Now may be the moment for Mitchell’s trail system.

Or maybe I’m having a moment with the trails of Mitchell, to be more precise. During this time of social distancing, self-quarantine and directives to stay-at-home, the experts have told us we still need to get outside and get some exercise.

That has included trips around the Cadwell Sports Complex on the bike trail, and looping around Hitchcock Park, or taking the route along Indian Village Road and heading back to the center of the city through the trail at Lakeview Golf Course and Graceland Cemetery. The winding mile-long trail at Dry Run Creek has joined my list of favorites, as well.

But one of my personal highlights of quarantine has been the time I’ve spent on the hiking and walking trails at Lake Mitchell. According to the city, there’s 13 miles of hiking and biking trails around Lake Mitchell. (There’s another 16-plus miles of bike paths in the city, as well.)

I’ve lived in Mitchell for six years now, but have to admit that I haven’t spent a lot of time exploring the edges of our city’s big lake.

But I’ve made a more concerted effort to exercise in the last year, and the closure of my regular workout location has sent me outdoors. And because of the circumstances we’re all in, I’m a little more appreciative of getting fresh air and stretching my legs.

My curious nature has brought me to most of the trails along Lake Mitchell in the last month or so. That’s included the trails at the west boat launch, the route from the West End Bridge to Sandy Beach on the north side of the lake, the Turtle and the Bill Platz Kiwanis trails on the south side of the lake. There’s also the 2.25 miles on the trail from Cemetery Road to the West End Bridge, where you can experience some solitude and it’s only you and the nearby cattle.

What stands out to me along Lake Mitchell is how refreshing and distant it feels compared to the rest of our daily lives. There are places where you’re as close as 10 feet away from the roadway, but within the pines, the narrow path you’re on is all that matters. It feels more like a state park than being in a small park in a city of 15,000, and picking up Vitamin D from the sunlight is certainly an added benefit.

I’m hardly the only person who has had this idea. Recently, I’ve met the grandfather and grandson shorefishing, a family of five hiking along the lake, a man walking his dogs, and runners getting their workouts. It makes me grateful that we have public land like this just down the street and in our town that we call home.

I know many of The Daily Republic’s readers are probably well aware of the Lake Mitchell trails. But for the folks who are not, or are looking for an excuse to get reacquainted with them once again, now is the moment to take advantage of what our city has to offer with nature.