Saturday, May 6, 2017

Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve

My friend Nancy posted on Facebook a link to a 2 .5 mile hike in Princeton and asked if anyone wanted to join her. I was feeling a case of the mind was willing, but the flesh was weak. The concept of a hike sounded nice, and the weather wasn't too terrible (very overcast, looked like it could rain any minute, BUT it was in the 60s). After a 5k run in the park, while Don took Ashley to ride Ollie, I gave it a try.

Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve is located on Mountain Avenue in Princeton (near the police station). From the street I had no idea there were miles of trails tucked in the woods, or that it has several ponds and streams. Nancy and I said we should return with Laura and explore more of the trails together.

I was about 10 minutes late, and for once a group activity started on time, but Smokey the Bear's helpers told me which way to go (photo post hike). I headed to the right. Soon I heard voices so I left the nature trail and went towards the voices on the paved portion where I bumped into a Girls on the Run session (Girls on the Run is So MUCH Fun!), but not the hikers.

Thanks to modern technology Nancy posted virtual breadcrumbs -- we are on the white trail; crossed two wooden bridges and one creek with rocks. I texted back what I was passing, and a photo -->

Her texts became more frequent and I was able to catch up the group. It helped that the group was pausing as the naturalist explained what we saw, and described the work they have done to preserve this area. As was much of Princeton, they sustained damage in 2012 due to Hurricane Sandy. The result was losses of mature trees, which left room for invasive plants to move in and, well, invade the area.

Here are some pictures from the hike. As you can tell from the above picture I was not dressed properly. I was thinking nature "walk" and not nature "hike." I really need better shoes next time.

One of the naturalists pointed out this lake was formed in the 19th century in order to harvest ice. Kids, old people call the refrigerator an "ice box" because modern technology of the day had people put a block of ice in it in order to keep food cold enough to preserve. The winter of 1905-1906 was particularly warm and no ice was formed on the lake. By 1929 technology deemed them obsolete.

I bet the place is packed when the sun comes out! We were lucky. Though the sky kept threatening to rain, it only spritzed a few minutes. 

Happy birthday, Nancy.

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