The convenient thing about the technologically advanced world we live in is that it’s relatively easy to meet people who share common interests. So if you’re like me and have one best friend who lives on the other side of the country and have another best friend nearby who equates hiking and camping with torture, then sometimes you need to find alternative hiking buddies. I belong to a Hiking MeetUp group in my area that I’ve done a few hikes with, including Bells Bend Park, Timberland Park, and the Railroad History Hike in Montgomery Bell State Park. The other night I decided to join them again for the 4.25-mi Full Moon Hike in Edwin Warner Park.
The Full Moon Hike is actually something that this group does every single full moon, and it’s always led by the same man, who also led the group hike in Timberland Park. Both of the Warner Parks (Edwin and Percy) have a combined 12 miles of regular single-track unpaved trails for hiking, 3 miles of paved trails connecting to the nearby Greenway, and almost 9 miles of paved multi-use trails. The Full Moon Hike takes place on one of the paved multi-use trails, which makes it inherently easier to navigate than the single-track ones, without the worry of tripping over roots or rocks and going flying. I went once before during the summer months, but the sun hadn’t really set by the time we got started, so I decided to go again once it was darker earlier outside the get the full effect.
It turned out to be an absolutely wonderful experience! The weather was unusually warm this weekend, so most of us were wearing t-shirts or tank tops with thin jackets. I actually peeled my jacket off halfway through when I began working up a sweat. Also, even though a storm front was slowly moving in, the full moon was still very visible and illuminated parts of the trail, so much so that we were able to turn off our flashlights and headlamps periodically and just hike in the moonlight. More than anything, though, something about hiking in the dark with 50 or so other people was incredibly exhilarating. Not being able to see people felt very freeing in a way – people felt a lot more comfortable mingling and talking to complete strangers, more so than I’ve seen happening at other group hikes.