Day 12 - Utica to Green Lakes State Park - Tot: 492.3 mi

I'm finding that getting out early is the way to go. The heat can make the ride seem much harder and if I can leave at ~06:00 then my ride can be over before the peak heat of the day.  John and I left Utica headed for Green Lake State Park a bit after 06:00. Our breakfast was a breakfast sandwich at a convenience store outside of Rome, NY. We were again hugging the Erie Canal Bike Trail as closely as we could. 

We found that when the crushed cinder material was laid on a little heavy on the trail, the loose, almost soft sand texture made it very hard to cycle through, especially for John's thinner road bike tires.  We still stayed close to the Erie Canal. It made for good scenery and often protected, shady roads.  

John and I had a sandwich near Oneida at a nice convenience store with seating and AC. We had a nice stop at a park in Chittenango.  

John resting in Chittenango, NY

We pulled into Green Lakes State Park in early afternoon. We even beat the ladies, but not by much. 

Following along in the general direction of the next stop, and keeping to the back roads,  we visited the Shakowi Cultural Center, learning about Oneida and Haudenosaunee (people of the Longhouse) history and traditions.  They have played a game called Kรก:lahse’, or the  Creator's game since time immemorial. We call it Lacrosse!

A bit later we came to Chittenango Falls.  The falls are visible from the top of the trail, but after taking the trail down to a small bridge, the true gorge picture emerged. Glacial sculpting over 400 million-year-old bedrock produced this beauty.  At the bottom a short distance from the falls, the river flows quietly over and around rocks, providing a perfect place to wade and play.

Chittenango Falls

Again arriving at almost the same time as the riders, we signed in to Green Lake State Park and set up camp for the night. Expansive and green, it is understandably a popular spot.  The lake is one of only 30 meromictic lakes in the world, made by ancient waterfalls eroding bedrock over time and forming very deep plunge pools. The water layers of meromictic lakes do not mix, leaving the water blue-green and crystal clear.

Dinner was at Casa de Benziger.  We enjoyed tacos made with New Mexico flair and Flower Power beer, from Ithaca Brewing.


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