Out There Writers’ Summer Adventure Picks

Cover photo courtesy Carol Corbin

We asked two frequent Out There contributors and our managing editor about their favorite summer adventures and how they make the most of summer on top of work and family responsibilities. We hope their outdoor-adventure motivation and goal setting will help inspire your own summer explorations, whether it’s a hiking trail not far from home, a personal physical challenge, or an epic road trip to a new place. 

Courtesy Carol Corbin

Carol Corbin’s DIY Multi-Sport Triathlon 

Every summer, Out There contributor Carol Corbin completes her own adventure multi-sport triathlon at Riverside State Park that includes mountain biking, running and kayaking. “I love to do all of the summer activities, but [the season] feels so short—I get to the end and think: Why didn’t I bike more? Why didn’t I kayak more? With the tri, I get to do all the things I love in one experience,” she says. 

Corbin schedules her Riverside Tri for a weekday, when the park is less busy. She begins at the Seven Mile trailhead with 10-15 miles of mountain biking on dirt trails in the Seven Mile and Bowl & Pitcher areas of the state park, and sometimes rides sections of the paved Centennial Trail. Back at the trailhead, she loads her bike and drives to the Painted Rocks Trailhead where she unloads her paddling gear. She then hikes, carrying all her gear, to a designated water-access site for the Little Spokane River. Here she stashes her kayak and other essential gear, including a PFD, paddle, hydration and sunscreen.  

Returning to her vehicle, she drives downriver to her planned takeout point to begin the trail run segment of her multi-sport adventure. She then runs upriver, returning to the Painted Rocks trailhead; gets into her kayak and enjoys a “mellow paddle back to my car, watching the ducks, moose, muskrats and beavers in the Little Spokane Natural Area,” she says. 

Corbin’s personalized multi-sport challenge provides opportunity to enjoy “solitude, peace and meditation,” she says. “The element of doing it self-supported is [also] empowering to me.” She encourages others to create their own multi-sport challenge that includes their favorite activities. First identify which sports to include, then figure out a location or a few adjacent locations that provide routes or other accommodating space.  

“Liberty Lake Regional Park would be a great place for a DIY multi-sport route,” says Corbin. Boulder Beach is another she proposes, because of its riverfront location and proximity to trails and even rock climbing at Minnehaha Rocks—all accessible off Upriver Drive, paralleled by the Centennial Trail. 

“Our whole region lends itself to creating various [multi-sport experiences],” she says. “We’ve got many great connector-trails to help you go from point A to point B, like the Children of the Sun Trail and Fish Lake Trail.” For more information about these parks and trails, use the search toolbar at OutThereOutdoors.com. 

Courtesy of Lisa Laughlin

Lisa Laughlin’s Everyday Family Adventures 

Adventure is an attitude, not just action. “As a mom of two kids under the age of four, I kind of have this mindset to just ‘send it’ every day that I can,” says Out There managing editor Lisa Laughlin. “We’re all happier and healthier when we’re outside, and that takes effort.”  

Prioritizing outdoor time with young kids often means letting the laundry and dish piles wait, says Laughlin. Some of her favorite ways to teach her children about loving the outdoors are to visit their neighborhood park, dig in a garden box, walk on trails, and simply throw rocks into the river. “As a parent, I see it as my job to role model: I play and run and explore with them,” she says. “When my oldest son rides fearlessly over a ramp on his Strider bike or my daughter yells, ‘yay, running!’ from inside the stroller while I run, I know this is the right choice.” 

To be adventurous also means trying new things and being spontaneous, like visiting a new park with your kids while doing errands in a different part of town, Laughlin says. But be prepared with band-aids, water bottles and snacks.  

Incorporate the outdoors often enough and it becomes a fundamental lifestyle with new traditions. For example, on summer Sundays the Laughlin family visits the Centennial Trail. Lisa, a long-distance runner, and her triathlete husband trade off running while the other is biking and towing their kids in the bike trailer.  

“From my perspective, parenting young kids is going to be tough anywhere, so you might as well be out on an adventure,” Laughlin says. “Our outdoor pursuits make us happier and healthier, and help manage stress, so we prioritize those activities. I hope my kids will fall in love with something to do outside that will give them the same life-long benefits.” 

Courtesy INLC

Alana Livingston’s Guide to Goal Setting  

“I’m kind of an accomplishment junkie,” says Out There contributor Alana Livingston. “I like to feel active, like I’m working towards goals to accomplish during my lifetime. I used to be a long-distance runner, but I’m almost 50, so my body is telling me not to do that so much anymore.” 

When Livingston’s 12-year-old son started running, they brainstormed goal-setting and decided to run one mile per day together for an entire year starting in 2024—which would total 366 miles for this leap year. “He lasted a week, but I’m still going!” she says. “I really hate running, but I’m really loving it now, because there is nothing lingering over me about how many miles I’m going or how fast I’m running. I’m just out there because [I want to be].”   

Livingston also committed to the 52 Hike Challenge, a global movement and online community that encourages people to better connect with the outdoors through hiking (52hikechallenge.com). With 52 weeks in a calendar year, the premise is for people to go hiking at least once a week; however, there isn’t a set schedule and people often finish the 52 Hike Challenge in less time. 

“This season of life I want to live to the fullest and find the most enjoyment, with a holistic approach to everything, whether recreation or travel,” says Livingston. “I never do resolutions, but this year, for whatever reason, I have multiple [ones].” Although her ambitious running and hiking may seem daunting, she feels encouraged with support from her family and friends, especially when they accompany her on hikes and runs.    

Livingston encourages others to create their own goals to keep active and accountable, but to do so with a flexible mindset to maximize fun. With no set weekly goals, if she’s not able to run one day, she’ll make up for it on another. (As of April 19, she has completed 22 hikes and 110 running miles.) For the hike challenge, routes can be repeated as long as you hike at least one mile. Livingston’s favorite regional destinations are Liberty Lake Loop Trail, Bald Knob at Mt. Spokane State Park, and Waikiki Springs Nature Preserve, where she also volunteers as a Land Steward for Inland Northwest Land Conservancy.  

Amy McCaffree is a senior writer for Out There Outdoors.  

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