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Taking my First Steps in the Great Outdoors, Part V

Night Time Isn't So Scary Anymore!

Walking along the trails under the Spanish moss draped trees in the dark of night is not exactly my idea of a great Saturday night, but since I was assigned to a write a blog article on the night hike program at First Landing State Park it was what I had to do.

The park hosts night hikes every Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. So I showed up at the Trail Center at First Landing State Park at 8:30 p.m. on the dot. The park has many other ranger guided programs, click here for a full schedule.

Before our group started down the trails to begin the night hike, I assumed we were going to be trekking through dark, with low hanging branches from trees on a dangerous adventure. My nerves were already on edge when Park Ranger Jennifer Huggins told us that no flashlights were allowed. 

Park Ranger Jennifer Huggins tells everyone to turn of their flashlights for the night hike

Park Ranger Jennifer Huggins told everyone to turn off their flashlights for the night hike
 
The night hike was not scary, not dangerous, and not nerve-wracking.  In fact, it was a great way to find out about nocturnal animals. We began our hike from the Trail Center and stopped occasionally to learn about bats, owls, and frogs. I found it very interesting that there were so many different frog songs other than the classic “ribbit” noise. Some of the frog songs sounded like bird calls. We learned a lot about birds, especially owls.
 
There are many types of owl calls and they are all different: great horned owls, the screech owls, the barred owls, and barn owls. To explain the different calls, the Park Ranger played a few of the calls on her phone, and surprisingly, nearby owls called back to us!
 
Beautiful Barred Owls can be seen (and heard) in many Virginia State Parks
 
Beautiful Barred Owls can be seen (and heard) in many Virginia State Parks
 
Near the end of our hike, our tour guide explained animals’ sense of night vision is very acute and she had an activity to let us try our own natural night vision for ourselves. I was surprised to learn that humans do, in fact, have night vision! Inviting us back for next week’s Night Hike, the Park Ranger noted, “Every Night Hike is different.”  I will definitely return for another late night adventure.
 
First Landing State Park is located on US60/Shore Drive in Virginia Beach. Nestled between the Chesapeake Bay, Broad Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean, the park has a campground, cabins, picnic area, and two visitor center museums.
 
To make an overnight reservation, please call the Virginia State Parks Customer Service Center at 1-800-933-PARK, or click here for more information about the park.


Published: 08/31/2014


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