The strangeness beyond having to write 2011, beginning tomorrow, leads this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.
POLAR BEAR PLUNGES: The main one around Chicago is the Polar Bear Club Plunge at North Avenue Beach at noon Saturday.
Click here for info on various polar bear plunges around Chicago.
Click here for the Waukegan Polar Bear Plunge Facebook page.
Lori Ralph from the Salmon Stop usually does it and sends around hilarious photos afterward.
NEW YEAR'S DAY PADDLE: A quarter century ago Ralph Frese of Chicagoland Canoe Base started the New Year's Day Paddle on the North Branch.
It has become quite the thing now--to the point where the Forest Preserve Distrct of Cook County sponsors it--often with more than 100 paddlers floating or paddling through one of the neater sections on the North Branch of the Chicago River.
NEW YEAR'S BIRDING: The DuPage Birding Club holds an annual trip at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. Meet at 10 a.m.in the main parking lot by the entrance. There is a $11 charge for non-members. Contact leaders Jean and Bob Spitzer for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ICE FISHING: Today will be sloppy. I think some of the shallower lakes and ponds south of Chicago may even be at risk by tonight for losing safe ice. That will depend on the amount of wind and rain. But the Chain O'Lakes and waters west and north should hold up and firm up over the weekend. It is going to be different. And I don't know what will happen with ice fishing in the Chicago harbors.
PERCH FISHING: The weather should open more opportunities for the favorite of Chicago fishing at Navy Pier, where they had been busting ice to fish.
GOOSE HUNTING: There's another week in the north zone. I am not sure how geese will move around with the major melt off of snow over the last day. Things will change. For the past couple weeks, geese were stacked around any open water. There will be much more open water by the end of today.
DEER HUNTING: The first part of late-winter antlerless and special CWD deer-hunting seasons end on Sunday. Some county permits remain over the counter. Not all counties are open. Click here for details. There are stand-by opportunities at Heidecke Lake.
OPEN-WATER FISHING: Powerton Lake, the cooling lake outside of Pekin, is again open for shore fishing from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. I usually sneak down there for at least one day to shake off winter. It won't be this week.
EAGLE WATCHING:With rivers opening up again, I suspect the bald eagles will spread out more than just being concentrated near dams and other patches of open water.
ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers beginner courses and much more regularly. Click here.
PERSONAL PICKS: Well, I am glad the kids and I got out for one last day of sledding yesterday afternoon. We had been getting out about every other day for the past week. Sledding snow is gone, and the forecast doesn't look good for more coming in any time soon. . . . We will get in our weekend hike as a family. Just not sure where yet. . . . I don't think I can get out for late-winter deer hunting until the second part of the season, because our family has one birthday today and another on New Year's Day. Considering the one on New Year's is my wife's, my plans are made for most of the weekend. . . . Slight chance I will sneak in some ice fishing. . . . And frankly, my guts are riled up about the first day of ``Outside,'' the radio show Joel Greenberg and I are starting at 4:30 p.m. Monday on WKCC-FM (91.1).