Slow Walking

I often take what I call slow walks in park areas close to me. Instead of walking with a destination in mind, I just wander the paths and trails of my favorite spots and try to observe as much as I can. It's more of an exercise in perception and making connections than it is exercise. In a way, it's kind of a meditation, but it also is a mental exercise. I slow walk the park areas close to where I live with a goal of better understanding how things work toward becoming an expert of sorts, unofficially.

As kind of my de facto backyards, these park areas serve as my spots where I clear my mind and watch the wildlife and plants over the seasons. I've been doing these walks for several years now, but now am trying to document some of my observations for me to return to later and to share with anyone who is interested. That's where this page comes in - you can check out my slow walks from the areas I visit frequently by clicking the links below. I also have brief descriptions of the spots I like to sit or observe for lengthy amounts of time. I don't know for sure why I've settled on these spots, but I guess they are just comfortable, unique in their own way, or I always just find myself hanging out at them more than others. Everyone who visits parks frequently has their favorite spots, and I'd like to share with you some of mine!

For more on why I do slow walks and what I do on them, check out the essay I wrote on the topic.

You can see a full list of all of my slow walks by clicking here.

My slow walk landmarks in Lincoln Park

There are some specific areas I attend to when I visit Lincoln Park. The park is so large that I often view it as multiple parks. I have three main areas I visit, each with its own unique ecosystem, wildlife, and plants.

Some of the names I've given these spots are my own. Many of these spots don't likely have official names. If there's an official name, I use it if I know it.

North Pond

<< link to these slow walks >>
  • The restaurant path, which is the path that runs along the northern edge of the pond next to the North Pond Restaurant down to the gazebo on the west side and the nature museum on the east side. 
  • The mossy log, which is a part of a tree network that juts out into the pond near the gazebo. I find so many things on this green log, including herons, ducks, and small passerines that stop by for a drink. The log itself is beautiful, with multiple hues of green contrasting against the shaded water surface. 
  • The side path, which is a dirt path that spurs from the main trail on the western side of the pond. I tend to see geese along this trail and a bunch of prairie-type plants separate this side trail from the main path. 
  • The sandy hillside is a favorite home of the ducks and geese. It's a side path from the main path, but is composed of fine sand and dirt. You can look down to the pond edge from the high point on this "hill," where ducks frequently rest with their bills in their wings. 
  • The Nature Museum side trail, which is a dirt path that goes down to the water's edge next to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. It's close to the docks within the pond on the eastern side.

Caldwell Lily Pool

  • The back path is a favorite spot of mine as it is quieter and I usually see rare or unique birds and plant species back there.
  • The falls is in the front of the lily pool where the pretty water feature helps aerate the pond. 
  • The side path is along the eastern edge of the pool, where many wildflower and tree species grow and show their colors in the spring and summer.

Jarvis Bird Sanctuary

<< link to these slow walks >>

  • The Jarvis ponds, which are two wetlands behind the fence near the Jarvis observatory deck. There are also many tall trees that grow near these ponds. 
  • Prairie sections, which are along the trails on the northern and southern sides of the trail that runs along the Jarvis Bird Sanctuary. 


<< link to these slow walks >>

  • The Magic Hedge, which is a section of the point that has intertwining paths amid multiple trees and bushes. Lots of birds like this part of the point.
  • The Dunes, a special habitat that is dear to me due to my childhood near the ocean. It is a protected section right next to Montrose Beach. Standing water and special dune plants make up homes for many dune-based animals and birds. 
  • The Montrose Point Sanctuary is a section cordoned off for foot traffic only to observe birds in prairie and tree habitats.