The Chicago Parks Foundation featured one of my Sherman Park photos in their Instagram series, “Seeing the Parks Through the Eyes of the Community.” I am flattered.
Category Archives: Photography
February 7, 2021
This year, the weather cooled off in February instead of January, but so far I’ve seen only a faint wisp of sea smoke once. Even though it is mostly above 0ºF, it’s cold enough outside, with frequent fits of snow.
Rock Run Rookery
January 24, 2021
I kept seeing so many references to several bald eagles at Rock Run Rookery that J. and I decided to return.
Alas, except for a possible eagle flying in the distance that J missed, we saw only the usual suspects, which are worth the visit — Canada geese, several species of ducks, gulls, and great blue herons that in this cold snap may be regretting their decision not to migrate. Plus tundra geese! I’ve always wanted to see tundra geese. I didn’t realize what they were until I looked at the photos.
I managed to navigate the slick black ice on the path without falling. Accomplishments.
If the birds weren’t enough there were the views of the setting sun and rising moon to end the foray into the great outdoors. Plus a towboat pushing cargo down the Des Plaines River. I wonder if it made it to Starved Rock Lock and Dam, even if I can’t?
Google Maps, part 2: Sherman Park
Earlier, I had posted my Google Maps photos that had been viewed 10,000 or more times. In many cases, that milestone took awhile, months or even years. For this photo, however, reaching 10,000 views took about a week. This is Sherman Park in Chicago, designed by John Charles Olmsted, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., and Daniel Burnham — any of those names sound familiar? History of Sherman Park here. Canada geese love the lagoon, which was open in places and icy in others.
Google Maps most viewed photos
Every now and then I get an email updating me on my Google Maps photo statistics. As of today, these photos have 10,000+ views. The surprises? The chicken and the nondescript view of Lincoln Park Zoo’s south lagoon. That so many people are looking at Beaubien Woods. And that the photo of the Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls didn’t make the cut as of today. Not looking like it will for a long time.
Finally, at six figures:
Dan Ryan Woods — and aqueducts
September 27, 2020
Whenever I think I’m going to run out of forest preserves to explore, there always seem to be more. Sunday I spotted Whistler Woods on the Little Calumet River, but then my eye was drawn northward to Dan Ryan Woods and a single word on the map: Aqueduct. That sounded promising. I was torn, but Dan Ryan Woods is slightly closer, and who wouldn’t want to check out an aqueduct?
At 257 acres, Dan Ryan Woods is big and is one of the few forest preserves within Chicago. We stopped at the first entrance we came to on 87th, where I used the necessary and J. took videos of noisy remote-controlled racing cars.
At the next entrance, we found a visitor center (closed), a sledding hill, fitness steps based on the same principle as those at Swallow Cliff Woods, a fancy playground (relatively new, I found out later), and a monument “dedicated by Gold Star mothers in loving memory of our sons who gave their lives in the world war (1914–1918),” which had been been relocated to Dan Ryan Woods.
Dan Ryan Woods is also known for its view overlooking downtown Chicago. According to graphics by the visitor center, Dan Ryan Woods is the tip of an island once in ancient Lake Chicago, 14,000 years ago. This area is one part of Chicago that isn’t relatively flat.
We took the pedestrian underpass beneath 87th Street, where a sidewalk leads to a trail into the woods and to the limestone aqueducts that wind through them. According to the Forest Preserves of Cook County:
The limestone aqueducts at Dan Ryan Woods were constructed by the CCC to prevent water from washing away soil on the steep ridges. . . The CCC built limestone stairways in the 1930s for visitors to more easily access the ridges surrounding the aqueducts — and to admire the land below.
Time, and substantial restoration work, have turned a trip up these stairs into an awe inspiring climb through a mature woodland. Oak and hickory trees arch high overhead, while redbud and ironwood trees stand tall under the canopy. Native grasses and wildflowers carpet the woodland floor.
It’s an amazing walk, even in September, and I recommend climbing the stairs and looking down. The aqueducts were bone dry, and a few joggers ran in them. I was content to walk along them and enjoy the feeling of being deep in the woods, lost in time and space — and Chicago.
More here about Dan Ryan Woods.
1 Later I found a 1991 article that said Whistler Woods had become a dumping ground for bodies. I hope that’s well in the past.
Ruby-throated hummingbird at Sagawau Canyon
“White Way of Delight” in Jackson Park
While it may not be the equal of the “White Way of Delight” from Anne of Green Gables (a long avenue arched by blossoming apple trees), it will have to do. This is Jackson Park, east of Wooded Isle.
Farewell to Interstate Inn, Gary, Indiana
While returning from Indiana Dunes today, I looked for the Interstate Inn off the I-90 on ramp. A quick glimpse left me with the impression it was gone. I was not wrong. It was demolished in June.
There’s some background about the inn at Lost Indiana.
Added July 12, 2020: The sign remains, much worse for the wear of the past two years.
Late June and summer storms
I’ve no statistics to support my idea that June seems to be prime time for summer storms. It was on June 30, 2011, that a sudden hailstorm devastated Garfield Park Conservatory. Yesterday, this evening storm followed a few afternoon ones. No hail by me, but interesting skies.