Accessible Trails Allow Wheelchair Users to Experience the Great Outdoors.

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Hunter Kelch posing with friend, Eddie, on a bridge
Eddie and I crossing the bridge by Mosinee Dam

 

There are many benefits to spending time in the great outdoors. Unfortunately, Mother Nature is not very accessible by design. Accessible trails give wheelchair users the freedom to explore the outdoors.

 

Man with CP climbing hill in forest
After a successful leg surgery, Eddie can climb this hill for the first time!

 

Science has proven many benefits from spending time outdoors.  Spending time in nature can decrease stress and tension.  Improvements in depression and outlook on life can also occur when spending time outside.  Nature can also improve creativity, which is great for this blogger. Increase in activity can help with weight management too!

 




 

Recently, I reconnected with an old school friend, Eddie.  We try to hang out at least once a week. Now that I have wheels, we can do more things together.  So when Monday rolled around, we decided to head to Chuck’s Boat Landing in Mosinee, Wisconsin. I had never been there before and was looking forward to it.

 

 

Our drive there was an adventure in itself!  My mom and I intended on following Eddie.  However, he left us in the dust at a stop light. We were unable to connect by phone, so my mom drove to Mosinee and pulled over.  We tried to find Chuck’s Boat Landing on our own.  After several swear words, we were able to locate it on a map on my phone.  Just as we were about to pull away from the curb, guess who drove past us?  Yep, Eddie!

 

Dam in Mosinee WI
Mosinee Dam

 

My mom did not hesitate to tease Eddie about his leading skills before we hit the trail.  Chuck’s Boat Landing is a quarter acre park just below the Mosinee Dam, along the shoreline of the Wisconsin River.  The tree-lined accessible trails were paved and easy to navigate.

 

Single stall porta-potty
Single Stall Porta-potty is not accessible.

 

There was one porta-potty in the parking lot. However, it was not accessible.  Lack of accessible bathrooms limit the experience of this beautiful trail.  It was a bit disappointing to see this, as it limits the amount of time I can spend here.

 

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We were having a great time, talking and taking in the scenery.  Suddenly, our good time almost ended with a likely trip to the hospital, C-collar and all!  I was rolling down a hill, talking and not paying attention.  My mom and Eddie yelled for me to stop!  Little did I know, I was heading right for a steep embankment!  My power chair skidded a bit when I stopped.  This extra skid left me inches away from disaster, as it is hard to tuck and roll strapped into a power chair.

 

 

We headed back after my near cliff dive because my mom said her heart could not take any more adventure!  The placement of safety railings would be a great idea in the steep areas.  This could be a potential danger to young kids on bikes, roller skaters and those of us who can not drive and talk at the same time!

 

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I really enjoyed my time outdoors with Eddie and my mom. We talked, laughed and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. I felt one with my surroundings.  I was nervous about upcoming medical testing and I was able to relax and forget everything.  Even my back felt better!

 

Young deer running in woods
Young deer we spotted along the path!

 

This nature walk motivated me to look up other accessible nature walks and trails in Wisconsin. I found quite a few from Trail Link.  Trail Link allows you to find trails all over the USA.  You can use the filters to find the perfect trails for you. I entered in wheelchair accessible, dog walking and wheelchair friendly surfaces and found 129 trails to explore in Wisconsin!

 

Dragon fly on green leaf
There were a lot of dragon flies along the way

 

Accessible trails are a great resource for hiking adventures, whether you are walking or rolling! These outdoor adventures priceless!

 

Hunter Kelch using accessible trails in Mosinee, WI
I am looking forward to rollin’ on more Wisconsin accessible trails!

 

Until next time, Keep Rollin’ and Keep Smilin’.

 

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