Wilderness in the City

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jh_200808020916_d2h4307As much as I’m a city boy, and I am a city boy, damn, I just want to go hide in the woods most days. It always amazes how much of an option that really is in this city though.

Over the last umpteen years I’ve gotten to know a lot of little wilderness, or wilderness-y hideouts in the Chicago-land area. From the likes of some of the Forest preserves, to Northerly Island, and little odd spots here and there this city has some often surprising little hideaways.

Now, I’m not calling any of these a real replacement for the real Great Outdoors, but they are an escape from the city, a brief respite. I look for a lot of these places.

This is why I have to say I was a bit suprised to find a bird sanctuary right by downtown that I didn’t know about. This is by an area that I have biked past about 5 times so far this summer, and probably over 50 times in my life. It’s just south of McCormick Place and is called, shockingly enough, the McCormick Place Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary.

It’s actually a green roof for a parking garage, though you’d never know that unless you were told or were looking for the scattered air vents and emergency exits. From the surrounding areas it doesn’t look like much, just a grassy slope. Because it’s a plains/grassland environment this is enough to obscure it from sight. It’s not till you get into it that you lose most of the city, and get lost in high grasses.

Unfortunately or fortunately it’s closed off to people to protect the habitat, or at least much of it is. Regardless, it’s a nice little escapist gem in this city.

Now…back to work and driving. Ugh.

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