I enjoyed Transperformance yesterday, as I do every year. It's always inspiring, humbling, funny, loud, and sunny-then-cold. For the first time ever (I think) there was a beer-and-wine table set up. Score. Also for the first time ever, I had the genius plan of driving to a spot near the beginning off the bike path that goes to the venue, and then riding my bike into the park to avoid traffic and parking fees/woes. I am way out of shape, so it took me a while. A couple actually pulled up alongside me, asked me how to get to the park, and biked ahead after I told them, as I gasped for breath. Pathetic.
Anyway, I knew the 'Pills would do an awesome job as the Carpenters, so I decided to stay a little later than I had really considered. Truthfully, I wasn't really thinking that I should leave before it got dark, though I knew it was probably a good idea. Whatever -- I ended up staying until just past dusk - still a very faint glow in the sky, but really, it was pretty damn dark. And I had to bike home, with no headlight or tail-light. I've done short rides at night, on the street where ambient light from streetlamps and such can make it bright as day. But I headed for the bike path. As soon as I turned onto it, I knew I was in trouble. I could only see a few feet in front of me. I slowed way down and in a few seconds my eyes adjusted, and I kept going. The path was maybe one degree less dark than the trees surrounding me. I knew there weren't any big holes in the pavement, or fenceposts, and I could see well enough to keep going straight, and (usually) I could see the edges of the path. As I pedaled I whistled "Close to You" so that any bears or raccoons skulking around would at least have some warning before I plowed into them (and went flying, my helmet-free nogging smashing open on the ground). There were only a couple of moments where I felt the fear creeping in -- but I also knew that if I stopped, and actually turned around, I would get REALLY scared. So I just kept going. It was quiet and I was alone. And it was very dark. Every time I had to cross a street, my eyes would get used to the street light, and I'd have to slow down once I reentered the dark.
The very last section of the path is really really dark, and really really long. It's also often used for foot-travel by hoboes and cracked-out teens and people who have just stolen my sister's purse right out of her living room as she napped upstairs (yes, that really happened; I lived at the end of the path one summer and police sirens screamed past us all the time). I made it, though. I pulled off at about the correct exit, and my car was there.
Today I told my friend at work what I'd done. He lives in the neighborhood there, and he got all serious, saying, "Please don't ever do that again." He walks his dog there daily, and has seen a homeless guy sleeping right on the path, plus numerous beavers crossing the path. His wife won't go there after dark at all, even with the dog and a flashlight. So. I will probably not ever do that again.