Moonlight hiking makes for cool alternative to desert heat

By Leyla Knight

Special to the Arizona Daily Wildcat

Moonlight hiking is becoming increasingly popular, and Tucsonans have better access to trails than most people.

"Trails range from desert to alpine hiking. You could go through five life zones," said John Vaughan, a hiking instructor for Tucson Parks and Recreation.

An almost-full moon provides the most light, said Michael Coltrin, an experienced hiker. He recommends scheduling a hike one or two days before the actual full moon because the sun will not have set completely, giving you "more light to work with."

Coltrin leads hikes for the Southern Arizona Hiking Club, and prefers hiking in the winter.

"This is a desert, and snakes are real," he said. "Rattlesnakes may be out at night in the summertime, but they don't come out at night in the wintertime."

Any kind of hiking needs good maps and a knowledgeable guide.

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