Seven Micro-Adventures to have in Jackson County


Photo by Alexandra

Photo by Alexandra Harper

Stop saying there’s nothing to do on the weekends. I repeat: stop saying there’s nothing to do on the weekends. Now, I grant you, if you have no car, no friends with access to car, and no one to beg, borrow, or steal a car from; your choices are indeed limited. However, the majority of students here have a car, and the majority of those who do not can con a ride occasionally.

I’m sorry, you say, but there’s nothing to do: I’ve been to Aka, to JCo, City Crepes, and Target…there really is nowhere else to go. It’s a lie, don’t buy it. And on that note, how can you afford all that? I’ve spent four years in this county looking for its wildest and least expensive parts and though I’m no native, I’ll reveal a few Jackson micro-adventures that I’ve particularly enjoyed.

A man with the impressive name of Alastair Humphreys recently coined the term “micro-adventure,” the premise is easy: hypothetically you work a 9 to 5 job (with even a little more lenience on a college schedule), so what are you doing with the other 16 hours? The 5 to 9? Why aren’t you filling it with a myriad of memorable and spontaneous adventures that celebrate where you live and the fact that you are alive? Humphreys advocates taking these micro-adventures wherever you can and whenever you’re willing. Camp in your nearest woods. Sleep in a bivvy bag by the expressway. Go discover all you can. (If you’re hesitant of the legality of any of this, read his post here.)

So where can you micro-adventure in Jackson. Well thank you for asking, please let me give you a few options and as you adventure, feel free and tell me your own. After all, I still have a few 5 to 9’s and weekends before I graduate.


  • 5 a.m. Hinkley’s run.

    Everyone loves hot doughnuts in the morning. However, few are brave enough to have hot Hinkley’s doughnuts in the very early morning. This is a fun one to kidnap a friend or partner for. In fact, the day I did it, I drove up to my boyfriend’s house, called him at 5 a.m. said to come outside and get in the car, handed him hot tea and then we drove to Hinkleys right when they opened (through a minor blizzard) to get Michigan’s best doughnuts at their best time.

  • The Dahlem Conservancy.

    Located just between Jackson and Horton, this nearby ecological non-profit has trails perfect for spontaneous walks, bird-watching, or just general nature-doings. Or look at their schedule for chances to take a bee-keeping class, go moonlight skiing, or an evening woodcock walk.

  • Geocache Jackson. Geocaching is treasure-hunting where the treasure is a little notebooks and trinkets like plastic army men and your iphone is your map. Download the Geocache app and you will find a plethora of tiny dots telling you where little surprises  are hidden (even on campus) it’s an underground network you never knew existed.
  • Ella Sharp Sites.

    Ella Sharp was a pretty impressive gal. Learn what all the hubbub was by going to one of the many sites that are named after her, whether you are sledding on Ella Sharp hill, looking at a nationally-acclaimed art exhibit in the Ella Sharp museum (all donation) or learning about her life in the Ella Sharp historical house. (Bonus: the Ella Sharp museum does inexpensive art classes, such as pottery throwing and figure drawing for those who want to flex an artistic muscle.)

  • Visit the nuns.

    A half-hour away in Rives Junction is the Dormition Romanian Orthodox Monastery—if you’re interested in experiencing both a different culture (Romanian) and denomination (Eastern Orthodoxy) attend Divine Liturgy (Saturday 9 a.m. Sunday 10 a.m.) if you feel out of you comfort zone, know it’s good for you, also know the only thing you’re expected to do is sit or stand without causing a ruckus. (Pro tip: stay after liturgy for a complimentary meal put on by the nuns—it’s worth it.)

  • Explore the fitness trail.

    If you think this is too close to home to be an adventure, then you’re missing out. Going off-road on the fitness trail is fantastic fun—there are great climbing trees behind Mt. Beebe, deer trails through the thickets, and people have even been known to camp out there. Is it allowed? I have no idea, but they’ve done it.

  • Do it Humphrey’s way.

    What is Alastair Humphrey’s suggestion on finding a great place to have a micro-adventure? Pack a sleeping bag/bivvy bag, find a map (preferably with topography), find the most remote and topographically interesting area. Go there. Sleep there outside. Say sorry if you’re caught on someone’s land. Never leave trash.

“I have a choice, the same choice that faces every man. I can live a frivolous life, trying to impress others with the house I live in, the clothes I wear, the car I drive. I can strive to be a success in the way of the world, seeking the admiration of others, reveling in their jealousy…I can complain about boredom, as if it were up to those around me to inject excitement into my day. These are the patterns of the living dead, people who have forsaken life, who are willing to squander their most precious gift, because they refuse to face up to the reality of death. If they wanted to live, truly wanted to live, they would rise up in a resurrection of their own making and commit themselves to the life they have.”
– Richard Bode.
Beachcombing at Miramar 

By Alexandra Harper

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