Hi @charrig I live out in one of the suburbs and I hear ya - it's like living in a Walmart parking lot... just without the awesome culture LOLOLOLOL There are a couple Meetup groups that do day hikes and backpacking excursions (well, they *will* do the excursions after it's safe). The one specific one I would recommend would be the Chicago Hiking, Outdoors, & Social Club since they're based in the city. But even the suburban ones are worthwhile as you can almost always find someone willing to pick you up from the closest Metra station (I used to run a photography group and I can't remember a single event where at least one or two people were needing to get picked up and other members were always more than happy to do so) . One thing that I am sure you've already discovered - hiking in this area of Illinois is not... how shall we say... 'technically challenging'. If you're using All Trails and go on a path marked "easy", drink a lot of coffee so you don't fall asleep while walking. You won't trip on anything, but if the path bends to the left or the right, you want to be awake and avoid poison ivy. Okay, it's not that bad but if you're coming from the Catskills, it will feel like it. I moved here from Vancouver BC and a 9 mile walk in my neighborhood has the same elevation gain as a 5 block walk where I lived. 🙂 Welcome and hopefully we will get to meet on the trail sometime
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@REI-Stefan-D I used to live in NYC and I have the New York lock and it is heavy but nearly indestructible. I no longer live there so it is kind of overkill where I am now but I still use it. After ten years the lock is a little cranky but some occasional WD 40 fixes it right up. Unless you live in a high theft area the less expensive lock will likely be sufficient.
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