This month’s blog follows the lake of the month theme and highlights Canadice Lake. Written by guest blogger, D.E. Bentley, she shares her experience of first “meeting” Canadice Lake and the constant discovery that has taken place of the area since. Thank you for sharing your story with us!
It had taken little to convince my partner that Canadice Lake was the area we wanted to call home. I had seen the house first, as we simultaneously and systematically liquidated and readied for sale the two homes where we currently lived. It was a snowy day when we again met up with the realtor, for our final pre-purchase visit. We came equipped with a camera … and snowshoes. We strapped on the snowshoes and ventured back into the deep snow that blanketed the wetland area behind the house. The ground was frozen solid, and the skunk cabbage remained below the fallen snow, waiting to melt away the remaining pre-spring blanket and emerge – first among the plants of this wetland ecosystem, rich with plant and animal life. We detoured around the lake on our way back to Rochester, past ice fishing huts sheltering clustered fishers waiting for the big catch. Within a few months, we had returned to stay, stood looking out across a field of blooming skunk cabbage – an early treat for our honey bees – listening as peepers populated the vernal pools flooded by spring rains.
There is no denying the draw of Canadice Lake and the surrounding acres – thousands of acres – of protected state land. At an elevation of just over 1096 feet and covering an area of about 650 acres, Canadice is the smallest and highest of the eleven Finger Lakes. A trail on the western lakeshore is ideal for walking, birding, bicycling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Sandwiched between Hemlock to the west and Honeoye Lake to the east, the 95 feet deep glacial wonder hosts an abundance of fish species – a variety of bass, trout, and pan fish, along with landlocked salmon draw fishers in summer as well as winter. Boating is limited to small craft, less than 17 feet and with a maximum of 10-horse power, making it a popular spot for kayaking and canoeing. *An area outfitter offers rentals for those wishing to explore the waters.
With the surrounding wilderness reflecting off the still surface and dragonflies leading us to magical places, we canoe these waters as the earliest inhabitants did, hundreds of years before European settlers claimed the Lake and the surrounding countryside as their own. Part of a two lake system that supplies, along with Hemlock Lake, drinking water for the City of Rochester, Canadice’s shorelines are undeveloped. The only visible legacy of its historic past, as a holiday get away and thriving lumber industrial center for the area’s earliest settlers, are the remnants of cabin foundations, the skeleton of a long ago abandoned car and small patches of domestic perennials from cottage-side gardens. **A delightfully curated online site offers us glimpses back to the times before, when parasol laden ladies strolled along the shores, after disembarking from steam ferries carrying Rochester vacationers across the water to the lakeside resorts. We walk often along these shores – taking in the sights and sounds, standing between the echoing hills as Bald eagles in flight cast their spirited shadows from above.
Canadice offers above all else, a place for quiet reflection. We have been here five years, and are still discovering and rejoicing in all that the area has to offer – it is a truly magical place that holds embedded deep within the glacial rocks, drifting water voices and fairy whispering fern lands the memories of travelers through time. Perhaps the feeling of Canadice Lake is best expressed by those most closely tied by passing time to this place.
Canadice Lake native Ben Haravitch captured in song his interpretation of the spirit of the place that is Canadice Lake.
“I wrote this song when I was considering committing to a life out west based around my romantic relationship at the time, and the thought of never living near Canadice Lake again. The fiddle tune at the end of the recorded versions (Crawdiddies and Bros. Blue) is called “Love Bug Stomp” (co-composed by Heather Taylor), a subtle hint as to what came of the relationship…
Canadice Lake/Love Bug Stomp
Late at night in the pouring rain
I was sitting on the shore.
Flash of green, I ain’t never seen
Lightning like that before.
So far away is yesterday
I lie awake and hear her snore.
If I could dream I know I’d be
Back sitting on that shore.
I hear the sound, the sound of the lake.
Give me more, give me more, give me all that I can take.
And if I could, this whole life I would forsake
If it would get me any closer to the hills of Canadice Lake.
I never guessed I’d move out west
And be a fish, no use for gills.
If I could swim, I’d be back in
That sea of rolling hills.
Instead another night, as she lay in tight
I fear I never will return
To where an eagle flies and a small mouth dies
And a candle slowly burns…
*Ben Haravitch – http://www.benharavitch.com/
D.E. Bentley is the owner of Canadice Press. She edits the Owl Light News, a monthly print and online Finger Lakes region independent newspaper that offers a slow journalism media approach – inviting readers to linger in the quiet owllight hours to read, listen and reflect.