Let’s be honest. Adventure changes as we age. Priorities adjust as we have children and plan for their future as well as our own. So EPIC, extravagant, lengthy, expensive adventures are often placed on hold or never planned at all.

And that’s OK! Better even.

Adventure is a mindset, not a destination. Who said that? Someone famous? I don’t know. If not … I’M saying it now.

Over the Fourth of July weekend, we decided to take our new van on a test run. With a campground in mind, we packed up and headed off. As we drove, we talked about packing up first thing in the morning and hitting Crater Lake on the way home. My husband had been trying for two years to get me up there, and I had kept putting it off … for NO reason, I’ll admit. 😉

Redefining adventure #2 (Adventure is a mindset) by Jenyfer Patton for Hike it Baby

The sight that greeted us on our first unscheduled stop.

Lo and behold, our drive took us RIGHT past Crater Lake. “OK. Adventures abound! Let’s stop and check it out now. We’ll still have plenty of time to make camp.” We made the turn and changed our entire weekend by doing so.

What I assumed would be a quick park, see the lake, take a selfie and drive on turned into a complete change of plans. The first lookout was SO amazing that we sought another and another. After several, we realized that coming back in the morning was a necessity for our adventurous souls. We pulled off into a little “base camp” for a few supplies before driving the last hour to our intended campground.

Redefining adventure #2 (Adventure is a mindset) by Jenyfer Patton for Hike it Baby

What did we find? A slew of campsites that we didn’t even know existed. We ended up taking a campsite RIGHT at Crater Lake! We set up camp. Wondered around and found a random amphitheater in the middle of the campgrounds. A Ranger told us of a bird presentation later that night and we joined in. Cuddled under blankets, we learned about birds local to the lake. We spent the Fourth of July NOT cursing all the neighbors and their backyard parties or fireworks for keeping my poor kids up too late. We watched the stars and shared S’mores and slept, breathing in the fresh mountain air.

Redefining adventure #2 (Adventure is a mindset) by Jenyfer Patton for Hike it Baby

Our family has not stopped talking about Crater Lake. The next day we packed up camp and finished the drive around the crater, stopping at every lookout with NO concern for timing or having to “get” anywhere.

Another time? I had a meeting in Washington and instead of booking a regular hotel, we booked a yurt at a local campground.

Redefining adventure #2 (Adventure is a mindset) by Jenyfer Patton for Hike it Baby

Turned a military spouse seminar into a fun getaway.

Another time? My husband had a weeklong trip and we went with him. We visited the YMCA across the street and every children’s museum, art museum and park we could find. It was an EPIC week.

Redefining adventure #2 (Adventure is a mindset) by Jenyfer Patton for Hike it Baby

Maybe we can blow it for giant wishes.

Adventures like these have become the norm for us. Hidden treasures and interesting fun spots are part of every trip we take. You know why? We set our minds to having an epic adventure and it happens … no matter how small our trip might seem. Adventure is a mindset, not a destination.

What epic adventures has your family experienced? Let us know in the comments below!

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Photos courtesy of Jenyfer Patton.

Often in the Hike it Baby community, the question is asked what “adventurous” means when you are a parent. And the answer is different for all of us. For some, it’s climbing a mountain with a frame carrier fully loaded or doing a huge backpacking overnighter with a new little. For others, it’s ditching the stroller for the first time and trying a dirt trail, or just letting the kids spend leisure time climbing rocks and jumping in puddles. There are so many levels of “adventure” when you have little kids, and we wanted to share stories of families who have redefined adventure on their terms. We hope it inspires you to get out and have adventures YOUR way too.

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