granite cliffs of Chase Lake
Monday, August 12 2013
location: northwest coast of Lake Edward, Fulton County, New York
The morning pattern has settled into one where Gretchen takes the dogs for their morning hike while I clean the kitchen and start the coffee (which, due to Gretchen's fears of addiction, is decaf or mostly decaf). All the cabins along Lake Drive have parcels across the road from the lake for garages, though most of that land is unused and forested. I'd found a way through this forest that allowed Gretchen to get to Lake Edwards Road while barely walking on intervening roads at all, something she found to be a huge improvement (despite the fact that the forest doesn't really have a good trail to walk on and she sort of has to bushwhack through).
Today Gretchen and I decided to hike up to Chase Lake from a trailhead nearly three miles away. This is something we'd done last year, though that hike had been tainted somewhat by unpleasant work-related emails. This year both of us have considerably less going on in that department, which is bad for some things but good for hiking with an uncluttered mind. Last year the woman who owned the cabin we were staying in gave us the directions to Chase Lake, but this time I figured it out for myself using a map on our cabin's wall. The drive I had us do was more direct, but it used back roads such as Lily Lake Road, which is gravel for most of its distance and passes through wild and wooly countryside, places where the only human activity seems to be the felling of trees.
The last time we'd hiked to Chase Lake, we'd taken the fork in the trail that took us to the "lean-to," which had featured a nice rocky shoreline from which it was possible for Gretchen to go for a swim. This time, for variety, we took a more southerly fork to a supposed "tent site." The tent site (43.214184N, 74.360318W) amounted to a large (and somewhat littered) fire pit with access to a very swampy section of Chase Lake shoreline. We tried wading out into the water, but we quickly sank into deep black mud. There was a sunken rowboat a little ways out into the water and it would have been great to somehow turn it into a floating dock, but it was too decrepit. What a disappointment!
Further to the south, though, I could see what appeared to be a rocky shoreline (43.213402N, 74.357357W), so I suggested we hike over to that and look for a better place to perhaps go swimming. Getting over there was not trivial; there was a wide swampy patch of forest that had to be crossed, and once on the south end of the lake, we were further hemmed in by sheer granite cliffs rising up from the still-swampy water's edge. We never actually found a good place to go swimming; even where the lakeshore was no longer swampy, the water was shallow and covered with an uncomfortable deposit of tree branches blackened by anærobic decay. So we gave up on swimming and climbed to the top of the granite cliffs (about thirty to fifty feet of elevation) and found a nice mossy place to eat and drink the corn chips and Mountain Brew Ices we'd packed. (Mountain Brew seems to have changed brewery along with its new can design and loss of the word "beer" from its name; it is no longer brewed by Genesee but instead by a corporation with the suspiciously-impersonal name of "Associated Brewing.") The mosquitoes were fairly bad where we sat, but the beer seemed to make everything retroactively okay. We shared our corn chips with Ramona but Eleanor didn't want any.
Back at the house, most of our meals today consisted of a salad of lentils and baked cauliflower. I had mine in a burritoesque wrap. We're eating well on this vacation.
Chase Lake from the southwest. Click to enlarge.
Gretchen and me snacking above Chase Lake.
Me with corn chips and Mountain Brew Ice.
Ramona at Chase Lake.
Gretchen working her way down the granite cliff after our snack.
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