I found an awesome new place to run: Sag Valley Trail in Swallow Cliff Woods in Palos Park. Actually, it's not "new," I just never got around to checking it out. There is an 8 mile loop, but the nice thing is there are connector trails, so you can easily do a 4-5 mile loop if you're not up for 8 or more miles. It's a very hilly (by Chicago standards) trail, but between the gravel and the fact that the trail is also used for horse-back riding, you have to pay attention while you run.
The only drawback is there are no water sources along the trail, not even those handcrank dealies for well water. I may need to get a hydration belt. I did use my own make-shift system today - I had a couple of those travel squeeze bottles that you can take on an airplane for your shampoo (that have never been used) and I filled them with water and tucked them into my sports bra. Worked pretty well, but between the two it was only 6oz of water. I only have so much space in my bra, so I don't know how many more I can cram in there. Plus being so close to my body, they didn't stay cool very long.
Anyway, my run was pretty slow because I kept stopping to take photos (OK, and because of the hills).
This is not the trail I ran. This is a little footpath venturing off the gravel trail. I figured I was going to hit enough hills, I didn't need to try to scale these too.
This point was almost 5 miles in. Beyond this underpass the trail continues for another 3 miles before it completes the loop. Unfortunately, because of rain, this was flooded. You can kind of see the reflection in the standing water on the other side of the underpass. I didn't feel like running through the water in my new running shoes, especially considering how much horse poop was on the trail (you can see some in the bottom left) and probably also in the water. So I turned around and with the connector trails was able to do 6.7 miles instead.
What is left of the old toboggan slides. To the right are the stairs going down.
From the bottom of the stairs, which are still there and used for fitness. The hill has been filled in a bit to be less steep and is now used for sledding.
Back in January or February 1989, when I was 6, my parents took us tobogganing at this very same spot.
I think my mom still has that hat. It's black faux fur and ties under her chin.
The above picture was taken from the bridge, which you can see in the background of the photo below. And obviously further behind the bridge is the hill and the toboggan chutes.
The toboggans chutes eventually required expensive repairs, and instead were closed in 2004 and demolished in 2008.