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Walking Off the Longest Winter

March 19, 2014

The lake ice is melting and it’s something to see. I would have been walking anyhow, but A Tidewater Gardener’s Winter Walk-Off inspired me to take my camera. I don’t do this in Chicago really. Wielding large electronic devices out by yourself invites mugging. Sucky but true. But on a sunny 50-degree Friday, photos were in order. Ice melts fast.

To begin with, I’m breaking Rule #1, which is “don’t show your own garden.” But Bud hasn’t made an appearance here in so long! He didn’t join me at the lakeshore, but he did some wading in the yard.

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I drove to 51st Street, the northern border of Hyde Park, and started at the north end of Harold Washington Park. This is the model yacht basin. Never have we seen a yacht afloat. But hundreds of waterfowl do foul it pretty good. This doesn’t stop people using it as a giant dog park when it’s drained and snowed over. The basin is ringed in crab apples, spectacular in springtime. You can see the 51st St. pedestrian bridge that crosses over Lakeshore Drive to the edge of Lake Michigan. That’s where we’re headed.

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The view south from the bridge.

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And the view north.

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Signs.

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Signs of activity.

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Lines.

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Running water. (looking right)

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Right under my feet into the lake. (looking left)

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East.

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I should have made you a pano of these.

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Looking south toward the Point, scene of open-water swimming, moonrise playgroups, campfires, George Lucas’ wedding, and recent coyote sightings.

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Shoreline management is rather brutal. The ice dunes in the distance are several meters high.

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Heading north.

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Thar she blows! You know, it isn’t technically called the Sears Tower anymore, but Willis Tower sounds like somebody’s little brother.

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 Without scale here, you can’t tell the ice is a few meters deep.

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Everything is ripe for tagging. I think this says, “Know Live Gain”?

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I prefer the art in the old quarried stone blocks.

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And finding some names quite dear to us.

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Are you still  here? We are almost to Pebble Beach, everyone’s favorite unofficial, un-lifeguarded swimming beach. We like it in part because no sewers drain here, as near other public beaches. The concrete barriers suffered in that polar vortex, it appears.

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I didn’t ask the beachcomber what he was looking for with his tiny shovel and toothbrush.

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After the beach the walking at water’s edge starts to break up and get rough and overgrown, so we tend to go back to the Lakeshore hike and bike path, (even though with beagle and baby, we are hazards to the rabid triathletes in training, and they to us. We stay on the grass as much as possible.) The outhouse is a work of art.

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This is where I turned around to head back and pick up my boy from preschool close by. It was so good to be out in warm sun, however briefly. It snowed the next night, and the days since have been crappy and wet and cold. But today Bud and I found snowdrops lurking under an east-facing shrub. Snowdrops. Take that and good riddance, lake ice.

Thanks for the boost, Les, and for gathering gardeners virtually as we sweat out this long winter.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 20, 2014 5:33 pm

    Lynn, I am so glad you found time to take a walk, and risk being a crime victim by carrying your camera. I expected there would still be lots of snow in Chicago, but I am encouraged for you that bare ground is visible and snowdrops are lurking. I don’t know why, but I was not expecting the water to be so clear and blue. Thanks again!

    • March 20, 2014 9:27 pm

      Thank you, Les! It was a blast, and I didn’t mean to make too much of the crime, though it is why I don’t go exploring with camera freely. But the lakeshore is usually fine, populated with other people with cameras, people excising, and dog walkers. I will post pics of the lake locked in ice a few weeks ago, after it had thawed to open water already. The clear water surprised us, too, and I’d love to be out there at varying times of day when it changes moods. P.S. I discovered the point n shoot photos I did two years ago, when we lived in Hyde Park. I’ll try to get them up at least as a slideshow.

  2. March 26, 2014 2:38 pm

    The lake is lovely with the skyline. I like how you found urban art in unexpected places.

    • March 26, 2014 2:49 pm

      Thank you. There is a lot of detail there to reward the pokey explorer.

  3. March 31, 2014 9:43 pm

    The sun lighting makes it look warm. (The snow does not.) I prefer Chicago in the summer.
    Ray

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