Microadventure Series : Tiny Hike

Image of a fenced yard with a tent in the foreground and garage in the background. The title on the image reads The Tiniest Miles Microadventure. The photo shows a sunny afternoon.

#18hike of my 52 Hike Challenge

Trail/Park: My own backyard

We hikers like to talk about our adventures in terms of miles. For some the longer the better. This week’s installment of the Microadventure Series takes a decidedly different approach. Outdoor retailer REI recently challenged it’s customers to a Tiniest Mile campaign. I liked the idea so I took the opportunity to hike a mile. In my backyard because it’s the smallest place I have outside to get the challenge in. I coupled it with the BSA National Camp-In weekend for an added outdoor experience.

What does a mile look like?

For me it was 52 trips around the yard in about 25 minutes over mostly flat ground. I have a picnic bench and deck stairs that I added in here and there for “elevation gain” of about 6″-12″. My route a mix of grass, dirt, wood and pavers. I weaved behind trees and past my tent I’d set up for the weekend. I’m quite sure my neighbors who have view from the upper floors of my backyard wondered if I’d finally gone crazy. Maybe I have, but it was fun getting there.

My Tiniest Mile Time-lapse Video

Discovering that I’d done 52 laps made counting this hike in the lineup of this year’s 52 Hike Challenge seem perfectly legit too. Part of the challenge is that you get to define what a hike is to you. I’ve always said that if at all possible it’s a mile on dirt. This hike checked both of those boxes.

Observations

A mile in the woods sure is different than a mile in laps around your backyard. While trails can become monotonous with mile after mile of trees and rocks and roots, there is something unique about doing laps. I think this is why I’ve never been a fan of the gym. Doing the same thing over and over again with little change in scenery is not my thing. This little adventure reminded me of that.

Covering 52 laps of my yard also pointed out the impact that hiking has on our trails. As I circled around my yard on the border over and over again I started noticing the impact my travel was having. The dirt became compacted quickly. The grass crushed despite my best efforts to alter my path. Doing so also drove home how quickly moving off trail can change cause damage. I knew that this would be a possibility, but the speed in which I saw the impact was pretty marked. I had done what would be the equivalent of 52 separate people walking on a trail do.

As I look toward my next adventure, I’m leaving myself open to looking at the definition of hikes a bit more broadly too. What’s been your tiniest adventure recently? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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Photo of a group of hikers on a sunny day in a field heading towards a wooded area. The photographer has taken the photo from behind the group.

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