The Art of Exploration · a diary of day trips, natural places, and miscellaneous adventures

Staying Cool

Sunday, January 1st, 2012 in Illinois
Staying Cool

The Windy City sure lived up to its name today. All day long the wind howled and puffed hefty gusts of cold air from the northwest. Cottonball clouds sped across a cobalt sky—they collided and blended together and by late afternoon the sky was leaden. Once the sun had retreated behind the thick layer of grey, the temperatures tumbled.

I haven’t run for several weeks and I’ve been worried that I’m loosing my edge. To stay active and enjoy the outdoors in the coming cold months, I have to keep up a near-daily habit of walking and running in the cold. If I don’t, I’ll soon succumb to shivers and hot chocolate cravings. Worse yet, I’ll have to move my workouts indoors and that would be a shame. Instead of getting outside each day to enjoy the subtle beauties of winter, I’ll be trapped in the aseptic glow of fluorescent lights at my health club.

Although I knew I had to get outside today, I wasn’t in the mood to do so. I recently subscribed to Netflix and have spent long hours watching documentaries, movies and television shows, determined to get the most out of the free first month of my subscription. Life as a world-class couch potato suddenly seems both appealing and within easy reach.

Luckily, something snapped in me this morning and I turned the television off and geared up to go jogging. I followed my usual route—a 3½ mile loop through an exposed patch of restored prairie and sparse woodlands. I kept moving at a quick pace. After five minutes, the cold wind, which had at first taken my breath away, suddenly felt refreshing. I was getting my edge back. I finished my run just as the clouds started to close in and the temperature began to plummet. I was glad to be home. I’m not ready for the that kind of cold. Not yet.

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Assortment

All the Way to Chasm Lake
All the Way to Chasm Lake
I wake at 3:45 AM and make final preparations for a hike to Chasm Lake. I toss my gear in the car and set off. At this time of the morning, the drive is easy, the sky clear, the stars bright, the landscape vast.
Autumn Hues
Autumn Hues
As the seasons change, the landscape is redrawn in a whole new palette of colors. In recent years, I have been too busy to enjoy this beautiful transition, but that’s about to change.
A Weekend in Door County
A Weekend in Door County
A fog of anxiety and exhaustion plagues me right now. What I need is a bonafide mini break. My most practical escape route is a northerly one to Door County, Wisconsin. I book several nights at Stone Harbor Resort.