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—Jeff Long Photography

Night Vision

A look at Longs Peak by moonlight.

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The 15-mile round-trip hike up Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park is daunting enough by daylight (just a fraction of those who start the trip manage to summit). But trekking the 14,259-foot behemoth by moonlight—and summiting at sunrise—is an even more adventurous, otherworldly experience. You’ll need between 10 and 15 hours, warm layers, a headlamp (or three), and a set of hiking poles to have a shot at seeing the Milky Way’s swirling constellations or the Diamond wall turned into a golden drive-in movie screen by the moon. If your skills—or nerves—aren’t quite ready for such high-octane nocturnal excursions, fear not. You can still glimpse the vibrant scenes that emerge after the sunlight fades in Jeff Long’s photography project and upcoming book The Night Mountain, a collection of nighttime panoramas of mountains and deserts around the world, due out late 2015. Over the past six years, the veteran Boulder photographer and writer has climbed Longs on more than 45 nights, capturing, as he puts it, “a dark ecosystem of slowed time, half-glimpsed animals, and stars as sharp as needles.”

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