June 17, 2011

Trip Start Jun 02, 2011
Trip End Sep 25, 2011

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Where I stayed
Walmart in Hamburg, NY
What I did
Swam in Lake Erie

Flag of United States  , New York
Friday, June 17, 2011

Evangola State Park/Lake Erie, NY

We have agreed to slightly modify our trip route today.  I realized a few days ago that our existing route will take us to the shore of 4 of the 5 Great Lakes, but that we actually miss the shore of Lake Erie.  Because we are so close, we decided that we should divert today to spend a few hours along the shore of Lake Erie so we will capture the complete Great Lake experience.

It is hard to comprehend the magnitude of these lakes until you are here.  When we were in Cooperstown we drove along Lake Otsego for about 5 miles, and the girls were so amazed with how large it was that they asked if it was also considered a great lake.  I explained no, and that Otsego is much smaller than the Great Lakes, although I was not able to give a more detailed context.  Later that night I pulled out the atlas to show them, and it was really an eye-opening realization for all of us because Lake Otsego was about the size of a pencil tip, compared to the great lakes which filled half a page.  It is hard to put into context how large these bodies of water are, buy that did it pretty well!

So back to our revamped plan!  Last night instead of heading directly toward Niagara Falls, we turned south for about 15 miles at Buffalo, NY, which drives us right along Lake Erie.  At about 2am I arrived at the Hamburg, NY Walmart, where I slept until 7:30, and I then departed at 8:30 for the 30 minute trip along Lake Erie to Evangola State Park, which has beaches right on the Lake.  It was maintained very well, and from the main road there was a 1 mile drive back to the beach.  We found a huge parking area, with lots of tables and full facilities.  A very nice find!

When we arrived I first cooked a breakfast of egg with tortilla, and then the girls were quite anxious to head out to the lake.  There were several school trips there, but the park still seemed empty.  I had the girls put on their bathing suits right at the start because I realized there was no way I would keep them out of the water today!  They got changed, put on sunscreen, and took off ahead of me toward the beach.

As I walked up behind, they were already fully immersed in the water by the time I arrived.  It is really a beautiful beach...over 1/2 mile long and 100 yards deep with pure white sand.  On either edge of the beach there are very picturesque cliffs/landforms which lead up to picnic areas.  As I was admiring the landscape, the girls swam out about as far as they can go (there are ropes), and the class trip and teachers are all stood on the beach looked at them - the kids all looked jealous, and the adults looked concerned.   One man kept looking at them, and then back at me.  I watched them closely, and they were save on a sand bar with minimal tidal pull.  I finally did wave them back in a bit, and they had a grand time playing in the water and then building a castle.  We could have easily stayed for a whole day, but I did want to get back to our Niagara campground before dinner time so we could settle and get started early the next day.  After 45 minutes, I gave them a 15 minute warning which they were not at all happy with.  However, I was attracted to the areas on either side of the beaches and wanted to walk along the beach for some pictures.

When the beach time expired, we walked to the end of the beach on the north side.   It was really amazing up close, and you could see how the beach was cut out of the layers of rock.  The girls were excited because they found cool rocks and some additional walking sticks.  I get several pictures along Lake Erie, including the shot with them holding the name and date.  Since we modified our plans, we decided that it would be cool to take these pictures at each of the 5 Great Lakes.

In the end, I was very happy with our decision to divert to Lake Erie, and felt lucky to have found such an ideal park.

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Julia Smith on

First lobster, then good beer, fries and Ben & Jerry's? You all are making me hungry! Glad the weather has been pretty good. Can't wait to read about your next adventure!

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