I discovered that forest preserves were just as empty in Atlanta when I lived there several years ago, as they are here in Chicago- while strip mall parking lots overflow in both places. Some western parts of the United States seem to have a different philosophy and I noticed when I lived near Denver, Colorado and Portland, Oregon that people embraced the outdoors. In those areas, no matter how far up a mountain I had hiked or skied, and no matter what the weather, there were always other people out there with me. l liked the camaraderie that could be found on the trails in those areas and I miss it here.
The next time you are wondering how to spend a winter weekend, consider visiting a forest preserve and rejuvenating your mind as well as your spirit. While I know it takes some effort to bundle up and get out, you won't be sorry you did. Hopefully next weekend when my family heads out to cross country ski, the parking lot won't be empty. Hope to see you out there!