Alone in a pitch black park
So there are these paved trails in a nearby park that stretch for miles. The trails are covered to the left, right, and above by thick trees and brush. During the Summer I use these to take my walks/jogs because the shade provided by the trees make all of the difference in the world. It is also much more quiet and relaxing because the trees cancel out all of the city noise and I don't have to listen to traffic, or worry about getting run over, etc. During daylight hours it is common to pass somebody else walking/biking/rollerskating/jogging every minute or two.
Well, when the time changed recently I was out taking my walk and didn't take that into account and I found myself in a kind of scary situation. Since I walk for a mile or two and then turn around and head back to my car, I found myself about 20 minutes away from the car and noticed it was getting very dark. And since the trees are so thick, even above, I quickly realized that there was not going to even be any moonlight. I also realized that even though the trails are paved, there are no lights installed anywhere. I also realized I was alone because I hadn't seen anyone else in quite a while.
So I turned around and started heading back to the car at a high rate of speed. I was hoping I could make it back to the car before it became pitch black. After about 10 minutes it had become nearly pitch black. Unfortunately, I had to slow down because I could no longer see where I was going and was afraid I'd run into something. I still had about 10 minutes to go to get back to the car. I actually became quite scared. I really wouldn't have expected myself to panic in a situation like this, but I kept hearing noises from the animals that live in the woods. I don't normally hear that during the daylight. Plus I was never sure if it was an animal or maybe a human lurking around waiting for some idiot like me to come by defenseless. I was walking almost completely blind. I pulled out my cell phone but the screen was just barely enough to allow me to see the concrete 4 or 5 feet ahead of me. I became so anxious that I switched to an open-carry position, just in case I needed to get to my gun more quickly.
Eventually I did make it back to the main area of the park where there were plenty of people and lots of artificial light around.
But this whole incident left me thinking about things for the last few weeks. First of all, the trails have a sign saying they are open to 11:00pm. Even during the Summer time, there will be no light after 9:00pm. So I am wondering if anyone ever walks these trails after dark. If so, what is the best way to go about it? Bring a bright flashlight? A head-mounted light? Night vision goggles? I'm also wondering if anyone believes there would be any danger in walking these trails at night? If so, would the most likely danger be from animals or from people?
Here's a photo I took during the daytime. That's my daughter, she occasionally goes walking with me in the trails. But yeah, the trail just goes for miles and looks pretty much like that the whole way.