Green Lakes State Park, NY
On our road trip to Michigan Jayne and I stayed with my cousin Emily just outside of Syracuse, NY to help break up the trip. She was very excited that we gave ourselves enough time on the way home to visit a local state park. The week before, on our way out, she was telling us about all these great parks where she goes running, hiking, and cross country skiing. With only enough time to visit one park Emily picked Green Lakes State Park in Fayetteville, NY. Green Lakes State Park has the usual amenities such as camping, picnic areas, swimming, boat rentals and hiking trails. The park also features an 18-hole golf course. That was a first for me, seeing a state park with a golf course. Of course come winter, the golf course becomes a snowshoe and cross country ski paradise. All things aside, the real highlight of Green Lakes State Park are the two glacial lakes. Green and Round Lakes were formed at the end of the last ice age, somewhere around 15,000 years ago. But wait, it gets even better. Both lakes are meromictic lakes.
Now you are probably wondering what a meromictic lake is. Basically this means that there is no spring and fall mixing of the water at the top and bottom of the lake. Most lakes have a period, at least once a year, where the waters mix. With no mixing occurring the lake appears to have mirror-like water. Also, due to Green Lake being 195 feet deep, light penetrates deeper down which should cause the water to be bluish. The lake though has a large amount of dissolved solids so instead of being blue, the water is green. Further below the surface there is also a pink layer! This is formed by a layer of purple sulfur bacteria.
Green Lake is the most studied meromictic lake in the world and the first one in North America to be identified as meromictic. It has been featured in NOVA: scienceNOW and National Geographic. Scientists believe that the lake was once the base of a waterfall at the end of the last ice age. This would account for why it is so deep compared to its surface area. To get a really good look down into the water I highly recommend wearing polarized sunglasses. They will get rid of some of the sun glare to allow for better viewing.