Microadventure: Panther Lake

Panther Lake

Panther Lake

Adventure is only a state of mind – Alastair Humphreys, British explorer & coined the term “microadventure”.

I love reading and hearing about the long and fantastical excursions that people undertake! I, too, have had the joy of experiencing “big” trips that take quite a bit of effort, energy, time…and money. And yet, I do not have the ability to constantly be on the next big adventure! Resources aside, constantly moving and looking to the “next” one simply means you’re missing out on the fun you could be having right now. Maybe you relate to the go big or go home mantra but what that often means is we put off the smaller, fun-times while we await or expect the grander, fun-times to arrive. With the long weekends and long summer days, smaller adventures can be so easy to embark on.


Funky coral fungus!

Adventure comes in many forms and is merely about pushing your abilities or experiencing something new. Taking your child to the local park and going on an imaginary expedition through the forest engages not only the child but also yourself in a different manner. You’re having to see and experience things from a different (lower!) angle or perhaps you have to learn something entirely new (What’s that bug? What’s the flower?).

The microadventure is the perfect mindset for both cultivating an appreciation for the now and for letting you get away (but on the cheap). Combine those benefits with a dose of fresh air plus exploring brand new area and you have a newly invigorated mind and viewpoint of your local area.

I was feeling antsy recently; slightly bored. I wanted to go somewhere, not too far, and I wanted to sleep in my own bed. That’s when we found the Panther Lake hike. A 4km, 335m climb brought us to a quiet lake that appeared to be surrounded by larger peaks for scrambling, if one had been inclined to plan for that. With storm clouds surrounding us all day, a light rain started just as we arrived. We had a small snack and returned to the vehicle, instead of lingering.

Panther Lake TH_151The trail itself was in wonderful shape, overall, with bridges that must only be a year or two old across the smaller streams at the start. After a fairly significant and steep climb of switchbacks, you come to a large canyon, water rushing down. Although not too high from the river at this point (and had it been a hot day, walking in through the water on the upriver side of the bridge would have been a viable option), this crossing was made of a large log beside a slightly smaller log, approximately 3-4 metres across, and slick from the drizzly. And on an angle. And I had worn-out running shoes. And, oh yeah, I hate bridge crossings. I don’t like bridge crossings at the best of times (when they’re large, stable, and secure) let along the janky ones that are logs with some XX’s crossed in them for “traction”. Luckily, I care very little what people would think of me and I simply plopped down and butt-scooched across. Graceful and attractive? Who cares. Effective? Very.

After this crossing, the trail levelled out a bit but we ran into a number of downed trees and overgrown brush. Still, the trail was very visible and there was never any question of where we were, a pleasant surprise as we were unsure what state the trail was in. A bit of bush scrambling up and over downed trees, and you pop up over the hill, to a stunningly beautiful, pristine lake.

Panther Lake 2

Panther Lake

On the way home, I think I commented how much fun and how great it was to go on this little mini-trip, this microadventure. There was nothing epic about this hike but it was different, engaged our senses in new ways, and gave us both an experience to share. Therein lies the beauty of the microadventure: a shared experience with very minimal output (we literally embarked on this hike after looking at a map for 30 minutes). Simple.

What do you say about microadventures? Are you a fan? What have you experienced? Comment below and don’t forget to share those photos with #activewomencanada or @activewomen.

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