Monday, September 1, 2008

Into the woods

I'm not sure what we'd do without Chenango Valley State Park. It's a big old place, with lots of trails, cabins and campsites, and big old fieldstone picnic pavilions and lodges. Our favorite spots are always deserted, even on Labor Day. And it's only about 20 minutes away. When Patrick or I need to get to the woods, it's often where we go.

Our favorite trail is called the Tween Lakes trail, which, as you might guess, winds around between two lakes. The lakes are petite, with lots of cattails, lily pads, and waterfowl. They are "kettle lakes," meaning they formed around colassal glacial ice cubes about 1500 years ago. When the ice cubes melted, the lakes formed. Neat.

Being so close to the waters' edge most of the time means there's always potential to see exciting things: turtles sunning themselves on floating logs, fish shadowing away into deeper water, herons fishing the shallows. We've seen Pileated Woodpeckers there, too, and loons. Today we saw approximately two hundred chipmunks. They were in logs, on logs, on branches, in trees, in holes, on rocks, and chattering at us for jeopardizing their nut-hoarding industry. This would be a good time of year to be a chipmunk.

There were also these gorgeous floppy orange mushrooms:

And this pretty Indian Cucumber Root, turning a little pink for fall.
After a picnic lunch and our hike, we were able to end the day with homemade ice cream in the late-afternoon sun.

(Sinful Chocolate and Mint Chip.)


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