Every year, I get very excited for February 20th. Because in Phoenix, this means the sun starts setting after 6 p.m.
And for a professional lady (by position, not personality) like me, this means I get to hike after work.
In the winter months, the sun is sadly setting during my commute home and there’s no realistic chance that I’ll get out on a trail before dark. So I’m limited to weekend hikes only and that is not helping my postpartum body image AT ALL.
But starting at the February 20’s, I can hike every night if I want to!
And you can, too. Here are my tips for getting the most out of evening hikes in the February 20’s (and through the spring).
Start Planning. Circle February 20th on your calendar and spend the next few weeks figuring out which trail(s) will work best for you. Visit them on the weekends so you become familiar with them in advance.
Consider Location. I’ve found that choosing a trailhead that’s close to the workplace (which may not be close to home) is best. This minimizes the drive time while the precious sun is still up.
Don’t Get Crazy. The average hiking rate on a moderate trail for an adult is 2 miles per hour. So don’t get over-ambitious with the mileage because it gets dark quick out there, friends.
Do The Math. Barbara hikes at 2.3 miles per hour. If the sun sets at 6:17 p.m. and Barbara arrives at the trailhead at 5:05 p.m., how many miles can she hike before the sun goes down? (You’ll want to do similar calculations for yourself.)
Get the Gear. When you leave your house in the morning, grab your gear (backpack, hiking clothes, water bottle, and shoes). As soon as you’re off the clock, it’s time to get naked.
Get Naked. Having to change your clothes away from home is the big drawback here. You’re either changing clothes at a workplace bathroom risking spandexed-butt exposure to co-workers or you’re changing clothes in your car at a trailhead risking indecent exposure. Take your pick.
Give It Up. If work runs late and you don’t get out the door in time, abandon your plans. Maybe go for a jog around your neighborhood instead. Hiking in the dark can be dangerous on steep or unfamiliar trails. Don’t get stupid.
Be Safe. I have to say this: Know the trail, pack plenty of water (1L for every 2 miles), and tell someone where you’re hiking.
Don’t know where to go? Leave me a comment, tell me where you work, and I’ll find something for ya.
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