SUU Outdoors hosted a moonlight hike on Feb. 7 as part of their Take a Hike Tuesday series. Students met at the Red Hollow trailhead at 7 p.m. and hiked under the stars for almost two hours.
This event was completely free, as all Tuesday hikes from SUU Outdoors are, although students needed to arrange their own transportation to and from the trailhead.
Red Hollow is a popular hiking and mountain biking trail located east of Southern Utah University, about a mile up the road to Cedar Canyon. During the day, views of Cedar Mountain can be seen from the end of the trail, which converges with several other hikes in the Thunderbird Canyons trail system.
The trail was covered in a layer of snow through which the red southern Utah dirt had turned muddy and slick. Adventurers hiked with caution to ascend 900 feet in elevation gain. They reached a section of the trail called Thor’s Lookout, where they stopped to stargaze before descending the trail. In all, they hiked a total of 3.3 miles.
Those who braved the cold received hot chocolate and donuts from the event organizers when they returned to the trailhead. The group of around 20 students socialized until 9 p.m. before departing.
Student Chloe Copeland participated in this event as her first SUU Outdoors adventure. “I thought the hike was lovely. Everyone was very sweet and welcoming, and I liked that they gave out treats at the end. I would like to go to more SUU Outdoors events,” said Copeland.
Students interested in hiking at night should be cautious and take proper safety measures. Some students brought headlamps to light their path, and everyone dressed for low temperatures, which were descending from 30 degrees by the time the hike began. Proper footwear with tread for the snow is especially essential during winter.
When hiking by themselves, adventurers should make sure to tell someone where they are going and when they will be back. Exploring alone, as well as hiking at night, comes with risks, and adventurers should assess their comfort level and abilities to make decisions that will keep them safe.
For more information about SUU Outdoors trips, including Take a Hike Tuesday events, visit Basecamp in the Sharwan Smith Student Center next to Chick-fil-A or follow the Outdoors Center’s Instagram page for updates.
Story by: Lily Brunson
Photos by: Lily Brunson