White Sands National Monument

Wow. In a year that has seen me do less paddling in particular and less outdoors stuff in general than I’d like, I have been incredibly lucky to get to see some extraordinary sights, sounds, and natural features in general.

Fimmvorduhals Hike, 7/24/2018

Wow. This is the least Chrissy and myself could say after finishing the Fimmvorduhals Trek in southern Iceland. This 15.5 mile hike takes you from sea level, essentially, up to about 3,400 ft above sea level, then drops you back 2,700 feet or so into a lush valley. I just want to leave you with…

Kayaking North Vermillion River, 5/19/18 ✶✶✶ ✶

Hopalong Casssidy River Trail to Red White and Blue Bridge (Illinois Rte. 57) May 19, 2018 Gradient: ~4.3 feet per mile Gages: 05555300, Vermillion R. near Leonore; 475 cfs, 4.56 feet deep 05554500, near Pontiac, 160 cfs, 3.47 feet deep Recommended levels: I would likely not paddle this any shallower. I scraped bottom three times,…

Kayaking DuPage River Main Branch 5/8/2018

      Put-in: Private residence near 95th/Kings Rd Take out: Riverview Farmstead Preserve, Will County Forest Preserve Time: 1h40m Gage: 05540130 110 cfs, 4.75 ft ; 05540290 200 cfs, 7.4 ft Feeling stuck between two 6 day workweeks (for myself), Chrissy and I decided to go for a short getaway on the main branch of the…

Hiking Shades State Park 3/22/18 ✶✶✶✶✶

Given the impending start of farm season and the imminent decline of free time, I thought it crucial that Chrissy and I got out to Indiana–yes, Indiana–for a good hiking getaway. We drove 3-3.5 hours to an airbnb outside of Crawfordsville, Indiana, for a chance to hike at Shades and Turkey Run State Parks. Before…

West Branch DuPage River 2/27/18 ✶✶✶

West Branch, DuPage River: Centennial Park (Naperville) to Private Residence near 95th Street (Bolingbrook) ✶✶✶ This stretch of river, hardly a wilderness experience, puts you through a charming downtown area with some nice riffles and waves immediately, and then winds its way through suburban development before tucking into a nice forest preserve for the final mile…

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore 2/23/18

This past week, on a fairly warm February Friday, I planned to go to explore the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River, near the Illinois town of Danville. Needless to say, I stayed up too late Thursday night and sought out quality hiking a little closer to home. Within about an hour, I brainstormed the…

Snowshoeing Goodenow Grove ✶✶✶✶

There are definitely less options for snowshoe and ski rentals than I’d like around me. So, today, I woke up and drove about an hour to get to the only forest preserve in Will County that rents snowshoes– (very) mildly annoying because I live in Will County and have to drive an hour to get…

Cross Country Skiing at Sagawau Canyon ✶✶✶✶

Sherry (my Mom) and I went out cross country skiing yesterday (February 10), after we got about 10 inches of snow the day before–Chicago’s largest snowstorm in quite some time! And on a day that only hit a high of 22F, we stayed pretty warm, and only partly because of the roaring fire in the…

Hiking Starved Rock State Park, East Side ✶✶✶✶✶

After our we watched the eclipse this past week, we went back to our room at the Starved Rock Lodge, built in 19xx by Roosevelt’s Conservation Corps, and hung out, spending some time in their new indoor hot tub. You know, to recover from the hiking we were, uh, about to do. I also took…

Lunar Eclipse at Starved Rock State Park

With a lunar eclipse–and blue moon-coming very early in the morning on January 31st, we decided to make the most out of it. Coming back to Chicago’s favorite state park, Starved Rock, we got a room at the historic lodge, and crashed for a night before waking up at 5:30 to (hopefully) check out a…

Castle Rock State Park (Northern Half) ✶✶✶

Chrissy and I, with a day off together, determined to get outside yesterday. In spite of the clouds, cold (about 30), and hour and a half drive, we checked out Castle Rock State Park near the town of Oregon, Illinois. The park itself is only about 2,000 acres–smaller than some forest preserves within a few…

W. Branch DuPage River, Downtown Naperville

Paddled from Centennial Park in Naperville to Weigand Riverfront Park in Naperville yesterday, 10/18. About a two hour paddle–put in at 3:15 and took out around 5:30. USGS gage 05540130 hovered around 425 cfs at the time, and this was plenty of water for us. This paddle encompasses downtown Naperville for a pretty unique paddling experience,…