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Tips for Safer Hiking to Watch Fireworks (or Stargaze)

Posted by Loren Drummond at Jul 04, 2016 10:10 AM |
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If you're planning to take your Fourth of July fireworks-watching out on trail, you may find yourself hiking home well after dark. A few tips for traveling trails in the dark.

St. Helens at night Angela Service
Nature's fireworks near the Plains of Abraham. Photo by Angela Service.

If you're planning to take your Fourth of July fireworks-watching out on trail, you may find yourself hiking home well after dark. Traveling trails in the dark, even ones you know well, can be a unique experience, and there are a few ways to make it safer and easier:

  • Bring a headlamp or a flashlight for each person in your group.
  • Save your eyes (and your companions) from light blindness by using the red setting on your headlamp or flashlight. If you don't have a red light, simply tape some red saran wrap over the light.
  • Go somewhere you feel comfortable navigating in the dark.
  • Make sure the spot you have picked out doesn't have a gate that closes after dark.
  • Dress warmly and maybe even bring a sleeping bag to tuck into while you watch. This is the time to have the 10 essentials with you.
  • It's not a bad idea to go prepared to spend the night, just in case.
  • Watch out for wildlife, especially underfoot. Most animals will avoid you, especially if you are in a group and talk to announce your presence, but there are a few (like sleeping rattlesnakes In Eastern Washington) you don't want to surprise.

If you are planning to trade in the fireworks displays for nature's star trails instead, these tips will serve you just as well at your stargazing spot.

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