Sunday, July 25, 2021

Bloomington to Chicago

Cowles Bog trail, Indiana Dunes NP

 After leaving Bloomington we headed north to Michigan City, IN, just an hour from Chicago on the east side of Lake Michigan. In February of 2019 Indiana Dunes National Seashore became the 61st national park. Always up for a national park visit, we spent two nights at the nearby Brewery Lodge so we could check it out. (A hotel associated with a brewery had to be a decent place, right? And their beer was very good, too.) 

To get an appreciation for the 15,000 acre park we stopped by the visitor center, climbed a dune, and hiked a trail away from the water. The beaches were okay and the trails are mostly sand, although away from the beach it is fairly hard packed. Surprisingly we did not have a mosquito problem on the wooded trails but there were lots of little bugs buzzing around and biting flies near the coast. Let's just say it is not our favorite national park among those we've visited, but it was fun exploring it.

Wonder how many years before these trees are completely submerged.

View of the coal and natural gas power plant in Michican City

The beach was more scenic in the other direction

Jim climbing back up Mt Baldy dune from the beach

The Cowles Bog trail is a 4.7 mile walk around ponds, marshes, bogs, and black oak savannas that ends at the beach. Having already climbed a dune and visited the beach we shortened it a bit and didn't go all the way to the end.

It was in the 80s and quite humid, a good environment for fungi as most of the trail was shaded..

On Tuesday we moved on to downtown Chicago, where we are cat and condo sitting on the 54th floor of the Hancock Center (now called 175 E Delaware) for two weeks. We got lucky with this catsit. The condo is lovely and has fabulous views of the city and lake, and the cat is very sweet and well behaved, except for some loud meowing the first couple of nights that woke us up. I think he was looking for his people, but finally realized he had to settle for us.

Lobby is on the 44th floor, as is a grocery store..

Sweet Sydney

 Hancock Center, 100 stories tall

View of Navy Pier from dining room

It was hazy when we arrived but has gradually worsened each day due to fires in the west and Canada. We keep hoping for the wind to shift and blow it out of here.

Pretty impressive night views.

And we can see the Navy Pier fireworks display on Wednesday and Saturday nights.

We have been spending our days walking, trying a different direction each day to learn our way around and take in the sights. We have also been to a grocery store (Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Jewel Osco are within 1 mile) every day but one. We've had to be careful not to buy too much and then have to carry it home.

So far we've been to Lincoln Park and the zoo (which we found to be rather sad looking), Oak Street Beach, Navy Pier, Grant Park, Millenium Park, Michigan Ave, The Riverwalk, Chicago Cultural Center and the Rookery Building.

Cloud Gate (aka The Bean) in Millenium Park is a really fascinating sculpture.

Look closely, you can see us standing a bit left of center.

Taken from underneath The Bean

We liked Crown Fountain, too.


Frank Lloyd Wright redesigned lobby of the Rookery

No comment on the building on the left

Not your typical Target

Oak Street Beach, just a couple blocks from where we are staying

From Navy Pier. Luckily the Hancock Center stands out in a crowd so we can find our way home.

More to come as we will be here for nine more days. We're glad we got to experience big city living, although with COVID we are trying to limit our activities to outdoors, so we may not be taking advantage of any of the many museums and restaurants the city has to offer. Just too many people around!


  1. I wonder if Gaia would work with all those tall skyscrapers????

    1. It's been working great here, Jim uses it every time we go out walking.

  2. Throughout it all, I somehow missed that you were staying in the Hancock Center! Now I think your cat sit is even MORE cool!

  3. Enjoyed the wonderful armchair tour!

  4. What a totally unique cat sit! Chicago looks like a fun city to explore. Darn Covid!

    1. Yes, not our typical catsit. It's great being able to stay right in the heart of the city.

  5. You certainly landed the perfect cat sit. Great affordable way to do justice to Chicago. You've had a super first half of your cat sit. Love the photo from under The Bean! Looking ofrward to what else you found. We were only there for a couple days. Too hard to visit with a large MH.

    1. I visited Chicago for a day many years ago and Jim has never been so it's been fun. We are enjoying our city hiking.