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:
- 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
- an old copy of the orienteering map to assist selecting an interesting
approach route through the woods
- a change of clothes, jacket and water in a day pack so I can
ride home in comfort
- 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
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.
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.
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
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.