Darkness Calls

Stephen Parks and Nelson Zink think people should get out in
nature — in the dark. The Taos, New Mexico, residents are avid
‘nightwalkers’ who believe hiking after twilight is a transcendent
experience.

By keeping your eyes focused on a point in the distance and
letting your attention absorb the surroundings, Zink and Parks say,
you begin to see in a new way and move through the darkest night as
if by magic.

The science behind the phenomenon involves the rods in our eyes,
which function at peak levels in low light and are active when we
utilize peripheral vision. The almost otherworldly visceral
experience, though, results from letting yourself become one with
the night. Being in darkness ‘can be the most relaxing yet
exhilarating experience,’ says Parks in Backpacker
(Sept. 2003). ‘You feel like you belong — like you have the same
powers as other creatures of the night.’

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