Hitting the trail and enjoying the view

It hasn’t always been easy getting up and going out for some exercise, which might explain why I went from being a skinny stick in my teen years to being a tad overweight now that I’ve passed the 40 mark. It helps when there’s some kind of motivation, like a loved one encouraging you, or someone on the street mistaking you for Jabba the Hutt.

Maybe having a nature trail behind your apartment.

At my last residence, there was a backyard where I could let my faithful pooch, Toby, do his business and have plenty of room to roam free. However, it didn’t really motivate me to get out and exercise. In a way, being forced to move did have a benefit.

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The Mountain Bay Trail provides a cool path around Shawano and other communities in northeast Wisconsin. (Photo by Lee Pulaski)

The apartment complex where I’m currently living is right next to the Mountain Bay Trail, a lengthy trail expanding from Green Bay to Wausau, with Shawano right in the middle. Because it’s an apartment complex instead of a home, I can’t just let Toby do his business anywhere, so I’ve made it a practice to go walking with Toby first thing in the morning when I wake up. It’s not only a cooler part of the day, but it helps wake me up naturally.

 

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Toby, Lee’s master, looks back to see why his human has stopped on the path to take a picture. (Photo by Lee Pulaski)

Most days, it’s just a 20-minute walk to get the circulation going and give Toby time to hunker down in the bushes, but there are some days, depending on the temperature and how much sleep I’ve had, when I go for a longer trek. On Sunday, I made it a four-mile hike, leaving the apartment around sunrise and rolling back home around 7. I decided to take the camera along to capture some of the beauty.

 

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Green is a common color along the Mountain Bay Trail. (Photo by Lee Pulaski)
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The sun peaks out through the trees during the Sunday hike. (Photo by Lee Pulaski)

What’s nice about the trail segment by my apartment is that much of it is shaded. I could have gone out mid-morning instead of early morning and still been fine, although I would have missed the sunrise shots.

 

Occasionally, you get to see some wildlife on the trail. Toby and I have encountered squirrels, rabbits, a snake or two. A couple of times, we even got to see some deer. One time, a doe actually stopped to stare at us, but then Toby started getting excited like he wanted to chase her like he does with smaller critters.

 

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Signs of a redneck civilization surface along the Mountain Bay Trail – a soda can emblazoned with the American flag, hanging from the tree. (Photo by Lee Pulaski)

Further along on the trail Sunday, we saw signs of another species frequenting the trail—rednecks. You can tell by the homemade furniture and aluminum can décor. There was no banjo music playing, but that might have been because I was hiking on a Sunday morning instead of a Saturday night.

 

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Part of the Mountain Bay Trail runs parallel with state Highway 22, providing other views of rural Shawano County. (Photo by Lee Pulaski)

I probably would have made the hike longer, but I stopped at the trail’s intersection with Highway 22. Besides the fact that traffic was picking up, the mosquitoes also were starting to stir en masse, and unfortunately the bug spray I’d bought didn’t seem to be effective anymore, so I turned around and headed for home.

 

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Near the Shawano Airport, a bridge connects segments of the Mountain Bay Trail (Photo by Lee Pulaski)

While I still feel a little out of shape, I’m hoping the trail will continue to motivate me to get out more and help with my health. One thing’s for sure—you can’t beat the view.

 

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No deer on Sunday’s hike, but a rabbit stopped long enough to get its picture taken. (Photo by Lee Pulaski)
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Near the apartment complex, a break in the trees provides a view of an open field. (Photo by Lee Pulaski)
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Flowers are a common sight on the Mountain Bay Trail. (Photo by Lee Pulaski)
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Redneck furniture along the trail. (Photo by Lee Pulaski)
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Toby explores every inch of the trail. (Photo by Lee Pulaski)
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Toby is tired from the hike, but he’s happy for the exercise. (Photo by Lee Pulaski)

 

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