Monday, September 13, 2010

Night Hike 1

Upon the arrival of my friend and colleague Chris Chelgren, we decided to quickly setup camp and then head out on an evening hike to hear some of the night sounds. As we thought we had plenty of time before dark (he arrived at 6) we decided to take the chimney rock loop up to inspiration point and then back down the stairs to Trout Run Creek so I could show him what he needed to do with the drums and such. It began to rain a little, but we just got into some rain gear and decided to trek on. Oh, and no flashlights. Very bright.

First we hit Chimney rock and explored the small rocky caves inside of it which looked out through small openings over the valley itself. Then we trudged down Chimney Rock Trail which was much longer than I remembered it and the rain had made certain parts of it quite treacherous, especially since we were without proper light and many parts of the valley had become quite dark.

The crickets that inhabited the corn field overlooking the bluff still seemed to be quiet despite it being night time but after we rounded a corner about two thirds of the way through we were blasted with cricket noise from the left side of the trail even above the sound of wind and rain that was accumulating in the valley.

Finally, just before the whole park went completely black, we hit inspiration point and after carefully scaling the rocks out to the cliff edge I showed Chris the sound of the valley and taught him the calls he would need to do from below to activate its sound. It was really an amazing moment as we could not even clearly make out the exact shape of the valley from the point but could hear all the echoes and reverberations, even above the rain which had died down a bit by this point.

We then scaled carefully down the stairs to Trout Run Creek Trail and then headed up the drive to the nature center by star light. We had to use the light from a cell phone to make it back to our campsite where we feasted on sausages and chips and organic salsa. Roughing it!

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