Autumn Adventure at Skaneateles Lake
First stop: Skaneateles Conservation Area (SCA) in the Town of Skaneateles, northeast of the lake. According to the NY Falls website [http://nyfalls.com/waterfalls/guppy-falls/], the SCA is a “unique habitat protected by the Town of Skaneateles who purchased land around this crucial tributary from owners and farmers in order to preserve the unique ecosystem. The area contains two ponds, numerous acres of wetland habitat, and stream access.”
A steep but brief start to the hike got us to the Rudl Trail, which we followed to get to Guppy Falls, which is a 20-foot cascade over the shale bedrock, typical of the area. The stream flow is very dependent upon rainfall. As we have had a fair amount of rain in recent weeks, we were treated to the delightful sound of water tripping down the rock face.
On the way back from the falls, we were enchanted to come across this blanket of Myrtle in the middle of the woods. I imagined it to be a little gnome city, with all kinds of activity going on under the protective cover of a periwinkle skyline!
Next stop: the town of Mottville for a sojourn down the Charlie Major Trail along Skaneateles Creek. Maintained in the corridor that used to be the Skaneateles Short Line, this not quite mile-long trail features natural and culturally historic milestones along the way. The three miles of track between Skaneateles and Skaneateles operated as a railroad under several different names between 1840 and 1981. Over the years the railroad was used for both passengers and cargo, but one of the main commodities was ice that came out of the lake in the winter to be used for refrigeration!
A casual stroll down the trail reveals remnants of buildings that were used for a large mill at the time of the Civil War, which made uniforms for the Union Army. This area was later home to a malt brewery, a window sash mill, a cashmere shawl mill, and other factories. We were intrigued by the partially collapsed structures, and imagined them in their heyday,
The trail is named for former Town Supervisor Charlie Major, who also served as a town justice and local historian. In giving tours, he would state that this was the “widest railroad in the world.” Of course, then he would clarify that all railroads are the same size, but that “there aren’t any wider!”
Lunch overlooking the lake at the Blue Water Grill and a stroll down the pier concluded another enjoyable day of exploring! Perhaps this sign summarizes our opinion of a day spent exploring in this wonderful, unique region that we are blessed to call home!
This last photo shows two boats in the boathouse (his and hers?) at the north end of the lake. Thanks to Pat Atkinson for all of these photos!