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.

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