There is a guy on the web (actually he is a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year) who coined the term #microadventure . It’s a fantastic initiative designed to get people out of the humdrum of 9 to 5 and to delve deep into nature during their 5 to 9. Alastair Humphreys has a way with words (he’s also written quite a few books) and the #microadventure initiative is a simple and easy way to get people outdoors.
I have been meaning to get outdoors and complete one for at least a year. Slack, I know! When I least expected it, in the depths of a Portuguese winter, the idea struck me.
- Drive to a remote lake,
- paddle 4km,
- camp on a perfectly flat little section
- and paddle back in the morning.
It sounds easy, right?
It WAS easy and supremely enjoyable. I guess the aspect of it that really got me going was that none of my mates would come with me in the middle of winter. I was on my own, which sounded pretty exciting. The timeline was all sorted out and as I realized I had to leave at 3pm to make camp before sundown, my watch ticked over to 15h00. I was nowhere near ready.
Hustling through the house, chucking camping kit together I rustled an old sleeping bag out of the closet, which my wife assured me was the warmest thing ever. Managing to gather all the necessary goods into my car, I raced off for the lake with an eye on the sun as it arced downwards, startlingly close to the horizon.
Arriving at the lake, my RED paddle 12’6″ Explorer (weapon of choice for this little trip) was pumped up in the nick of time and as I pushed off into a misty sunset, a golden glow settled upon my still lake. Slicing through the water, the Explorer ate through 4km in record time. As the bow scraped mud under my chosen camp site, the afterglow of the sun was still illuminating a clear winter sky and I breathed a sigh of relief. There was still time to gather wood for a fire. “Thank heavens for that,” I thought as packed kit into meaningful areas of my new living area:
- Tent up,
- firewood collected,
- comfy bed-roll spread out,
- bottle of wine opened,
- dinner revealed.
I wouldn’t consider this an “Extreme Sleep” as coined by Phoebe Smith who wrote an incredible book about wild camping in crazy places in the UK, in even crazier weather. The only thing extreme about my little #microadventure was the cold. I looked online at some microadventures after I came back and even that wasn’t as extreme as some enterprising young lads’ sleepout in Antarctica. How do you top that?
Anyway, I wasn’t in it for the competition, just for the experience. Paddling out, setting up camp and paddling back on my own was an enriching experience. Hopefully we’ll be able to entice some Algarve SUP clients to try an “extreme sleep” in 2015!
Would you do it?