The best way to have a microadventure is to plan one, not just in your mind—you need to write it down on the calendar. This is imperative because if you are anything like our family, if you don’t plan it, then it usually doesn’t happen. Here are a few ideas to help you get your planning started.
1-3 Hour Adventures:
The Co-Housing section of the Town Link Trail: A crushed gravel path that winds its way through forest and fields. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed. This is a great path for riding your bike or even pushing a jogging stroller. Keep your eyes out for the otter and the nesting Canadian geese that call the pond along the trail their home.
Williams Woods Natural Area: A one-mile loop through what may be the best remaining mature clay-plain forest in the Champlain Valley. The trail starts out on a boardwalk and then transitions to an uneven surfaced trail with large clusters of tree roots that twist together over the damp ground. Stop for a snack at the far end of the loop where you can look out over the open area of Throp Brook. Dogs are not allowed and bug spray is a must.
Plouffe Lane: Don’t let the red gate deter you; it is simply a formality. Open it up and drive into the small parking area. Just below the parking area at the bottom of the hill there is a picnic table, a great place for families to have a picnic and let the children run around. The meadow trails fork here, one going up the hill and passing a bench that is a good resting spot and affords a nice view of the Green Mountains. The trail continues into a back field and loops back onto itself. As the trail starts to curve back around, you have the opportunity to slip into the woods and follow a nice path down to the lower field trail.
More information about these trails and others, including directions to the trailheads, can be found at Trailfinder.info.
Split Rock Mountain: A ferry ride across the lake and short drive brings you to the Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest and it’s approximately 11.5 miles of trails that provide access to many locations including the shores of Lake Champlain. The trails travel through a variety of terrain and forest types and offer a unique opportunity to experience the “wild side” of the Lake Champlain Valley. Views of Vermont, Lake Champlain, and the High Peaks of the Adirondacks are available from several overlooks along the trail system.
More information at http://tinyurl.com/7xuy6o2
Moosalamoo National Recreation Area: With more than 70 miles of trials, lakes, rivers and waterfalls, it is a magical place to explore. Visit moosalamoo.org for more information.
Swimming Holes: I grew up swimming in crystal clear rivers that tumbled out of the mountains of my home town of Danby. There were rock slides and large boulders to warm yourself on a lazy summer afternoon. To this day, a river is my favorite place to swim. A Google search will point you in the general direction of a hot summer day adventure.
Overnight Adventures: There is no shortage of campgrounds in Vermont or New York. Nor is there a shortage of cabins if the thought of sleeping in a tent with your two-year-old makes you want to curl up in the corner and cry. If you would like to step out of your comfort zone or don’t want to pay for a camp site, then you can venture into the Green Mountain National Forest where visitors can camp anywhere (unless the area is posted as closed to camping,) while staying the recommended 200 feet from roads, trails, and bodies of water to disperse impact.
With a little research there is a microadventure that can fit your schedule, budget and comfort level (though it is good to step outside of your comfort zone.). The following tips may help in your planning.
- Perfect isn’t fun. The point is that you get outside, unplug and spend time together as a family.
- Be flexible. You may want to get to the top of the mountain, but the kids may want to throw leaves into the stream.
- Let the kids lead.
- A packed backpack that weighs equal to or less than a quarter of the hiker’s body weight is ideal.
- Travel distance rule of thumb: a half mile per day multiplied by the youngest child’s age.
- Make sure you have something to spark curiosity (a bug net, field guide, magnifying glass, or binoculars).
- I always carry a first aid kit, bug spray, a space blanket, headlamp, matches, warm clothes & wind rain protection and duct tape.
- Carry snacks and water for every adventure no matter how short.