Words and Images by Megan Pierce
What is a microadventure?
A microadventure is any time spent out in nature that doesn’t require significant time or travel. It’s something quick and local that you can squeeze into your already busy schedule and a great way to ensure that your work week still involves quality time in nature and some fun.
Benefits of Micro-adventures
- Minimizing Environmental Impacts-Recreating close to home eliminates the need for flights or long drives which minimizes the carbon footprint of your adventures.
- Minimal Costs–Staying close to home, eliminating flights and reducing your gas consumption isn’t just environmentally friendly, it’s also budget friendly. There are lots of microadventures that will get you out in nature and having fun with little to no gear necessary.
- Staying Fit–It’s important to maintain your baseline fitness and all those shorter microadventures add up. Staying active is great for your overall health, minimizes injuries, and helps you stay in shape for bigger adventures.
- Mental Health–Spending time in nature is proven to have significant benefits to your overall mental health. Microadventures let you maximize how often you are able to get outside and reap those benefits leaving you feeling recharged and happy.
- Microadventures are Inclusive–Everyone is capable of going on microadventures, no matter your outdoor experience. Microadventures can be as simple as a walk in the woods, riding your bike on a local rail trail, or renting a kayak or canoe at a nearby park. Anything that gets you out in nature and active counts!
“The key to mastering the microadventure is simple: take every chance you get to get outside.”
My partner Sam always says to me as I struggle to get up for a 4 am alarm to go skiing or wonder out loud if I should pop out for a fast run/hike/bike: “you never regret going”.
In the summer, it’s easy to find daylight to squeeze in some time outside. I typically get up and start work early so I can get out early and make the most of the afternoon. Everyday includes some sort of adventure whether it be a hike, trail run, mountain bike ride, or climb.
However, the winter brings short days and most of us, myself included, start and end work in the dark. To continue staying active and getting outside you either need to escape for a quick lunch time excursion, utilize any schedule flexibility your work may offer, or be prepared to grab your headlamp for some adventures in the dark. When I am able to fit in a quick adventure during lunch I default to hiking or cross country skiing the trails near my home or office. After work offers much of the same via headlamps, or a visit to my local ski touring center that lights up a loop using lanterns on Tuesdays and Thursdays nights for cross country skiing. The most difficult winter microadventures, but by far my favorite, are the days that I shift my work schedule later to get some early morning laps skinning at my local resort or some smaller backcountry spots. It means leaving my house at 4:30 to hit the road, driving to the mountain, gearing up, and skinning as many laps as I can up the 1000’ high ski hill before the lift turns at 9. After I’ve gotten my last lap in I throw my stuff in my car , drive home and log on to start work by 10. Logging online for work later means working later hours or using a bit of vacation time, but these days leave me smiling ear to ear.
It can be hard to muster up the energy to get up at 4am, especially when conditions are less than ideal, but nothing makes me more committed than having plans with someone. As I start the skin up by headlamp, watching my breath in the cold winter air I can’t tell you how many times I have said to a friend, “Thanks for coming. If you weren’t here, I may have bailed”. I frequently hear back “Me too, I’m glad we made it out”.
Sam isn’t wrong; I never regret getting outside for a microadventure and you won’t either! So set the extra early alarm, sneak in a quick lunch time trip, afterwork adventure, or break out your head lamp because it’s always worth it.
Meg is an environmental engineer from New England who loves being outside and on the go. She is an avid skiier, hiker, rock climber, mountain biker, and boater who brings lots of energy and enthusiasm to her adventures. Meg is passionate about encouraging, enabling, and expanding access for everyone to participate in outdoor recreation.