded to the scene.
But the agency is not able to hoist people at night in complete darkness. It’s not what they are trained to do.
Instead, the Department of Public Safety called in the National Guard to conduct the rescue.
A Black Hawk helicopter responded to help the 22-year-old hiker.
One of the rescuers said, “This guy‘s in a bad spot. He’s hurting pretty bad.”
The pilot told local media, “It was very dark outside. Almost no moonlight or starlight.”
The National Guard was able to administer first aid, then hoist the injured hiker into the helicopter.
They took the injured hiker to a hospital where he was in critical condition after injuring his head and chest in the fall.
“We‘re very proud of their expertise in a very complex and difficult rescue last night, with some risks to their persons in helping this hiker who was injured,” said Utah National Guard Maj. Gen. Burton.
There is no question that the rescue of the hiker was more complicated since it was done at night.
But many people enjoy hiking at night.
It can make your scenery more picturesque and there is no light pollution. You can also take in the view of the stars while hiking by moonlight.
In addition, the weather is often cooler when the sun goes down. If it’s a scorching hot day, it’s usually a better idea to hike at night.
Finally, in a bug out situation, it could be a lot safer to hike at night when you can use the cover of darkness to avoid seeing other people.
And while there are plenty of advantages to hiking at night, there are also more risks when moving at night.
Considering this, here are a few ideas that can help keep you safe when hiking at night.
Use your night vision:
I don’t mean night vision gear. Let your eyes adjust to the darkness.
When you use a flashlight, it can make it harder to see. Of course, in an emergency, you should use all the flashlight you need.
But, when you are hiking at night it’s best to rely on natural light.
In time, you will be able to see better with no flashlight if you give your eyes enough time to adjust.
Depending on the person it can take about 45 minutes for your eyes to adjust.
Use a headlamp:
Now, there could come a time when you have no choice but to use a manmade source of light.
So, you should have a flashlight with you at all times, and more specifically a headlamp.
A headlamp could come in useful if you have to run or move quickly. It’s also good for reading a map or digging through your backpack for something.
Consider brands such as Fenix and Black Diamond, and always remember to pack some extra batteries just in case.
If you are in the market for a new headlamp, consider getting one with a red-light color choice.
Red light is known for longer wavelengths. Your eyes are less sensitive to red light and your natural night vision won’t be as affected by red light.
Before using your red light on a hike, test it out at home in the dark. See how different it is compared to white light.
Hiking at night can mean different wildlife.
For example, you are more likely to see a coyote when hiking at night since they are more active during that time.
Also, many animals are active at night because it’s cooler and there are fewer people in the area.
Do your research on the type of animals in the area you plan to be hiking.
For example, if there are rattlesnakes in the area you need to keep in mind that they don’t sleep at night. You need to make sure not to step on one while hiking.
Also, use your other senses to keep aware of wildlife. Listen for the sounds of animals rustling or hunting nearby.
The reality is that hiking at night can have advantages over hiking in the daytime, but it also presents unique challenges.
These ideas can make your nighttime hike more enjoyable, and can make a huge difference when you are bugging out.