Sunday, February 13, 2011

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Exploring the Lake Front in February
Last Sunday I was experiencing a bit of cabin fever.  A blizzard in Chicago meant that I barely left the house on Tuesday evening and Wednesday.  I spent the latter part of the week inside mostly cooking and loving it, but by Sunday I was feeling the urge to move about a bit, perhaps even run!  The sidewalks, in Chicago, though are still a patchwork of shoveled and unshoveled, with no shortage of icey spots.  

Given the inconsistency of the neighborhood sidewalks, I decided to make my way over to the lakefront path.  I remembered for years past that city shovels the walking/running/biking path along the lake with a snow plow, leaving it much more consistently clear than other areas of the city.  And, in fact, only four days after the blizzard hit Chicago, the lake path had been cleared.  I was delighted to find that the lake which is a tremendous summer time resource can be a delightful place to spend a winter's morning as well!
I diverted from the path, trudging through snow to the edge of the lake.  I found a surprising number of people were exploring the beach at Lawrence Street and, in addition to runners (more than you would guess), I saw snow shoers and cross country skiers.
This mid-winter outing was fantastic and made me wonder what other sorts of winter-time- lake-front-adventure I might be missing I might be missing right under my nose.  I did a bit of research and found a few sub-freezing activities for Chicagoans:
  • Polar Adventure Days: February 26th, Northerly Island.  The Chicago Park District promises that we can "watch as amazing ice sculptures are created, meet live animals, make winter-themed crafts, sip on hot cocoa, and much more."  That's right-live animals and hot cocoa!
  • Snowshoes!  A bit of research revealed that you can rent snowshoes without even leaving the city!  "Webs" (the slang for snowshoes, who knew?) can be rented at Viking Ski and Snowboard on Fullerton for just $10 per day or Runner's Edge on Clark for $15 for two days.  
  • Renting Cross Country Skis!  It seems that there a quite a few places where one can rent cross country skis, including for free with an ID at the Northerly Island (by the Chicago Park District) when there is more than three inches of snow on the ground.  In addition skis can be rented at REI in Lincoln Park, Beverly Bike and Ski, and Viking Ski Shop.
  • Finally, don't forget to try out Chicago best sledding hills.
What are your favorite outdoor adventures for the winter months?  
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