Throughout the year, many of us find ourselves wandering through the many trails and natural areas that has made Northeast Iowa a destination throughout the Midwest. As a nation that was founded by exploration and a constant need to see what is over the next hill, we oftentimes find ourselves bored and in search of a new area to hike. When time does not allow for the travel to a new area or when a spur of the moment decision leaves us with a time constraint there is an exciting solution to the problem! The solution to the problem almost always allows for solitude on the trail, to hear birds and animals that are not often heard, and to see a forest like only in your imagination. Night hikes have become an answer to a problem that may people often find themselves with.
Why would anyone want to go hiking at night, in the dark when it is impossible to see? This is a question that many people may ask or wonder and there is no easy way to answer this question with words. The answer for this question must come from experience. As you exit the car and prepare yourself for a night hike, changes begin to occur. Much like when you wake up in the middle of the night and stumble into the bedside table, your eyes begin to adjust. They draw in light, light from the stars, moon, and faraway city lights. As your eyes adjust so do your other senses. At night you begin to hear sounds that you may not hear during the day; leaves rustling, trees creaking, and animals howling, chirping, and singing. Hearing unknown sounds in the dark leads your imagination to wonder what could have made it.
For anyone who wants to give night hiking a try, but is still hesitant to go alone the Allamakee County Conservation Board will be offering a “Fullmoon Snowshoe” hike on January 16 at 6 p.m. The hike will take place inside Yellow River State Forest where the night sky will not be impeded by city lights and sounds. If you do not have your own snowshoes they will be available for your use by preregistering with the Allamakee County Conservation Board. Preregistration and more information are available by calling them at 563.586.2996 or by liking them on Facebook!