Endorphin Rush on Evanston's Mt. Trashmore
"Sorry ... I can't read that warning sign right now ... I'm trying not to kill myself."
Snowy mornings are happy mornings for kids.
Snowy mornings mean sledding and tobogganing and snowboarding and sliding down hills.
Snowy mornings – especially after over six inches of fresh snow have fallen-- are magical; they take on an almost Rockwellian vibe.
Have you been to Mt. Trashmore? It's that huge hill in Robert James Park that you can easily see from Dodge and Oakton. It's the hill that exercise buffs run up and down during their kids' baseball and soccer practices during warmer seasons.
According to Wikipedia:
Mount Trashmore is a 65 ft. hill located in Robert E. James Park in Evanston, Illinois. Mount Trashmore is an example of landfill reuse as it was a solid waste landfill that was closed and converted into a park in 1965.
In 1973, Evanston began allowing skiing on Mount Trashmore, installing a tow rope and snow making machines.
And, on snowy mornings in Evanston, Mt. Trashmore is where residents flock for the best sledding. Ever.
The hilarious part is, there are certain "runs" that are off-limits to the public (for safety purposes), yet no one abides by the clearly marked signs.
I've been one of those ordinance-violators in years' past. My kids were younger, and I was a cooped-up mom, looking for options that would wear my little tykes out. We'd park in the lot and sled on the "bunny hill" (where sledding is okay as long as you know you're doing it at your own risk) until one of the kids would see the older kids hightailing it to THE BIG HILL.
What's THE BIG HILL? If you're uninitiated, it's the nirvana of sledding/snowboarding/tubing and tobogganing. It's a steep, icy slope, full of moguls -- a straight shot down – notwithstanding the other sledders/snowboarders/tubers and tobogganists.
If you've done THE BIG HILL before, you know it's also refered to as the "E.R. trip waiting to happen." Or the Nightmare on Oakton Street." Or the "I-can't-believe-I'm-letting-my-kids-go-down-this-deathtrap." Or, for the more adventurous of us, the "I-can't-believe-my-kids-talked-me-into-going-down-this-lawsuit-of-a-hill-but-I'll-be-damned-if-I-let-them-go-down-it-alone" hill.
I won't lie. It's an absolute thrill standing at the top of that icy slope. The crystal clear views of The Home Depot Parking Lot, Aldi and Petsmart are like nothing you could dream of. The nervous jockeying for takeoff down the hill gets fiercely competitive, waiting for just the right moment to launch. Innocent bystanders (and crash-and-burn sledders, mid-slope) are always at the mercy of a lean too far right or too far left.
It's a dicey game of chance on Mt. Trashmore … and apparently, there are many Evanstonians willing to take that risk for the promise of a winter thrill.
Editor's Note: A rep from the Parks & Rec department said there are more than 30 signs to warn thrill-seekers about the larger hill, where sledding is forbidden. Not only is it a huge safety risk, there is also a risk of getting a ticket for tresspassing. Stay safe, everyone!