written by Kelly Bauer
Microadventure: Coined by Alastair Humphreys in 2011, and defined as an overnight outdoor adventure that is “small and achievable, for normal people with real lives”.
“You do not need to fly to the other side of the planet to do an expedition.
You do not need to be an elite athlete, expertly trained, or rich to have an adventure.
Adventure is only a state of mind.
Adventure is stretching yourself; mentally, physically or culturally. It is about doing what you do not normally do, pushing yourself hard and doing it to the best of your ability.
And if that is true then adventure is all around us, at all times. Even during hard financial times such as these. Times, I believe, when getting out into the wild are more enjoyable, invigorating and important than ever.”
Microadventures are appealing because they are attainable, available to the busy and overworked and don’t require excessive or technical equipment. They encourage us to get outside without extensive logistical planning and preparation. Not every trip needs to be an expedition or require the newest, greatest gear.
I partook in my first microadventure this past weekend. My adventure didn’t require a long drive, permits or even a car. The adventure began at my doorstep, specifically the back shed where I keep my bike.
I got off work at four, rode home and we packed up the saddle-bags. 45 minutes later, we were ready. One tent, two pads, a blanket, stove and coffee and we were set. The weather was perfect for the short ride. My partner is a seasoned cyclist who used to regularly tour the red rock highways of Utah and Arizona. I commute everyday but my ride is short and I’ve been itching to add some mileage.
Some research on the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway website brought me to a new boater/biker campground in Independence, OR.
The ride was around thirteen miles and took us a little over an hour. It was just long enough to break a sweat and just short enough to call easy. We arrived just before sunset with enough time to enjoy some beverages and good food with a game of moderately competitive cribbage at Mecanico, a small bar with outdoor seating and firepits overlooking Riverview Park.
A ride into the park led us to the campground. There are only five spots and they do not take reservations. Each site is equipped with a bike rack and picnic table. There are cold showers available and a bike repair station. From a very friendly conversation with the camp host (and his adorable dog Snuggles) we learned that the campground started last year and was funded through Cycle Oregon and a Recreation Trails Grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.
There are many campsites similar to the one in Independence. Most are $5 a night and require the campers to have hiked or biked in. If you would like to stay local or start with some day rides, the Willamette Scenic Bikeway offers information and camping along the path: https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/BIKE/Pages/WVSB_main.aspx
If you are looking for campsites statewide this page has a number of state park and recreation areas that offer hiker/biker camping: https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/BIKE/Pages/hiker_biker.aspx
We were the only campers and enjoyed a night of restful sleep under the stars. The morning was relaxed and lazy. We read books and played frisbee in the sun. We knew our micro adventure would have to end so we geared up (literally) for our ride back but not before stopping in town for some more coffee.
We arrived back in Salem sun-kissed and with plenty of time to prepare for the week ahead. I didn’t need a three-day weekend or any logistical planning. I didn’t need gear that I didn’t already have. I choose to have an adventure and that mind-set was all that I needed. The adventure ended where it began: my doorstep in Salem, OR.