Microadventures: Fun Close to Home!

In this post, I review a recent adventure the Trekkers pursued, “chasing” the Neowise comet!

I’m going on a Microadventure!

What is a Microadventure?

“Microadventure” is a term that’s come about in recent years.  It basically means you’re going on an adventure that’s close to home, easily accessible, and can be completed in as little as a few hours.  It can range from anything from a Saturday picnic in the woods to a several-day long camping trip.  It can be enjoyed at any time, though it’s become increasingly popular in the days of Covid-19 when many people are choosing to save some money, and to not venture too far from home.

Microadventures are a great way to find the hidden gems to enjoy in your local community and region.  They’re especially important during the days of Coronavirus when we’re all stressed, depressed, and worried about the current state of the world.

The Trekkers live for microadventures, be those outdoor activities in the Black Hills, or storm chases in the nearby plains!  Recently, we got to enjoy something that doesn’t come around every day, we “chased” Neowise, the comet that made a surprise appearance in the skies above us!

This isn’t the first comet I’ve seen in my life.  I’m old enough to remember standing outside my childhood home, in the 1990s, with my mom one night, checking out the Hale-Bopp comet through the binoculars.

How do I find a microadventure near me?

It helps that we live in a beautiful place that makes these opportunities many and easy to find, though you can enjoy these types of activities in most places if you know where to look.  Go to your local community park or just take a drive in the country outside the city lights.  So many places have walking paths and greenways now, even in more urban areas.  There are also museums, historical and natural sites, and additional recreational activities, such as ropes courses to explore.

We actually started our chasing adventure on Skyline Drive, which traverses the ridgeback that splits the town of Rapid City in two.  Unfortunately, the light pollution from town made it difficult to see the comet.  A few evenings later we visited Badlands National Park, with MommaTrekker and Puppers in tow.

Badlands National Park, by-the-way, is one of the best places to view the night sky that I’ve ever seen.  As the park’s location is the epitome of the “middle-of-nowhere” and being that this area is more arid, where clear skies are a common occurrence, this is a place with very little light pollution where you can view the night sky in all its grandeur.  It helped that the night we went, the moon wasn’t up yet.

My mom agreed that she had never seen so many stars, and she’s spent the last 40 years living on a farm in Indiana!  Several different constellations, planets, and the Milky Way were also easily visible to the naked eye.  I can also attest, from previous experience, that this is a GREAT place to view meteor showers! 😮 

Several days later, we finished our adventure with a short drive to Pactola Lake which is about a half-hour to the west of Rapid City.

Neowise over the Badlands!

Whether you don’t have much spare time, or you’re trying to stick close to home due to Coronavirus, or if you’re trying to save a little on expenses, try out a microadventure.  See what you can discover near you!

What sorts of activities do you enjoy on your microadventures?  Tell me about them in the comments!

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Looking for something fun to do close to home? Why not try out a microadventure and enjoy some hidden gems in your local area!

 

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Canoeing at Jenney Gulch on Pactola Lake

I discuss a lovely place to enjoy paddle sports in the Black Hills, Jenny Gulch, part of Pactola Reservoir.

Temperatures are rising as we head into summer here in the Northern Hemisphere.  What’s a good way to enjoy the Great Outdoors on a hot day?  Get up early to go canoeing before it gets too warm (and busy) of course!

Canoeing at Jenny Gulch on Pactola Reservoir

One of the Trekkers’ favorite places to take our canoe in the Black Hills is Jenny Gulch (the correct spelling is apparently “Jenney”).

This, along with Deerfield Lake, is one of the best options for paddle sports in the Black Hills, in my opinion.

This portion of the lake is a finger that branches off of the main body of water.  It traverses a narrow gulch (hence the name 😉) so it is MUCH quieter than the main lake.  It is a great spot for fishing, paddle-boarding, canoeing or kayaking, swimming, and cliff jumping.  Motorized boats are allowed but the majority of the area is “no wake” (unfortunately not all the motorboat captains choose to abide by this 😡). 

For me personally, I enjoy canoeing.  Kayaking is fun and can sometimes get you where a canoe can’t (as kayaks sit higher on the water) but you’re solely responsible for the control of the craft.  In canoeing, you have a partner to help you.  This is especially nice when your partner favors the back seat and does all the steering! 😇  Also, canoeing is a wonderful relationship-building activity.  My uncle once told me, “want to see if your relationship is meant for marriage?  Go canoeing together!” (I also recommend tent-camping in a severe thunderstorm/deluge of rain and home-maintenance projects.)    

Where is Jenny Gulch?

Jenney Gulch is located a short, 30-minute drive from Rapid City on the northwest portion of Pactola Reservoir.  Take Highway 385 north from either Highway 44 or Sheridan Lake Road and turn left at Silver City Road.  After about 3 – 4 miles turn left at the Jenney Gulch Lake/Fishing Access sign (before reaching this sign there’s another sign on the right for Jenney Gulch Rd., DON’T turn there.  This takes you north into the hills, which we explored on another adventure.  This is a bit confusing though they have improved the signage in recent years.)  If you reach Silver City, you’ve gone too far.

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What you’ll see at Jenny Gulch

What’s so great about Jenney Gulch?  The short answer is…EVERYTHING!  For one thing, you can’t think of the name without hearing Forest Gump’s voice in your head calling it, “Jen-ay”! (or maybe that’s just me? 🤔)  Beyond that, it’s a beautiful, narrow canyon with pine-covered walls that tower far above you. 

There are several channels and coves that branch off the main gulch with calm waters that are a joy to explore.  Unlike the rest of the lake, there’s little-to-no road noise and lighter human activity so you’re free to enjoy the abundance of wildlife that surrounds you:  the beaver gliding effortlessly below the canoe, the geese swimming with their fuzzball goslings that paddle obediently in their parents’ wake; the flash of the fish darting just under the surface; the graceful swoop of the heron’s neck as it takes off into the sky, the “plop” of the turtles as they slide into the water from the log where they’ve been sunning themselves.  You hear a cacophony of birdsong–the rat-a-tat-tat staccato beat of the woodpecker, the trill of the Redwing Blackbird, the screech of the Osprey calling to its mate–as you watch the vultures soaring high overhead.  You may even get to see (and hear) a beaver *THWACK!* it’s tail on the water to warn other beavers of your presence before it dives underwater, back to safety. 

This area is my favorite part of Pactola Lake.  It’s beautiful, serene, and offers activities the whole family can enjoy.   It’s also close enough to Rapid City that you can easily make a day (or a morning) out of it.  I feel so blessed to live in a place that offers such amazing opportunities.

Have you ever been to Jenney Gulch?  What did you think?  Tell me about it in the comments! 

Did you enjoy this post?  Pin it!

Looking for a beautiful place to go canoeing, kayaking or paddle boarding in the Black Hills? Check out Jenny Gulch, which is part of Pactola Lake!

 

Like what you read here today?  Please feel free to leave a comment, like or share this post!  Add your email at the bottom of the page, or the sidebar to the right, to be notified when a new post is published.  By signing up for the email list, you will also receive a free copy of the Tranquil Trekker’s Top 10 Tips of Trekking Do’s and Don’ts!

You can also follow the blog on social media by clicking the links below!

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