Sunday, December 1, 2013

Paff Woods

Earlier this year a woman was attacked in Paff Woods, and while I was extremely disturbed about the news story, I was also intrigued to check out this local park that I had never heard of before. With this week being gun-deer season and Charlie limping on a bruised foot from last weekend, I thought this might be the perfect time to hike Paff Woods - a city park, hence no hunting allowed and a short enough hike that wouldn't aggravate Charlie's sore foot.

There's a tiny parking lot at the end of the road and as you begin the trail, a quaint wooden bridge takes you over a small, trickling creek and onto a boardwalk.

The boardwalk winds its way into the woods and eventually comes to a divergence where you have a choice to turn left or right or just sit on a bench and take a break. We decided to turn left.

The boardwalk continues for a short distance along the base of the hill amidst pine trees and fallen logs...

..until you come to the end of the boardwalk and a rustic woodsy trail takes over. It's a nice wide path with occasional rocks and tree roots, but otherwise fairly even. The trail continues uphill for a little ways and then levels out at the top where you can see a city street through the trees on the edge of the park.

We listened as a flock of geese flew over us, presumably on their way south and admired the giant trees at the top of this hill. A few crows were about making noise in the woods, but Charlie was too busy sniffing squirrel tracks to notice.

On the descent down the other side of the hill, I paused to admire the view of downtown Wausau through the bare tree branches and took a little break on a perfectly placed park bench. Charlie was sweet enough to give me some time to absorb the woodsy scents and peaceful quiet before urging me on.

As we made our way back to the fork in the boardwalk, I noticed a bit of graffiti that I actually didn't mind seeing...

...and we did. It was a very ENJOYable hike and only took about 30 minutes to complete the entire loop. I think we'll be making use of these woods a lot this winter when the roads are too hazardous to travel. The cool thing about this trail is that we can hike multiple loops (similar to walking on a track or treadmill) and get a variety of terrain going up and down the hill while breathing in fresh air... so much better than being at the gym, and added bonus - I get to have my dog along!

Nature is the only "gym" where dogs are allowed... and it's free!