Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wild Chicago

We're temporarily back in the Midwest, Chicago in my case. Andrea is working on a post describing our flight back and the celebration that ensued, I'll leave it at that so as not to steal her thunder.

It would be futile to try and replicate my touring lifestyle while inside the third-largest city in the nation, but I can't help but noticed my changed perspective. It's maddening to know that the closest natural landscape is seventy miles away, after spending five months in the most remote and wild the lower forty eight has to offer. To sooth my nerves I threw a leg over my trusty swiss-army-knife city bike and pointed it toward Labaugh Woods, the only place on the North Side with over an acre of dirt.

Labaugh has roughly five miles of single-track trails that follow a river through the Jefferson Park area. It's the only mountain biking (to use the term loosely) in Chicago that is an easy ride from my appartment.

I got muddy, fell down, was poked by sticks, and bounded over the mostly flat, wooded trails like a slightly-out-of-shape whitetail deer. I ride an old road bike with riser-bars, fat tires, and a fixed-gear drivetrain; not particularly fast, but like duct tape, good for almost everything.

I was taking a breather by this railroad crossing and an actual whitetail deer snuck up on me. He had eight points on his rack and was completely fearless. This is the only clear picture I got pefore he wandered down the enbankment.

I followed him into the woods and tried to get a few more shots, but this was the best that turned out.

Despite my nature experience, Kedzie Ave. was never more than a short ride away. You can't ever get out of this place.

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