Darkness and the deer hunters

You’d think that I’d be packing a headlamp after writing about night hiking in the the past two blog entries-  But no.
I’ve been hiking some Friday afternoons with my friend Frank for the past few months, and took him up on his invite again yesterday.  He let me pick  the place so I suggested we go up the Highland Path on the west side of Ragged Mountain, from Route 17.

Ragged Route

The light would stay with us for a longer time than if we would be on the east side of the big hills around here.

I forgot that it is an 800’ climb, followed by return on the same steep sections, that the trail would be obscured by a thick layer of fallen leaves, and that taking Jody, the dog, would slow things down a bit.

Ragged Summit panorama, looking west

The view from the top was stunning, as were the illuminated flags of color that still remain on the trees.

Starting up at 3:30 PM, I had neglected to check to see that sunset was at 5:30 PM.  When we rolled back to the lot, it was 6 PM, and dangerously close to dark.  I had a tiny flashlight with me that could have illuminated the path enough for us to get back, but I learned my lesson, and will keep a headlamp with fresh batteries in my day pouch for next time.  Both Frank and I agreed that we humped along at 3.5 MPH on the last mile to make it out in time.  I half-turned my ankle on a hidden rock, and while it didn’t in any way screw up my ankle, it was a reminder that travel outside is changing as we approach Halloween.

Deer hunting season with rifles is officially open tomorrow morning at daybreak.  The woods will not be ours for a while, as it is too dangerous to be wandering around in the backcountry, even wearing a hunter orange vest. The deer hunters get to go outside until the Saturday after Thanksgiving, when it will be safe to roam around back in the far away places again.

At least Sundays are “no hunting” days.

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