Father Jim and Sister Hazel Hit the Trail

In my attempt to become a 'lean, mean Norbertine,' I've taken to the Green Bay / Greenleaf trail once again this summer. Immediately after Graduation Sunday, I began my daily triathlon which for me, as some of you know, consists of running, then walking, then crawling back to the car. While I have decided to shorten the distance of my route considerably, I've tried my best to quicken the pace significantly. It's not as peaceful and reflective, quite honestly, but I do believe that I am getting a much better workout.

It has been quite a bit of fun -- that first week -- departing the Priory after Morning Prayer. But there has been some tension on the trail as well. Each morning I meet a man who walks his two dogs on the trail; perhaps after his celebration of morning prayer, also! Unfortunately, his dogs are not on leashes, and given the fact that one of the dogs looks an awful lot like a Rottweiler or a Pitt bull, I tend to get a little freaked. I slow my pace to a normal walk [rightly or wrongly] and they make their way to approach me. They seem kind enough, but I can only imagine how unkind my look at their master must be. Nevertheless, day after day, no leashes, no attempt by the owner to grab hold of the dogs as runners, bikers and walkers approach. Even as one who fell in love with little Bosco this past winter (an earlier blog!), I still would assume that this guy would see others walking their dogs with appropriate precautions [leashes] -- to me, it's just a normal act of consideration for others. --Perhaps I'm being a bit too edgy or trail-centric.

This week I have been absent from the trail. I've been up in Antigo to assist my Mom with her sciatic nerve issue. Making a few trips back and forth from home-to-home, I've been away from the office, church, priory and trail. Next week will be a bit more normal as far as work and the daily triathlon are concerned.

Today, back in DePere, the workout changed. I decided to get a tune up for my bike. $5 later, I have air in the tires, oil on the chain and a seat raised to the appropriate height. The biking also is quite a workout. In fact, it seems as though the toughest part of the journey is the beginning, crossing the Claude Allouez bridge. Had I known what a workout that ascension is over the peak of the bridge while headed east, I would certainly have adapted the bridge dedication prayer (another earlier blog!) to address the needs of bikers' safety and health while crossing the bridge while in a desperate search for nitroglycerin pills!

Today, I went a pretty decent distance. In fact, as you look at the picture above, you see a shot of me just approaching Lasee Road.* I wanted to go further, but I realized that whenever I finally decide to turn around, I am exactly at the half way point: that's pretty sobering. So even though I was still into the first of two Sister Hazel CDs cranked on the ipod, it was time to head back. The descent down the bridge into DePere's west side did not seem to make up for the ascent an hour or so earlier -- someone was in the westbound bike path headed east! At least Cujo and her girlfriend were not present like most mornings, that would have landed me in the mighty Fox!!!

So I'm back into summer mode -- searching for a tan, trying to get into shape and in my mind, working on letters, blogs and homilies. Stay tuned, the more miles I achieve, the more the words come -- that's not necessarily good news for those who are searching for a quick Mass at OSJ this summer to hear the Good News! 'Happy Trails,' nonetheless!

Father James Baraniak, O. Praem.

* To be completely honest, I must admit that the picture to introduce this post is not a picture of the author -- it's a Googled image found on the net. Unfortunately, I was pedalling so quickly that the camera speed was not fast enough to catch my image without the picture becoming completely blurred! Had I biked a bit slower, I'm sure what you see above is what I would have looked like! Question: Do we still offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation on Wednesday afternoons during the summer?


Anonymous said...

Being an avid animal-lover, I wouldn't care about the dogs. Just because one of them looks like or is a pitt-bull does not necessarily mean they act like one. It all depends on what environment they grew up in (like people) or what training they've had (I'm guessing quite a lot since they're off the leash).

If there's room on the trail, just run around them in a kind of semi-circle. If they do have a tendency to run after people, I'm sure the owner would call them away.
Another option would be to go in the evening around 5 or 6 or later (my favorite time to go).

Fortunately since I'm across the Atlantic I only run into sheep when I jog, and they just stop and stare at me as I go by much like cows do.

Perhaps you could "Give it a shepherd's care" and get to know the owner and the dogs? If you are sneaky and casual enough about it I'm sure you could find out a lot of info about his fury best friend by asking all the right questions.

Anonymous said...

Hey Padre,

Here's a note from the Brown County Parks & Rec website:

"Pets are prohibited on all County Park lands, with the exception of the Pet Exercise Area at Brown County Park, on the Fox River Trail and Mountain-Bay Trail, and in designated areas in our campgrounds. At the campgrounds, dogs, cats, and similar pets must be kept on a leash not more than 8-feet long. Pets are not permitted in campground buildings. On the Fox River Trail and Mountain-Bay Trail pets must be kept on leashes no longer than 5-feet long."

Tell the guy to get a leash!


Anonymous said...

Hey there ... I love animals ... but ...ALL DOGS ARE TO BE KEPT ON LEASH WHILE USING THE TRAIL! People who disregard that law are part of the reason you see so many "No Dogs Allowed" signs. If people would be responsible pet owners, the animals would be welcomed in more areas.

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