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Trail Mix: When things change

Tree-lined sidewalks, with bits of shade, are good for walks with a stroller. Pioneer Photo/Laurie Swenson

My family moved into the city limits a few months ago.

But that was never really the goal. My husband wanted to live in the country with a lot of land, but due to the not-quite-large-enough budget, we eventually began considering a few city houses.

And, in retrospect, it's a darn good thing we aren't better off financially, because since the move, we're all better off physically.

We lived in the country (north of Bemidji) from June 2007 until earlier this year. That first summer we walked a lot, hiking a handful of miles every night to the state park and beyond.

But then, once we had our daughter, we learned quickly that it's not so easy to push a stroller on gravel roads. We tried the backpack thing, but our child was afraid of the noisy dogs and the too-close traffic. And the half-mile walk from our apartment to the main roadway was inundated with mosquitoes and the child was not thrilled about that, either.

It wasn't long before we just swore that we'd pack up the stroller in the evenings, drive to the state park and walk there. But we never did (or at least, we rarely did).

Fast-forward some time, and since our move to the city, we've walked daily or nightly - sometimes several times a day. Whether it be a walk to the grocery store or our evening trips to the park (my now-2-year-old sleeps so much better after we let her run around for an hour or so), we're always out. And not in the car.

So things have changed. And while I recognized that more or less, I really began thinking about that this week when I went to fill out my monthly walking form through Simple Steps Bemidji. One of the options is a destination walk, defined as a walk to "a destination that you typically drive to."

I've always marked down as destination walks my family's trips to Lueken's and to Cameron Park, since we typically would have driven to both (it's not overly far, just about a mile each way).

But we've now been walking to Cameron at least 3-4 times a week, so really, it's more typical to walk there rather than drive.

It's not like I'm losing sleep over this or anything, but it's kind of been nagging at me lately, so I've come to a conclusion: No longer during summertime will my Cameron Park ventures be destination walks, however, once winter arrives, if the program is still in place, anything farther than the mailbox can be considered a destination.

Lueken's still counts, because, well, it's hard to go "real" grocery shopping without a vehicle to put the groceries in.

(And, I'm sorry, I know this column has little to do with our daily Trail Mix walks, but really, without Trail Mix, I probably wouldn't be able to walk much further than the mailbox without a car ... so I consider this whole discussion a success of our Trail Mix venture.)

The Trail Mix blog, written by reporters Bethany Wesley and Laurie Swenson, is at