Taming Trillium: Visitor Tackles Trails in Wheelchair

Author: Adam Schmuki | 03/16/19

Tackling Trillium

Adam Schmuki navigates trails in his wheelchair at Trillium Community Forest on Whidbey Island in March 2019.

As temperatures rise and spring approaches, many people are starting to hit the trails on the islands. Adam Schmuki, a 28-year-old graduate student at Arizona State University, decided to try out the trails at Trillium Community Forest in his wheelchair recently. Trillium Community Forest is a 721-acre community forest near Freeland that offers trails at varying degrees of difficulty. A recently constructed portion is the ADA-compliant Bounty Loop trail, which is wider and features a packed gravel surface. Adam started at Bounty Loop and continued to other trails at the expansive preserve. He shared his account:

On a Saturday morning in March, I went to Trillium Community Forest for the first time. I am from the deserts of Arizona so it was scenery shock – like walking through a fairytale. It was amazing even if it was a little cold.

I use a manual wheelchair 26 inches (88 centimeters) wide. I started from the ADA Bounty Loop Trail and headed back to Happy Trails. Some of the trails are wide enough to be double-track and many are single. My chair just barely fits in the single-track sections of trail. I scraped some of the plants that fall over into the trail, but none of them have stickers. The weather was great the time I was there with the only issues being the slight flooding and mud on some of the trails due to the recent snow and rain.

Raven Trail was especially beautiful, and I perfectly fit in it. Given my height, I felt surrounded by all the bushes and trees. Once I left Raven, we headed to Happy Trails, which had a few steep sections, but they were all incredibly wide. So, there were lots of options for different attack plans on the hills.

I want to go back soon and see some of the more difficult areas when the ground is less waterlogged. It’s definitely some of the most beautiful trails I have been on.

  • About the author: Guest author Adam Schmuki of Phoenix, Ariz., is working toward his Masters in Applied Linguistics at Arizona State University. He’s passionate about his education and and particularly how society interacts with people with physical disabilities. Adam was born with a spinal cord defect that paralyzed his legs. Although he could walk when he was younger, he has spent the past 15 years wheelchair bound.
  • View a Trail Map of Trillium Community Forest

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