To greet or not to greet when ‘Tis it the season?

So fellow travelers, there’s been a hearty discussion on the CGBF pages about the timing of the holiday season.  As someone who looks away when accosted by Christmas decorations right after the Back to School sales I am on board with the “wait ’til it really ‘Tis the season” sentiment.  I for one thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to indulge in garish Halloween decor. Several years ago, my younger daughter hand painted several slate slabs with sorrowful RIP messages.  They look spectacular draped with wispy spider webbing, made ghoulishly convincing by the scattering of skeleton bones poking up from the ground.  Or course, there is always the chance that the entire display will be buried under a mass of early Lake Effect snow, though thankfully  nothing like western New York has experienced this season.

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Halloween snowfall 2008  (there’s a skeletal graveyard somewhere under there )

The same daughter and I engage in a debate every year about when to tune the car radio to the 24/7 Christmas music.  I prefer to hold out for the day after Thanksgiving. However, this year she has her driver’s license so I often (pet peeve #15  other drivers who do NOT turn off the radio) get blasted by Holiday Tunes whenever I actually get to drive my car. She is after all someone who watches the movie  ELF  all year long.

This week, however, I will have to do some decorating before Thanksgiving.

You see my Christmas tradition has always been to have the outdoor lights ready to go on a timer set to click “on”  at sunset of Thanksgiving Day.  This way we either come home to or our guests leave in a glittering display of Holiday Spirit. This year my daughter leaves with her marching band on Monday evening to head for New York City to…..(drum roll)…… perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Yeah…uh huh…. THE  Macy’s Parade…complete with a televised performance at the star in Herald Square  ( at 10 :18 am  we are told…only on NBC ….) You bet your holly I will be standing on a street corner well before the crack of dawn Thanksgiving morning so I can watch those kids march by.

As a kid growing up in the Bronx  the Macy’s parade was seared into my brain as a major holiday tradition of which only Santa looms larger and he himself shows up at the end of said parade.Which is  kind of where the whole “Let the Holiday Season begin”  mythology comes from. Years ago Macy’s wanted shoppers to get at it earlier. Stage a parade, put the Jolly Elf himself at the end, let the spending begin.  I am not certain that’s exactly how it evolved, but it sure fits the mold.

So on Monday evening as our daughter heads for NYC  ( we head down the day after ) I will be scurrying about the front lawn, madly recreating the swirly twirly candy cane forest from the aforementioned movie and decking a few halls with lights so she can come home to Christmas.

So Seasons Greetings my friends, early or not  Holidays here we come.  I leave you with this wonderful version of my favorite winter song.

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Return to Round Lake: Part Two Taking in a Natural Treasure.

So fellow travelers, photo storage problem solved at last.  I think the results have been worth the wait, so now feel free to shoulder those backpacks and head back on the trail with me….

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Round Lake is often missed by many who visit Green Lakes State Park.  All three access points to the trail are a good distance (over a mile) from either the campgrounds, main parking lot or popular swimming “beach.”   I  was coming from the upper trails that wind down to the lakes from the campgrounds.  Green Lakes has over twenty miles of trails which criss-cross and wind through the woods. I have learned from experience it is essential to carry a trail map and I often place trail markers at key cross roads to help me find the correct trail back.

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The trail from the campgrounds down to the lake begins in a certified Old Growth Forest

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I always experience a feeling of reverence as I start down this trail, as if I can feel the wisdom of the trees, some of which are over 300 years old.

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The trail is pretty steep in some parts.  August had been unusually dry, so the trail was not too hard to navigate, in fact,  I noticed as I crossed the creek bridge just how dry the season had been.

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Soon after the bridge crossing one can catch a tantalizing  first glimpse of the lake.

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A few more feet and the blue gemstone  looms closer

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As close as I was, I still took a  few moments to gather some photo ops

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Finally, the reward for the trek down the steep  mile long trail

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The lake’s stunning reflection was just hinting at autumn colors to come. I estimated peak foliage was about two week away when I would be at the Bedlam Farm Open House near beautiful Green Mountain National Forest along the New York-Vermont border. Something  to look forward to for sure.  Meanwhile the trail before me had treasures of its own to share.

Green Lake and Round lake are both meromictic lakes, which means the surface and bottom waters do not “turn over” in spring or autumn. Like the surrounding old growth forest, the lake contains many ancient varieties of plant and aquatic life. Although no one has spotted any Loch Ness sized creatures, the water is so pristine it is easy to see quite far below the surface. There are plenty of resting spots where one can sit and take in the view of the azure waters.

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quite often every  few minutes fish swim by

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little fish…

wait…. just a bit longer..there ….bigger fish!

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The upper woods trail joins Round Lake trail at just about the halfway point on the west end of the lake.  The official trailhead is at the east end of the lake where the historic natural landmark plaque is located.

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Most day visitors to the park don’t hike around Round Lake because the two small side trails which lead to it are at least a mile walk from the main parking area. Hiking out to the trail, around the lake and back to the parking area is a 3.5 mile walk.

Their loss is a gain for trail lovers like myself, who appreciate the quiet solitude of less traveled paths

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and cherish secret spots like my favorite meditation tree which I like to climb up and sit gazing down at the lake

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to gather inspiration like this

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A few yards up the trail I came across a rock which reminded me of the Buddha Rock I found on another trail adventure.

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As I contemplated where the original Buddha Rock might have ended up in that late summer flood, I thought I heard a distant rumble of thunder! Strange given the clear sunny skies above. Then,  as the rumble grew louder, I realized something was headed up the trail so I stepped to the side and watched this roll by.

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No wonder the path had seemed such smooth, soft walking today.  I was enjoying a new layer of fresh mulch.  Thanks guys!

Along the way back,  I played around with some in camera photo art, trying to capture the colors and light reflections on the lake.

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A single drop,  as if the forest too shed a tear reflecting the small sadness I felt.  As I turned back onto the upper trail I knew I was headed back to the final campfire of the season.   Ah well,  Round Lake will be there when the trails reopen next season.

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Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.