Making an Ordinary Outing an Adventure

It was my daughter’s idea—catching the sunrise and sunset on the summer solstice. She planned to see them with a friend, and I smiled at the idea. So, early Saturday morning, when the pink light of dawn glimmered around the edges of my bedroom curtains, I decided to copy her.

“Come with me,” I whispered to my husband. “Let’s make this an adventure.”

We stepped into sneakers and out the front door.

At 6:02 a.m., warmth was shy. Daylight hesitated. But the world of sound had sprung wide-awake. Hundreds of birds gossiped over the spritz and hum of lawn sprinklers.

We walked down to a nature park and onto the wooden bridge over the creek. A mother mallard with six ducklings nosed about in the mud. Dimly lit leaves sprouted from thousands of shoots, vines, and branches. A giant sycamore stretched sturdy arms from three conjoined trunks. Further ahead, near a clearing, pale rays of light darted over treetops along the horizon. We gazed for a minute, then turned around to return home.

Back at the house, we grabbed mountain bikes and pedaled north on the main county road. At the top of a hill, I paused to take a sunrise photo and then veered west onto less-traveled roads.

That’s when the scent of summer found me: meadow grass, honeysuckle, hint of wild rose. Like a bee scouting nectar, I began mapping my route by fragrance.

We were home by 8:30, 10 miles logged, just in time to make pancakes with our daughter before she had another commitment. It had been an ordinary outing—a walk, a bike ride. But it seemed like more than that. Waiting for bubbles to rise through the batter on the griddle, I wondered why.

  • Was it the change in time—earlier than our typical Saturday outings?
  • Was it the specialness of the day—the annual solstice?
  • Was it because we were spontaneous?

It was any and all of these things.

Going early brought a sense of newness. We saw a familiar place at a new time. That made us alert, open to details and differences.

Going on a special day brought a sense of celebration. We marked the longest day of the year by focusing on what made it unique—the arc of the sun. Most every day commemorates something. Uncover it.

Going spontaneously brought a sense of freedom. We made it up as we went along. We took unplanned routes; we mixed concentration with imagination.

Taken together, these made our simple jaunt feel more like an adventure.

And just for the record, I did head back out for the sunset.

P.S. I’d love to hear about your outings-turned-adventures! Write to me at