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Public Transportation to Events

One of the negative aspects of orienteering is that a good deal of travel is required to get to meet locations. On Sundays you'd rather put your feet up and read the Sunday paper rather than sit behind the wheel for a couple of hours. Besides, aren't orienteers environmentally aware of the damage caused by all that driving?

Well, public transportation is a good way to mitigate the personal and environmental negatives of all this travel, and read the Sunday paper at the same time! Plus you can have a bit of warm-up or cool-down exercise, walking/jogging from/to the train or bus. CAOC is one of the few orienteering clubs in the US that has emphasized close-in, convenient meet locations; most other clubs map more pristine areas halfway across the state!

So why not take advantage of this convenience, and use public transportation? I have not owned a car for over 20 years, and have found ways to get to local meets on public transportation which I would like to share. In the paragraphs below, I have listed the orienteering area and the Sunday public transportation methods I use to get there from the city of Chicago.

In all cases I ensure that I bring with me:

  1. the specific meet location within the forest preserve (call O-Phone or meet director if necessary), since the highway directional signs will not be available to me as I approach on foot, often through the woods
  2. an old copy of the orienteering map to assist selecting an interesting approach route through the woods
  3. a change of clothes, jacket and water in a day pack so I can
    ride home in comfort
  4. a CTA fare card and return schedules so that I won't have to wait too long out in the country after running in the woods.

Call 836-7000 in all area codes, or go visit the RTA web site for specific schedules.

Busse Woods / Ned Brown Forest Preserve:

The Pace #209 bus runs every half-hour starting at 9:15 a.m. from the Harlem Avenue stop on the Blue Line, along Golf Road which borders Busse Woods on the north. I get off at the intersection of Golf and I-90 and walk south into the fields and woods of the forest preserve. On the way back to the city, I like to stop for a hamburger and beer at the great diner across Golf Road from the bus stop. (under 1 mile of walking from the bus to the meet location)

Harm's, Linne, and Miami Woods:

Take the El to Davis station in Evanston. Transfer to #250-Dempster bus (every half hour starting at 9:20 a.m.) for Linne or Miami Woods, or #208-Golf bus (the only bus leaves Davis at 10:10 a.m.) for Harm’s Woods. Get off at the respective forest preserve and walk to registration (1/4 mile or less).

Deer Grove Forest Preserve:

A Metra train arrives at the Palatine station on Sundays at 11:24 a.m. from Union Station in Chicago. From there you walk north on Smith Street, past a great 19th century cemetery, to the Bike Path which will lead you directly into the Forest Preserve just prior to the noontime cutoff (2 miles walk).

Willow Springs Woods, Country Lane Woods, Swallow Cliff, or Palos North:

Take Pace bus #381 from the 95th Street Terminal (in the middle of the Dan Ryan Expressway) at the end of the Red elevated line at either 8:30 a.m. or 9:30 a.m.

For Willow Springs Woods and Palos North, get off as the bus turns left at 88th Avenue about 40 minutes later. Walk west on 95th Street to Willow Springs Woods (1/2 mile, on north side of 95th St.) or Palos North (3 miles, on south side).

For Country Lane Woods and Swallow Cliff, stay on bus to end of line at Moraine Valley Community College and walk west on 107th Street to Country Lane Woods (1-1/2 mile, on north side of street). For Swallow Cliff, depending upon the start area, turn south off of 107th Street on either Hwy. 45 or 104th Avenue for one mile to the the forest preserve. On the return, ask someone in the parking lot to drop you at MVCC where return buses depart every 30 minutes all afternoon.

Waterfall Glen:

This is one of our most difficult maps to reach because Pace has canceled Sunday service on the dozen or so buses that serve the surrounding areas, leaving you with a long jog from the one remaining bus. Take the #381 bus at 8:30 a.m. from the 95th Street Station of the Red Line elevated train. Get off at the end of the bus line at Moraine Valley Community College at about 9:15. Walk west through the southern part of the Country Lane and Palos North maps to the Hwy. 83 bridge. Walk north on the bridge sidewalk across the canal and river and turn left on Bluff Road. Use the orienteering map to design a pleasant walk through the woods to the start (7 miles walk/jog). On the return, ask someone in the parking lot to drop you at MVCC where return buses depart every 30 minutes all afternoon.

Bemis Woods and Aire Crown:

Take the Metra train from Union Station which leaves at 9:30 a.m.. For Arie Crown get off at LaGrange Road and walk south to the forest preserve (4 miles walk/jog). For Bemis Woods stay on the train to Western Springs. Walk North through pleasant residential streets about a mile to the forest preserve. On the return, there are a number of good cafes in downtown LaGrange to enjoy before reboarding the train, but little in Western Springs except an ice cream store south of the train station.

Veteran's Acres:

A Metra train from Chicago arrives at the Crystal Lake station at 11:53 a.m., just giving you enough time to walk the half mile north to the park.

If you need more help call the RTA hotline for additional assistance and schedules: 836-7000 in all area codes, or go to their web site.

Please give me a call if you have any feedback or additional information I could add to this sheet. And on behalf of your fellow human beings on this planet, thank you for not driving.

Clark Maxfield
(773) 477-0987

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