Night hikes – but you would be breaking the cardinal rule of hiking: do not go after dark. Well, that does not apply to moonlight hikes. Promax Adventure and Fitness organizes monthly moonlight hikes for all.
With the season in full swing, night hikes are an excellent solution for enjoying the outdoors while avoiding summer’s scorching heat.
Night hikes take place in areas that offer beautiful views of the city. Since you cannot enjoy the greenery, you can always enjoy the lights from afar. And, if there are no lights around, you are illuminated by the moonlight, which is usually intense enough to guide you through the pathways of the forest. There is no need for headlights.
How does it work?
After safety instructions are given, the hike begins with a stretching session so as to avoid muscle cramps and insure a good cardio workout. Though the walk is not too difficult, it remains a good exercise session for the whole body. The hike takes about 2 to 3 hours, and they usually happen on weekdays. Depending on the size of the group, which sometimes reaches up to 100 participants of all ages, the guides will lead you into the night and help you experience nature in a completely different way than you would have in daylight. Nature never sleeps and is alive night and day, however the inhabitants differ and perhaps you will hear the owl hooting or see a bat hunting. Once the hike is over, there is another stretching session.
Night Hikes Advantages
• Engage your other senses With your vision reduced, your senses of smell and hearing will take on a bigger role and you’ll experience the outdoors in a different way.
• See the night sky Dark skies are nearly impossible to find in most urban areas. By getting out into open space, you’ll have a chance to get away from light pollution in cities.
• Hike all year Hiking on hot days, can be lethal. Then, when days are shorter during late autumn and winter, it can be tough to go out for a hike after work. Night hikes give you the chance to get out on the trail on days when you might otherwise stay home.
Preparing for a night hike
• Wear hiking shoes
• Wear pants rather than shorts to avoid insect bites
• Make sure to pack a light jacket, preferably a wind breaker
• Bring a headlight that will only be used for emergencies
Summer is the season for meteor showers. The AUB astronomy club organizes hikes that include stargazing sessions. This is a perfect opportunity to exercise and learn all about the sky! Along with other astronomy groups, like the Lebanese Astronomy Group that connects sky lovers from all over the country, they organize star gazing trips where you sit, watch the sky and learn all about constellations. Though not exactly hiking, it is nonetheless another way to relax and discover Lebanon from a different angle.
Facebook group – Lebanese Astronomy Group
Camille Attiyeh, fitness consultant and event coordinator for Promax Adventure and Fitness, reveals how great night hikes really are.
“Night hikes are a unique way to experience nature. With only the moon as a guiding light, our eyesight capacity is lowered and hence we have to rely on other senses to discover our surroundings. We do not see the colors, but can guess shapes, feel textures, hear special sounds. Of course, night hikes are an excellent way to relax after a hectic and stressful day in the city, with all its noise and visual pollution. It is a prefect way to get away from it all and recuperate, all the while doing a healthy activity.”
Promax Adventure and Fitness
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One step at a time
Every year, the Broummana Hiking Group organizes a unique hike that highlights the beauty and character of the village, under the patronage of the Municipality of Broummana. For a few hours, locals will guide you through the many stairs of the area where you’ll discover the ins and outs of this picturesque village.
The visit includes 13 stairways with seven upwards and six downwards. All in all, you will be going up 355 steps, down 306 totaling 661 steps for this hike. But, do not let the numbers fool you. This is a very enjoyable walk where you will have fun learning all about the village history and local anecdotes.
” This is a very enjoyable walk where you will have fun learning all about the village history and local anecdotes “
One of the stairways on the program will lead you to Mar Chaaya, the oldest church in Broummana. The most interesting feature of this church is that it was built on an Ethronite fortress dating back to 333 BC. The Ethronites were a group of Arab pirates who were famous for attacking Phoenician ships during Roman era. They slowly gained power and took advantage of the interior problems of the Roman Empire to rule over most of eastern and southern Lebanon. To keep safe they built, among other things, a fortress in Broummana that the Greek Orthodox Christians turned into the Mar Chaaya Church in 1560.
Another of the stairways is known as the cat stairway. Mariam, whose house was on these stairs, was a cook at a hotel. When she left work, she would pack all the leftovers and as she would walk all the way to her house, feeding the cats along the way. Naturally all the cats would follow her to her house, where a feast would be waiting for them. It is said that any villager who could not find their cat, was sure to find it on these steps… it was their favorite hangout.
After the hike, participants and locals gather at the Broummana Stadium, where they are greeted by the head of the municipality of Broummana and offered traditional food and drinks. The evening continues with dances, songs and flowing arak, in true Broummana spirit.
Broummana Hiking Group