Photo Trip Report: Family Micro Adventure on Cinder Hill
I’ve long been a fan of the S24O trip format; it fits perfectly with my current stage of life: raising a family and lacking time for long-term trips. After an over-programmed summer, I was itching to get out more. I felt inspired by EXPED’s recent “micro adventure,” so with nothing on the calendar until 11 AM on Saturday, I decided to just carpe diem.
My oldest son was immediately on board when I pitched the idea after getting home from work on Friday. We quickly packed so we could get out on the trail before dark. Just before heading out the door, my next oldest son opted in, so we threw another hammock kit together and we were off.
Camping with hammocks has the advantage of easily expanding or contracting shelter options. Instead of trying to find a bigger tent to fit everyone, we just grabbed another hammock. If we really wanted to divvy up the gear, we could have shared a tarp, but in this case, we all carried our own all-in-one kits from Hennessy Hammock.
We didn’t have any specific destination in mind, although as we drove towards the cinder hills not far from our home, we eventually picked a peak. My boys were game for an adventure, and since there were no trails on this cinder hill, we bushwhacked our way to the top, straight up the side of the hill.
The top of the hill featured a smattering of Shaggy Bark Juniper, Pinyon Pine, and Ponderosa. We found a secluded area where we could stealth camp. All three of our hammocks were pitched side-by-side. I was grateful for the long ropes on the Hennessy, which made it easy to reach the webbing strap/anchor points on the trees.
One facet of a micro adventure or S24O is “grab-and-go,” where you work with the limited gear or provisions you happened to take. With my second son joining us last minute, that meant sharing a meal between three. While we ate, we lit a small LNT campfire and spent the evening making memories. We read books before falling asleep to some music.
Perched on top of the hill, we had the first view of the sunrise, which was absolutely glorious. The colors were so vivid and rich, I wish my camera could have captured it better. My sons are fantastic hiking buddies, getting their gear packed and stowed on their own. After a simple breakfast, we were ready to hit the trail before 7 AM.
I know that this trip was a confidence booster for my younger son, and I’m glad we chose to do something easier for him because we are already planning our next micro adventure together.