Saturday, October 22, 2016

green lakes state park.

We have been having beautiful, warm weather here in upstate New York, which is very unusual - it has typically snowed at least once by Halloween. When I was younger, almost all of my costumes had to be modified to include some type of long underwear or thermal layer since the temperatures were hovering around or under freezing. Strangely, this past week it has been in the 70s - although I'm not complaining!

Last Saturday, it was perfect weather to go to one of my favorite state parks: Green Lakes State Park in Fayetteville, New York.

Green Lakes State Park is made up of a variety of trails surrounding two lakes, Green Lake and Round Lake. They are both glacial lakes that were formed around 15,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. What makes these lakes so unusual is that they are meromictic lakes, meaning that there is no mixing of the surface and bottom waters in the spring and fall, like most lakes do. There are only approximately 25 meromictic lakes in North America, which makes them pretty rare. These lakes have a high potential for ancient plant and animal life, and have unique ecosystems. 

Because the lakes are so fragile, no outside boats are allowed that would stir up the water and compromise the oxygen and bacteria levels in the water. The bacteria levels are also what contribute to the gorgeous, signature green color of the lakes. Depending on the depth of the water and where you are in the park, the water may look more of a turquoise color, a dark blue, a bright aqua, or an emerald green. Wherever you are, it's absolutely stunning!

The trails around the lake are well maintained - lined on both sides with logs in many places  and they are either packed dirt, gravel, or mulch - with gentle inclines and benches placed throughout. There are also frequent stop off points to look at the lake, new wooden bridges that are great for taking a breather, and stone walls that have big rocks to sit on. 

We typically take the trail around Green Lake, cross over on a trail to Round Lake, walk around that, and loop back to Green Lake and back around for a total of 2.3 miles (although it feels like a lot more!). Unfortunately, when we arrived on Saturday, there were a bunch of policemen at the start of the trail on one end. We found out later that just about an hour before we got there, a woman's body was found floating in the lake. That certainly wasn't something we were expecting! It prevented us from being able to walk around the entirety of the lake but it was still an enjoyable day nonetheless.

Trixie came with us to enjoy the warm weather and she had a lovely time. This was the longest walk she has been on so far, but she made it through without any problems. There were tons of dogs there that day and, like always, she got along with everyone she crossed paths with. She often doesn't even pay attention to dogs walking by, just keeps trotting along, her ears flapping in the breeze! 

The different landscapes along the trail always astound and intrigue me. At one end of the park is a swimming beach and at a few spots along the lake there are also sandy, beach-like areas that slope down into the water after a few feet.

Other parts of the lake have a lot of dead trees that have fallen over and out into the lake. Some are partially submerged or floating on top of the water. The water looks really turquoise in these spots.

But my favorite parts are where there are rock formations jutting out into the lake. There are a few spots where they are partially above water, making little islands not too far from the shore. One area is a large rock shelf that is only a few inches under the water and ending suddenly as a rock shelf.

There is one deep shelf under the water that probably goes down about thirty feet or so. It is such an eerie looking cliff, with bacteria and moss clinging to it that makes it look like something from the Titanic. It amazes me every time I see it because it is truly stunning, especially juxtaposed with the clear, peaceful water surrounding it.

The trees around the lake are just as fascinating as the lake itself, in my opinion. There are all sorts of knotted roots, growing up and around and through rocks and onto the edge of the lake. Some trees are super smooth, like they have been eroded by lapping waves over the years. I saw a pine tree growing out over the lake whose branches were growing out and up in a half moon shape, like they had been molded around something.

Despite not being able to go around the entire trail, it was well worth the trip up to the park, as usual. The foliage was beautiful and really pops against the green color of the lake. I love going there and walking along the paths, enjoying the quiet and listening to the crunch beneath your feet, the sounds of nature, and being able to relax with the wind in your hair. Walking outside truly makes everything better, in my opinion. Living so close to such wonderful parks that I can access easily is truly a blessing, and one I never take for granted!


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