Friday, August 17, 2012

Rochester's Silver Lake

Once Judi and I moved out of the downtown area, we started looking for short jaunts we could take to get out of the motel room. We'd heard a lot about Silver Lake - everyone flocks there to view the 4th of July fireworks, concerts are held along the river that flows into it, people boat on it. It looked promising on the map. For reference, we are staying over by Kutsky Park on the left of the map and the Mayo Clinic buildings are along Center Street below the park marked # 9 near the center of the map. In fact, we realized that the water we were seeing from Judi's hospital room was Silver Lake and not a wide spot in the river. Looked more like a holding pond from the 10th floor, but we decided to reserve judgment until we saw it up close. I mean, how bad could it be, this lake with a bike trail all around it and a nice park used for multiple civic events?

Oh dear, pretty bad. Granted, we drove out for the initial inspection on an overcast day that sprinkled rain, but it looked very small and bleak with such a flat backdrop compared to our Pacific Northwest standards.

And we'd chosen to visit the side where they rent boats and feed the geese. I later found out that this lake is formed by a small dam providing electricity and as such does not freeze in the winter. It accommodates up to 30,000 geese that migrate through in the fall, some of which stay year round because of the open water. This bridge spanned the narrow end that I suppose is more river than lake.

Judi thought it a really weird bridge - those high railings and all. I figured it was to keep people from trying to commit suicide by jumping off it once they'd been depressed by the flat view and murky waters! Yes, we were not enamored of the view. But I did kind of like the effect of the bridge head on. It had quite an arch to it.

We drove around to the other side of the lake and discovered that there was a very nice park there, so on a nice day, we packed a lunch and headed over to enjoy some fresh air and nature.

This was after that terrible heat wave when it really was too hot to be outside. It was the first break in that heat, very breezy and a relief to be outside. Judi even put on her new shorts for the occasion. But no wading in the you see how brown that water is?

This side of the lake also has some lovely stone bridges that we could view from our picnic table. I haven't found any information on them, but they remind me of the sort of thing built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930's & 40's.

This side of the lake doesn't have as many geese flocking to it, but this little troop swam by and waddled past, not the least bit interested in us or our food.

It was hard for us to believe anyone would really boat on this lake, chancing capsizing into that water, but it wasn't long until these two kayakers showed up.

Wildflowers bloomed near the water - we couldn't remember the names of any of them but they did add a little color the scene.

Judi laid in the sun while I sketched, then we got off our duffs and found a trail that led over those stone bridges. These trails had not been kept up and it was a bit like traversing a jungle - I could have used a machete. That's Judi leading the way.

But for my money, these bridges are the stars of this park.

Loved the patterns created by the size and placement of those stones.

I'd hustled Judi and the hastily packed lunch as quickly as I could out to the park, for fear we'd lose the good weather if we took time to eat lunch in the room first. Turns out I wasn't entirely wrong about that. Not long after we returned to the motel and settled in, the wind picked up and the heavens opened in an impressive downpour.

Followed, of course, by a rainbow.

As always, mesmerized by reflections in water, here is one last shot of one of the stone bridges, cropped and  adjusted in Corel Paint Shop Pro. Click on any picture for a larger view.

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