Author Topic: Portage, Indiana with a bite of Chicago (Indiana Dunes National Park #8)  (Read 624 times)

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Iím not that good at writing, so Iíll keep it to bulleted points with ratings and short notes where applicable.

Background: Iím trying to visit every National Park in the USA. This was a short trip in October 2019 to see Indiana Dunes National Park.

Flights:
  • CLE to ORD on United
  • This was a paid (skiplagged) ticket
  • Read about the start of this trip here
  • ORD to LGA on AA
  • Ticket purchased with AA GC redeemed via Annual Amex Travel Credit

Hotel:
  • Comfort Inn Near Indiana Dunes- 3/5
  • I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I needed a hotel next to the park, since I wanted to get an early start in the AM (I landed at about 7:15PM, and took the South Shore Line from Millennium Station to Portage- I didnít want to delay the train ride til the AM, as this wouldnít allow for an early start). There arenít any 4-star hotels in Portage, so I was worried how this would turn out. Thankfully, the rooms were clean and there were no weird smells for once. Nothing fancy but it surely did the jobÖ

Method of Transport:
  • Uber
  • Iíve finally learnt my lesson. I figured I could visit the parks that are near metro areas without renting a car. Big mistake. Ubers within the park were expensive, and the waits were way too long (and the weather! Oh, the weather! Youíll hear more about that soon).
  • Mass transit

Food:
  • Miltís
  • After my day at the park I went back to Chicago and nipped over to Miltís- surprise- theyíre closed. Since March. No mention of it on google or anywhere else I looked. I decided to hop over to Shallots.
  • Shallots Bistro- 5/5
  • Heavenly sushi, as usual.
   
Activities:
  • Indiana Dunes National Park- 4/5
  • The pics on Google are horrendous. I wasnít expecting much after seeing that. I really like this park (if only for the weather!), and I plan on returning (when I can foresee some nicer weather😊). First off, Iíve never hiked dunes before, but I expected them to look like sand mountains. The dunes here are nothing like that. Theyíre heavily forested, so the only indication that youíre not on a regular mountain is the difficulty of the climb and the fact that the path is sand, not hard packed dirt. Hereís the issue: it was raining quite heavily, and the sand turned mushy. It felt like climbing a snow-capped mountain, except it was easy to sink in and difficult to pull out again. The views were amazing though. The foliage colors were beautiful, and while I didnít get to see much of the beach (it was easier hiking under the trees where the rain is somewhat contained), the trees more than made up for it. I did the Three Dunes Challenge, which is a trail that takes you across three dunes (yup. Up and down three times in succession while getting stuck constantly, and about halfway through finding out that one of my hiking boots had lost its waterproof magic so I had wet and sandy socks to boot[pun?]. Yum). After that I hiked back to the Nature Center, only to find out that no Ubers were willing to come that far up, so I had to hike another 30 minutes or so to the park entrance and wait about 20 minutes in the rain (I was already drenched so it didnít matter much at that point) for my Uber to arrive. Oh, and the kicker. It was 35įF. Perfect beach weather. (in my defense theyíd been forecasting high 50ís to low 60ís with some clouds, but apparently if youíre going anywhere near Lake Michigan donít bother checking the forecast.)
  • I definitely plan on going back here when the probability of nice weather is more likely. Iíd love to see the water and the sky when they donít look like one and the sameÖ
   
Iím writing this TR on my flight back home to NY. Yes, my socks are still wet (donít worry, I changed it, but wet boots= wet socks), but at least Dan gave me some consolation today. Iím scheduled to fly out tomorrow AM to Savannah for the day through this awesome deal, and the forecast is 87įF and sunny😊. Canít wait to complain about the heat in that TR😊.