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Mars8192
2003-01-28, 20:11
Have not tried it myself yet, but an effective technique for night hiking involves essentially shutting down your central vision by use of a powerful but simple training tool. Modify a baseball cap with an one foot rod that has a glowing bead at the end. Stare at this, and let your peripheral vision do all the work of seeing where you are going. It takes practice to learn this skill but makes walking at night much easier and is reported to dispel anxiety and other negative emotions.

This technique was invented in 1989, and published in Whole Earth Review. The technique is simpler than the technique the ancient used -- stare at a star.

Web sites that refer to this technique include:
http://www.keelynet.com/biology/nitewalk.htm
Original article from Whole Earth Review

http://www.navaching.com/hawkeen/nwalk.html
In depth look at nightwalking

http://www.backpacker.com/article/0,2646,131__1_2,00.html
Article from Backpacker magazine

SGT Rock
2003-01-28, 20:39
I love night hiking. I'll check out the links. Thanks.

Wander Yonder
2003-01-29, 05:45
Fascinating articles, Mars8192.

I am nearsighted and night blind but have excellent peripheral vision. I am wondering if exercises like that would help with my sight problems.

Thanks.

Mars8192
2003-01-29, 22:42
Sharon, it sounds odd that you have good peripheral vision while having bad night vision. Could be you just have fewer working rods.
Can you see anything at night, after a half hour of exposure to darkness? A possible test for night vision is looking at a constellation, say the Little Dipper, and figure out what the dimmest star you can see in that constellation and compare it to an astronomer friend. Every star has a magnitude, and every 2.5 magnitudes difference is equal to a factor of ten change in brightness.

Mars8192
2003-01-29, 22:58
SGT Rock, I would be interested in knowing how much improvement the special hat would have for something like you who is already experienced in night hiking.

I myself am planning to try the technique out for two different modes of travel -- with snowshoes and skis. I am uncertain if the sky will be dark enough in the winter with all the snow on the ground, but I will give it a try.

If I skied using the modified hat this winter, I might be the first person in the world to do so. Hmmm, gotta do it :-) Tough to say if it would be successful since xc skiing is at least twice as fast as walking overall. I am fairly certain that mountain biking without a light, and relying on your peripheral vision is bordering on the impossible, since you ride so fast and get much less feedback from your feet.

Hammock Hanger
2003-02-01, 12:29
It was still black out has I stuck camp and began hiking... then the world would wake. I often ran into bears at that time of day. I would hear the owls say good-bye and the doves say good morning. Then I would be treated to the sunrises... Hammock Hanger