I miss the absolute darkness of the country, and I hate these streetlights in Chicago that make my neighborhood look like a Walmart parking lot. I teach at a local college, and commute 10 miles each way by bike to get there and back. I'm not fast, but I'm determined. I don't have a car, so I really can't get too far from the city. When I first moved here I went to the top of the Sears Tower to look out the windows and see where the sprawl ended. It didn't. At least I live close to a body of water.

I would love to go camping if I could get there. I rode my bike around Lake Michigan in 1999, and I'd like to go again soon. I walk everywhere. I stare out the window for hours watching the sun move through the trees. I started to learn climbing at BKB, but covid hit before I managed to get past the easy climbs. I had been learning and practicing archery, but have to wait until there is a range open to practice now.... so that's on hold for awhile. I used to spelunk and climb the easy rock walls in the Catskills when I lived there. I can lift a heavy camera and I can lift a bale of hay. I'm not afraid to get dirty or soaked. The only thing I hate is mosquitoes, and horse flies. I joined Sisters on the Fly, and plan to get a teardrop trailer sometime down the road.

I'm just babbling here, because I'm stuck inside and can't meander this summer. When we are able to merge unmasked again I hope to do some things differently. Less introverting, more recreating. The best part of an adventure is the planning, so I will be spending this quarantine with maps and notebooks - getting ready for better days.

@charrig Thank you for joining our community and for introducing yourself!

I spent a couple of winters in Kenosha, WI while I was going to college and Chicago was my first 'big' city experience. The sheer size of that city was overwhelming to a small town kid who was used to country roads and mile upon mile of wheat fields. I spent as much time as I could down on the shore of Lake Michigan just watching the water or riding my bike to Petrifying Springs Park.

We have a few users here in the community from Chicago: @Dad_Aint_Hip and @Bonfire. Perhaps one of them know an outdoor area accessible in or from the city that could provide a few moments of connection with the outdoors.

We also have a pretty solid contingent of users from your home state of New York: @TomIrvine @Wanderingsoul @REI-AlyS @Kato1953 @Former community member and @Wanderer who is technically from Canada but you might consider it super northern New York?

Thank you for joining our community, we hope you feel welcome!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@REI-JohnJ wrote:

@TomIrvine @Wanderingsoul @REI-AlyS @Kato1953 @Former community member and @Wanderer who is technically from Canada but you might consider it super northern New York?

Can I use this cue to lobby for opening an REI store near Buffalo? I know lots of people up here who would patronize it -- at least once our border reopens.

Re @charrig's inability to travel, currently only "essential" travel is allowed across our border. Unfortunately neither hiking in NY nor shopping at REI nor getting a resupply of Southern Tier 2x Stout are considered essential by the folks at the border. Sigh...


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Hi @charrig 

I live out in one of the suburbs and I hear ya - it's like living in a Walmart parking lot... just without the awesome culture LOLOLOLOL

There are a couple Meetup groups that do day hikes and backpacking excursions (well, they *will* do the excursions after it's safe). The one specific one I would recommend would be the Chicago Hiking, Outdoors, & Social Club since they're based in the city. 

But even the suburban ones are worthwhile as you can almost always find someone willing to pick you up from the closest Metra station (I used to run a photography group and I can't remember a single event where at least one or two people were needing to get picked up and other members were always more than happy to do so) .


One thing that I am sure you've already discovered - hiking in this area of Illinois is not... how shall we say... 'technically challenging'. If you're using All Trails and go on a path marked "easy", drink a lot of coffee so you don't fall asleep while walking. You won't trip on anything, but if the path bends to the left or the right, you want to be awake and avoid poison ivy.

Okay, it's not that bad but if you're coming from the Catskills, it will feel like it. I moved here from Vancouver BC and a 9 mile walk in my neighborhood has the same elevation gain as a 5 block walk where I lived. πŸ™‚

Welcome and hopefully we will get to meet on the trail sometime

β€œBetween every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.


Welcome!   Funny, I am just the opposite!  I grew up in cities and my first job as a psychologist was in a rural area.    I never felt so out of place!   The first night I was there I shut off the lights and almost screamed it was so dark!   I live in a kind of suburban area now and really enjoy riding the trails around there, there are quite a few of them.  When I lived in NY I rode the streets with abandon but I am getting a little old for that stuff!   Anyway welcome and learn to enjoy the city!    I have been to Chicago a time or two and love the blues clubs there (I am also a musician).