Living Big With Little Adventures: Outdoor Activities for a Busy Life

On a bright and sunny December morning, I trudged up a little trail in Kanhawa State Forest behind my husband and two of our trusty companions. Light danced over the golden beech leaves and cushions of emerald green moss carpeting the boulders we passed as the trail climbed a narrow draw. We’d left home early and drove about 40 minutes to complete the 1.5-mile Overlook Rock Trail. Despite the fact that I’ve always loved hiking we’d never been on this trail before.

The two of us had actually fallen in love on a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. When our hike ended we continued our adventures for a while, taking week-long kayaking trips in Maine, signing up for scuba diving lessons, and traveling abroad. But after we graduated from college something changed. We began building a home, adopting stray animals, and starting a business. It all sounded perfect, it was still an adventure really. That home we’re building is a remote off-grid cabin where we grow our food and try to live off the land. It could hardly be considered “settling down.”

We followed the trail as it quickly ascended to “overlook rock” giving us a nice view through the leafless winter trees, and then a flat ridge top. As we strode along surrounded by thickets of green briar I couldn’t help but smile. I’m certain that some of life’s best moments are found with your feet in a pair of hiking boots. It didn’t really matter that this hike would end before it was even lunchtime it was still wonderful. While we are still dreaming of our next big adventure, I decided right there that we would start making an effort to enjoy smaller adventures too. Maybe short hikes like Overlook Rock Trail don’t make for awe-inspiring stories or drool-worthy Instagram photos but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth your time. Take those little adventures.

Little Adventures

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Here’s a list of little adventures we hope to take even if we’re slammed with work.

  • Take day or weekend hikes in local state parks and national forests. For our fellow West Virginians, these include Kanhawa State Forest, Monongahela National Forest, and New River Gorge National River.
  • Take day or weekend kayak or canoe trips. Rivers near us include the Elk River, the New River, the Galle River, and the Coal River.
  • Try indoor bouldering.
  • Bike some of the unmaintained dirt roads and trails in our area.

Find little adventures in your area. I promise it’s possible. Just because you’re not in the position to triple crown doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t get outside. I think Jack Kerouac puts it better than I ever could, “because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”

What little adventures do you take? I’d love to hear your ideas.

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