They take a deep breath in. It’s controlled and elated, with each inhale they bring themselves further away from the distant memory of stress, and soothed into a nubile state of complacency. As the air leaves their lungs, consumed of its oxygen it becomes a carbon slurry. The breath lofts up, bounding straight for the foliage above. The tree absorbs and transforms this back to its original, potent form in which we all need. There is a flicker of green, as the leaves dance in a breeze that caresses and cools the hikers skin. This gas exchange, between the hikers and plants is a continuous cycle that benefits both parties. They need the plants, and the plants need them. It’s this basic fact that contributes to the plethora of reason why hikers enjoy the outdoors: hiking brings the participants a level of peace that is uniquely achievable in nature.
Trekking White Lake State Park has a high level of accessibility and is equally rewarding. Maneuvering the path across the lake takes a mere 40 minutes and is still chalked full of observable quirks and natural nuances that are missed from the swimming area. The brief video will grant you a small, condensed, blurry window into what this path has to offer.
It’s open season on wood boring insects. The tree has been pulverized, leaving fist sized holes strategically placed along the wooded carcass. Shredded fragments of the woodpeckers labors remain at the base of the tree. Considering the sheer volume of carved wood is astonishing, and enough to make anyone’s head spin. Sights like this are not uncommon here at White Lake, and is one of the features commonly appreciated by nature enthusiasts. Though the tree is long dead, it provides a perfect ecosystem for the animals, and signs such as this all point to a healthy and diverse park.
The mucky water provides a hiding spot for creatures better left to the imagination, but this doesn’t detract from the fact that this is one of my favorite places on the hike. Plants flourish in the nutrient rich, brown water, providing a scenic place to stop and have a relaxing sit. This marshy area marks the halfway point around White Lake and is particularly biodiverse. During my night hike program fireflies are always seen at this area. It’s easy to become hypnotized by the pulsing pale yellow light emanating from the insect’s lantern. This effect is expanded because the glass-like swamp mirrors the light show. The females stay stationary on nearby plants, signaling to the males as they waltz above the water, flashing almost in unison with the Bull Frog’s song.
Throughout the entire journey there are many wonderful sights of the lake. From up to down: blue green blue. The sky starts the scene, quietly boasting of is soft blue wonder. Beautiful forested moutainscapes protrude into the sky while simultaneously transitioning to the translucent lake. Blue green blue. The palate used to paint the scenery that is White Lake is nothing but top notch, and this is evident from every angle along the hike. So whether you’re camping, or just staying for the afternoon, don’t miss an opportunity to walk the White Lake trail.
-Ryan Kintz, White Lake State Park Interpreter