Here are some common mistakes in night trekking;
1. Diverging off the trail – because trails become very indistinct at night, it is very easy to lose the trail. Our team travels with a little distance (about 20 feet) on the these trails. If it is a marked or blazed trail – if you feel nervous about losing the trail, call out “last mark”. Everyone looks for the last mark.
2. Heading for the light – I’ve seen many teams do this, they see lights from another team and immediately start walking towards them. Most of the time the team they are going towards is on another control or simply lost – and now you are lost too. Stick with your plan and race your race. (It is very hard to avoid the temptation on this one).
3. Single set of eyes – At night the team needs to help the navigator look for features (and the navigator need to let them know what they are looking for). The reason is very simple. The navigator will be looking up and down at the map. Every time they shine the bright light on the map, they destroy their night vision and ability to see terrain features. Odds are they will miss it simply because of this fact. Involve all sets of eyes in looking for features.
4. Fading in and out – In long races most teams make huge errors at night while racing because they simply “fade out” and go into zombie mode. When a team-mate starts mumbling “brains, brains…” they may have become a zombie and you may need help get the team awake.