Monday, September 14, 2015


Yesterday morning, I retrieved my bicycle and biked to my local YMCA.  I completed my two hour workout and biked home.   My fitbit had recorded approximately 15000 steps.  The weather in Chicago yesterday was absolutlely stunning.  Cool temperatures and deep blue skies. My daughter and I set out to take another urban hike.   This time, we walked an additional 25000 steps which translates to a 12.5 mile hike.   We headed down Michigan Avenue and we visited parts of the lakefront that we have rarely seen, other than a quick drive-by.  The high point of our hike was the re-discovery of Northerly Island, although we made some memorable stops on the way.

The view of the Chicago skyline looking north from Northerly Island

One of those stops on the way to Northerly Island was at Buckingham Fountain.  This information comes from the Chicago Park District Website

The Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain, one of the largest in the world, is located at Columbus Drive (301 East) and Congress Parkway (500 South) in Grant Park and runs from 8 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily, typically from early April through mid-October, depending on weather. Display times are subject to change during special events in Grant Park.

While in operation, the Fountain produces a major water display for 20 minutes every hour.   During the major display, a center jet shoots water to a height of 150 feet into the air. Major displays begin daily at 9:00 a.m. and continue thereafter, every hour on the hour. Beginning at dusk, a spectacular light and music display accompanies the major display, beginning every hour on the hour for 20 minutes. Each evening, the final major display begins at 10:35 p.m.
As we were simply enjoying viewing the fountain we decided to try to estimate how many steps it would take to circle the perimeter of the fountain.  My daughter guessed very close to the right answer which turned out to be 425.   While we were circumnavigating the fountain, the center jet shot a water stream high into the air.   The surprise was to be able to see a rainbow.

Rainbow forms from the mist of the spray from Buckingham Fountain
From Buckingham Fountain we walked towards the Adler Planetarium which is nestled on Northerly Island.   During this part of the trip we passed some interesting giant flowers unceremoniously guarding an unused field.

We also rediscovered a small park near Soldier Field.  I had remembered being at this park with my entire family one time before... Although that visit could have been nearly 10 years ago.   During this visit we nearly had the park to ourselves.  There are many hidden gems in Chicago and the SOLDIER FIELD CHILDEN'S GARDEN is certainly one of them.

The part of our urban hike which took us the furthest from home was our trip to Northerly Island.  Until this morning when I read the history of Northerly Island (below) it has always 'bothered' me that Northerly Island was not an island.  What I learned this morning - it actually WAS an island in the past. This is simply to the most serene place to be in all of Chicago.  Much of the island recently repurposed and opened to the public just within the past few weeks.  There is even a small public beach on the island as well a concession stand.   When we found the concession stand it was like finding an oasis in the desert.  We were hungry and thirsty.

from the Chicago Park District website
Northerly Island is a 91 acre peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan at the heart of the Museum Campus. It is located just south of the Adler Planetarium and east of Soldier Field. The majority of this space is dedicated to nature! The nature area at Northerly Island features beautiful strolling paths, casual play areas and a spectacular view of the Chicago skyline. It is also home to some of the best fishing in Chicago.
During the winter and early spring (November - April), the Northerly Island fieldhouse is open on Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 am to 4 pm. The rest of the year, the fieldhouse is open daily, from 9am to 5pm. When the fieldhouse is open, staff is available to answer questions about the island and provide information on a discovery tour.
The FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island is located at the northern end of the island.  The 2013 season brought a variety of improvements and expansions to this popular lakefront facility, including an upgraded stage, expanded state-of-the-art sound and lights, new seating and more grassy space throughout the venue. The newly redeveloped lawn now allows for flexible capacity up to 30,000 patrons while still offering sweeping panoramic views of Chicago’s lakefront.  Since its opening night featuring Earth, Wind and Fire in 2007, FirstMerit Bank Pavilion has brought a wealth of talent to the beautiful park-like setting of Northerly Island. 


Chicago's famous architect and planner Daniel H. Burnham imagined Northerly Island as one of the northernmost points in a series of manmade islands stretching between Grant and Jackson Parks. His vision for this park included lagoons, harbors, beaches, recreation areas, a scenic drive and grand stretches of green space that would provide breathtaking views of the lake and City skyline. Northerly Island and Burnham Park were selected as the site of Chicago's second World's Fair entitled A Century of Progress, 1933-34, and by the early 1930s, Northerly Island had been increased to its present size. In 1938, the Chicago Park District removed the bridge leading to Northerly Island and built a causeway connecting the island to Burnham Park. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Northerly Island featured paths and walkways, scattered trees and grass, a parking lot and the 12th Street Beach. In 1947, a small airport known as Meigs Field opened under the Exposition Authority Act. Operations at Meigs expanded with the building of an air control tower in 1952. The 50-year lease granted by the park district for Meigs Field expired on September 30, 1996. The City, Park District, and numerous civic organizations agreed that the airport should revert to parkland. Today, Daniel Burnham’s vision is now a reality. With wild prairie grasses taking root, beautiful strolling paths, casual play areas, and a spectacular view of the City skyline, we invite you to come out and enjoy the emerging world of Northerly Island.
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 Sunday MENU
breakfast   oatmeal, bacon, apple, mango, ginger                         940 calories
lunch         apple, rice cakes, spinach salad, clam chowder
                  asparagus, oyster crackers, mint chocolate                1338 calories
dinner        salad bar, melon salad                                                1050 calories
SNACK     NORTHERLY ISLAND HAMBURGER                   450 calories
total calories consumed 3779 calories

calories burned
elliptical machine 125 minutes, 4:3 interval,  level 20              1712 calories

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Saturday net calories 2067 calories
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fitbit day 11
40050 steps
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Checking out the dinosaur at the Field Museum

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