Rail Trail – East River in Search of Goat Lake

Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.

W.H. Auden

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It was a very warm day for nearly mid December and so I had to continue on the trail from the last post.  I wasn’t going to miss this chance.  Shoes were laced and the map at the entrance was checked.  A woman and her dog happened out at that moment and I asked her how long to Goat Lake.  She looked taken aback so I figured she had never walked that far.  “At least an hour”, she said.  I figured on at least an hour and a half  one way as I checked the map  which showed a big upward loop and her perplexed face.  I was closer to right.

I had wanted to see Goat Lake up close and personal especially since  from the highway it looks heart-shaped.  That makes it seem special and I was determined to see it face to face.

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Three hours is a good maximum, I find though it can be closer to four with pictures and lunch stops and looking at things.  There is never enough time but one day I hope there will be.

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This time I had started early enough not to worry about faltering light and coolness.  It was not too long after 11 but I hadn’t brought any lunch thinking I would be out of there in two hours but of course that didn’t happen.  Will I never learn?

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This trail has a big upward loop up as if to avoid some land formations.  I saw a minor hill and maybe a bit of bog.

 

This post I want to focus on water as there was much on this trail and I find it really makes landscapes more interesting.  The sound and sight touches the soul and causes pause for thought.

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Trees are relaxing and there will always be fascinating flora and fauna but my heart goes all thumpity thump when I hear rivers and waterfalls or it relaxes when I stare at still water.  Nature has me in the palm of her hand and I couldn’t be happier.  I will continue to let this goddess rule over me in her fair, balanced and peaceful way.

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Water is my drink of choice all day long.  When co-workers hit the pop machine in the lunch room I will be sucking back my tap or cooler water in a bottle.  I love it.  It is the first thing I drink in the morning and the last thing at night.  In between will be coffee, tea and perhaps beer and wine.   We usually need it to clean and cook our food.

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It is necessary to wash body, clothes and dishes.  I often think about it when there are power outages and it could become scarce.  I also think of it when in foreign lands and I must always buy it by the bottle.

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What else can be so useful for body and soul?  I need it all the time for living but when I am around it in nature my soul is nourished in ways that trees just can’t accomplish.  Beaches are also amazing with their pulsing sound, eternal feel and salty smell.  They are the human and animal life blood personified on land.

Water is also necessary to wildlife as more than just a thirst quencher as I will find out on a future trail which leads to some unique findings.

So I see lovely ponds and rivers and on this trail I get to pass under the highway.  How weird to have 18 wheelers going over your head as you walk along.

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I passed another lake which later would have two men on ATV’s sitting there when I came back.  I was a bit disconcerted as they were smoking and drinking but I was friendly yet brisk and was looking at my phone just in case.  Like the city you need your survival strategies.

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One woman told me she was more worried about animals.  I feel humans could be worse but on the next trail (Chester to Goat Lake) I saw something possibly violent which made me think differently.  I have never seen a bear but they are a possibility.  I always forget what you should do except not run with your back to them I think.

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There was so much peace inspiring and soul calming water and silence on this trail.  Some would find it fear inducing as I have heard European travellers do as they are not used to it.  I am happy to become more accustomed to this.

I found it to be one of the most beautiful yet until I hit a dull tree only stretch not long after venturing into the woods to see a mystical mossy area where fallen logs made bridges by chance.  It felt weird going off trail as maybe things lived there in the dark, mossy area where humans never went.  It felt untouched and almost magical

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P1030730.JPGSo I was eventually running out of steam in my search for Goat Lake.  There was a bog which was interesting and a chickadee seemed out of place in the woods.  They like human inhabited areas.

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Just as I was about to turn back prematurely I heard the highway and knew that Goat Lake must be nearby.   And then I saw this and knew I was close.

I was finally almost at Goat Lake.  I had to remember I needed energy to reverse my tracks back.   I remember by chance I encountered a talk in a bookstore in York, England and wished I had stayed longer.  I always remember the speaker talking about climbing a mountain and he said that younger people would often surge ahead and not conserve energy and food or water for the downward trek.  This was a flat trek but similar rules applied I thought.  I have to walk back as far as I walked in.

This is another travel lesson I try to apply to life whenever necessary.  All I had on this trek was a granola bar and water.  See my granola bars of choice below.

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When I finally got to Goat Lake it looked more like a spade than a heart.  I wonder what the means.  Maybe things are often better at distance.  At least I made it.

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I was nearly the only one on the trail though there were a few on ATVs this time which I hadn’t seen lately.  They seemed friendly but they do temporarily ruin the peace.  In the summer on the Hubbards to East River trail they were stirring up dust and going faster than the trail guide recommended.

Made it to my goal.

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Is that the devil’s pitchfork?P1030772

 

More amazing water still looking good in late fall.

Still so far to go but I will make it nearly four hours.  So much to see and the silence and solitude are regenerating.  I can do this alone in the middle of nowhere.

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A former bird home in this tree I think.

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You’d think coming back on the same trail there would be little to take pictures of but there are always different views on the way back.

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A dead tree in a boggish area pointing the way.

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I took a side trail and found that water had caused it to become impassable for some reason.

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Water made this trail very relaxing and beautiful.  My desire to get to the water of Goat Lake had made me continue on beyond my initial point of tiredness which I love doing.   Push yourself past where you thought you could go.

Water also caused foam in some areas.  This is a cool sight.  The power of water.P1030833.JPG

 

P1030827.JPGThis picture belongs in the last post about wood and trees.  Here you see a birch tree with the paper coming off.  This is how messages were originally written.

In the next section I will write about how water attracted or housed various creatures.  One I had never seen before and it was pretty cool yet a bit scary.

At times especially with the ATV men I was reminded of the book/movie Wild.  A woman alone on a trail except this one is flat and graded and I do it just by day without needing to camp on it.  There are potential dangers mixed in with the beauty.  Still I feel compelled to keep following it and the next post will document the other half of this section which is Chester to Goat Lake as I park at one end and do half and then come back  and always see different things on the return trip while trying to relive what I saw on the way in and this time of year the low sun can change things quite quickly on every step of the way.

 

 

 

 

 

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