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  • Writer's pictureChris Toepker


Updated: May 9, 2020

I was recently introduced to the concept of microadventures: small outings, intended to remind us that it isn’t so difficult to get and introduce some strenuous and challenging things into daily and weekly life.

I read the book “Microadventures” by Alastair Humpreys and while I applaud the spirit, the specifics are limited to a UK audience. I mean, all the suggestions are for locations and activities there. Likewise, the style and off-handed dismissal of hazards fits the encouraging style, and the locale. However, here in Florida where there is little public transport (e.g. trains are regularly recommended by Humphreys as way to get out quickly and start easily – no can do), plus higher levels of hazards (e.g. Humphreys seems to face mostly midges, but in FL there are bears and alligators) require better understanding a prep.

Having said that, I was happy to dive in and tackle microadventures as defined: For 8 consecutive weeks, you must undertake one microadventure per week. The microadventure must last at least one hour, but what it consists of is up to you.

My eight weeks were…

· Jan. 25: Running track outside Orlando

· Feb. 2: time trails practice, exploring local routes

· Feb. 8: Kung fu training

· Feb. 15, 17: Clearwater Lake to Alexander springs run

· Feb. 22: Miami

· Feb. 29: Alexander Springs to Buck Lake recce/run

· March 7: Orienteering

· March 14: Buck Lake overnight

Jan. 25: As a newcomer to the Orlando area, I was eager to find some trails off the beaten track and hopefully with some real training potential. Hills that is! A co-worker recommended the best spot in the state, which he admitted wasn’t much by hill standards. Still, it was a lonely clay and sand road out in the middle of mostly nowhere, with a few orange orchards. I took the day to find the place, get there, run the track and generally check out the area.

Feb. 2: In order to qualify again for the Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge, the founder suggested I work on my speed. I spent the morning exploring local potential tracks to find as much elevation gain as possible right outside my front door, and running time trials.

Feb. 8: A long-time kung fu friend and brother was coming to Boyton Beach to see his son. I I had never been down that way, and it became a great excuse to explore more of the state and meet some of the local kung fu community. We made arrangements to meet at Joe Keit's school and train together. I drove down, worked out for the day with he and his son and a local martial art teacher. It was a great day, all the way around!

Feb. 17: I decided the country road (see above, Jan. 25) and local tracks were OK, but not really challenging enough. So, I looked into nearby National Forests and came across Ocala. I discovered the Florida Trail crosses it and decided to explore it and practice using pacing beads. I traveled from Clearwater Lake about halfway to Alexander Springs. Then, a couple days later I came back and ran from Clearwater Lake to Alexander Springs and back. It is part of a recce to determine a personal Ocala ultra along the Florida Trail – run solo, and without support (i.e. following Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge rules).

Feb. 22: The wife and I traveled to Miami to take in the street art and generally take in a town we’d never been to before.

Feb. 29: Alexander Springs to Buck Lake recce run. Continuing to prepare for a personal Ocala ultra, I extended my knowledge of the Florida trail by running from Alexander Springs and around Buck Lake.

March 7: I was introduced to some serious adventure co-workers, who suggested I get started on Orienteering. The Florida Orienteering group held an event and I attended, doing my first official and formal attempt using map, compass, pace beads and so on. I did pretty well, but had trouble with one particular marker!

March 14: A co-worker heard what I was up to and suggested we do an overnight together. I said I was familiar with the Florida Trail and we agreed to start from Alexander Springs after work, walking mostly in the dark to Buck Lake, staying overnight and coming back for a dip in the springs the next day.

All in all, I am entirely appreciative of the microadventure spirit and sentiment. Back in Seattle we used to call it “mountaintop mocha,” because we’d climb a different mountain every weekend and often do overnights. I miss those hills and those times. Still, it’s been fun to see that others do the same thing, and be encouraged to keep it up in this new Florida environ!

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