When I can’t get out on long epics, Microadventures sustain me. They keep me motivated in my 9 to 5 lifestyle – they’re something to look forward to and, upon returning, something which continues to keep me at peace in everyday life. So, here’s a microsalute to microadventures.
The ritual begins long before stepping forth upon the trail. The researching, the mapping, the calculating. The buying of food, the filling of water, the gathering of gear. The checking and rechecking of the packing list and guidebook.
The early alarm, hours before you normally arise. The thumping of the snooze button. The grumble of some profanity as you actually get up. The brewing of coffee, the loading of the car, the selection of music, the pinpointing of the destination. The dawn drive, the coffee swigs, the shoveling of breakfast. The parking of the car, the unloading of gear, the early-morning shivers.
The first steps onto the trail, achy and unfamiliar. The soulful warming as the sun creeps over the mountain and your legs regain confidence. The morning light, all brilliant and pure, like the first morning of the Holocene. The sweat on the brow, the burning of muscles. The cool mountain air entering the lungs, the rhythm of breath and footsteps.
The liberation of dropping pack at a midday break. The lying down in some shaded dirt – as good a bed as any. The gorp you’ve had a hundred times, the pondering over the guidebook, perhaps the indulgence in a state-approved liberty.
The post-break stiffness, the creaking of joints, the reentrance into the heat. The freedom of wandering, the bliss of the wild. The fascination in your surroundings, the innate feeling that you belong. The peace and reconnection. The push of another damn uphill, the relief of descent. The balance of it all.
The heavy legs of late afternoon, the planning of the post-trip meal, the first sight of the car. The changing into Chacos, the loading of the gear, the farewell to the mountain. The golden-lit drive home, the windows down, the music cranked. The unloading of car, the procrastination of unpacking, the shower filling with mud. The satisfaction of sitting on the porch, the cracking of a beer, and the reflecting on the adventure.
This whole ceremony a dance of excitement and relief, the whole process recentering. Whether out for a year or just a morning, the boundaries of adventure lie beyond the time spent outdoors, and the effects last far beyond those.