It’s not always the epic destinations that give you the best experiences – but often your own backyard where you’ll find your favorite memories.
Occasionally I get so wrapped up in planning big trips, buying flights, and daydreaming about exotic locations, that I forget about the special places close by.
I’ve alway been a huge fan of the concept of a ‘Sub-24’ or ‘Microadventure’, essentially an overnight trip that can be done in a day or less. If you have a busy schedule or demanding job, even the busiest calendar can usually find some wiggle room for a quick trip like this. A tiny amount of time outside can bring a heap of mental and emotion well-being to an overworked lifestyle. And extra points if you use human power – bike, cycle, kayak, hike – to get to your destination.
So with the desire to get some sunshine, and balancing Connor’s homework deadline and Aubrey’s work schedule – it was the perfect window of opportunity to get a good dose of the great outdoors without wasting too much time driving. We loaded our boats, gassed up the Tacoma, and set out for a destination I’ve seen my entire life growing up in the Central Valley – Huji Island.
This tiny island only appears when the Kaweah Lake is at full capacity – the water covers up the attaching peninsula, and makes the perfect hilltop campsite. Springtime is the perfect time to be on the lake – the wildflowers are in bloom, temps are low, and rattlesnakes are still in their holes. Sitting at the base of the Sierra Nevada, you get views of high altitude peaks in Sequoia National Park, home of the largest trees in the world.
Parking at a hotel, we tackled a quick assembly and were in the water within thirty minutes.
A stiff breeze gave us a good workout as we paddled three miles across the lake against a westerly wind, hugging every bit of hillside to stay in the wind shadow.
1) Plan in advance! Sometimes, the anticipation and planning of a trip brings as much joy as the trip itself. It’s super fun to get hyped with your friends about what you’re gonna do.
2) Pack ahead of time! The most time consuming aspect of most trip planning is deciding what, and how much to bring. Prep a day or two ahead, so you’re ready to hit the ground running with every ray of daylight, rather than wasting it in your garage and stuffing your bags while the sun is going down. Always remember to check to make sure all parts of your tent are there: tent body, fly, footprint, poles, and stakes. It’s never fun to realize you’d forgotten the fly as you watch storm clouds approach.
5) Share the love! These kinds of trips are great for inviting someone who may not be as comfortable or skilled in planning their own outdoor adventures. One night sleeping outside is a great way to gently break in someone who is still getting used to the idea of sleeping without a roof.
I hope you get stoked on your own sub 24, come say hi and tell me about it over at @PeterAmend