So I had this crazy idea that doing a night hike on Saturday Night/Sunday Morning would be fun. Saturday evening I told my wife that because of the nice evening and the nearly full moon that I was going to do a night hike to get some nice views. My son immediately piped in that he wanted to go.
At 10:30pm we pulled in to the parking lot for South Moat Mountain (Conway)and started on our way. The trail is eerily quiet at night, but we hoped to see some wildlife along the way. The trail was easy to follow for the first mile and then a little tougher when the trail really started to climb. The open ledges provided some nice views to the South and I was looking forward to making the summit for a more panoramic view.
My son really started getting tired during the climb. Not physically so much as ready for bed. We were making a decent pace in the beginning and had slowed considerably on the climb and it took us until 1:00 to get somewhere just below the summit (We made it to a second very large ledge that must have been close by my reckoning). He lay down during a rest stop and I didn't think he was good for any more climbing. I suggested we head down and he said yes "just after I lay down for a few minutes". This was a problem. We had warm gear, although it was 65 degrees and clear, but I had opted not to bring a tent (curses). Ideally we would have gone off trail, pitched the tent and slept in our clothes (my tent is only 4 pounds!!). Going to the summit just didn't make sense.
So after a Snickers bar (our victory meal for hitting the "summit") we headed down. The ledges were tricky due to some wetness and being tired, but we made our way down and back to the car in about an hour. The last 3/4 of a mile (on the wide easy path), the boy got a shoulder ride from me in an attempt to make the hike not a complete drudge for him and so I would get a good workout despite the slow pace of the night. I told him that the trip down would be faster, but I didn't think we would do it in a hour like we did. He kept a pretty quick pace down most of the way.
All-in-all a decent hike and a reasonable hike plan, but next time I'll make sure that the boy gets a nap.