Nature can take your breath away in the sunny daylight hours, but have you ever thought about what it looks like under the moonlight? Darkness and mystery is not all that can be found after the setting sun and if you want to see something utterly amazing, here are three places you will not want to miss.
From Washington to Michigan to the border between Tennessee and Kentucky, the phenomenon of bioluminescence can be seen lighting up sea life, insects and mushrooms.
San Juan Island, Washington
Head out onto the glowing waters around San Juan Island and witness the glowing trails that follow your sea kayak. As the bioluminescent plankton are disturbed the water turns a beautiful silvery-blue. To reach San Juan Island and Discovery Sea Kayaking, you’ll want to take the Washington State Ferry from the Anacortes terminal. It can be crowded on weekends and holidays so plan for extra time to wait in line. If the lines are too intimidating, you can always walk on board the ferry. You’ll reach Friday Harbor and be able to get started on your adventure. Launch at Jackson Beach and follow the North Bay shoreline east. After about 300 yards, you can avoid the winds by ducking in the first of several shallow coves to the north. You’ll be able to enjoy more of the breathtaking bioluminescence.
Big South Fork, Tennessee/Kentucky
The deep, winding gorges and natural sandstone bridges bring hikers in the daylight, but fireflies attract visitors during the summer nights. From the Twin Arches trailhead you’ll be able to view the fireflies and their flickering blinks as they light up the sandstone. Along the way you’ll pass the Charit Creek Lodge and, if you call ahead, have the pleasure of enjoying milk and cookies on their porch.
Porcupine Mountains, Michigan
West of Silver City, Michigan the Porcupine Mountains State Park is home to some enchanting fungi. Glowing mushrooms, or foxfire, can be seen on the wet, rotting bark of fallen trees. Along the Pinkerton trailhead you’ll walk through old-growth conifers towards Lake Superior on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Look for downed trees and witness the light blue glow seen from the oxidation of the mushroom’s enzymes.
Source: Backpacker Magazine