by MARGARET MORAN, Lake Placid News, link to original post
The sounds of unseen birds chirping and the scampering of chipmunks on the forest floor met my ears as I made my way down a path lined with trees — and although it’s past peak for foliage, there were still some colors to be seen.
It was Sunday, Oct. 23 and I was taking advantage of the good weather by taking a walk along the Brewster Peninsula Nature Trails, located on Peninsula Way, and I wasn’t the only one doing so.
Everyone from families to couples and individuals — some accompanied by their dogs — were out on the trails, too. “May you find relaxation and inspiration. Take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints,” a sign instructed those traveling along the trails.
Colleen Zebchuck, of Ottawa Canada, who was on them with Don Sweet and their two dogs, said the trails are good for all ages. “It’s great for families,” she said. “It’s easy enough for young kids to walk it.”
The trail paths are wide and level making it an enjoyable stroll in nature with a wide variety of trees towering on either side; leaves, rocks and roots littering the paths; and a few downed branches and trees encroaching on the the main clearing. “We’re not experienced trail walkers,” said Dara Major, of New York City. “For a novice experience, it’s great. The trails are very well marked, and it’s just beautiful.”
When she said this, she was on Boundary Trail, an offshoot from the main clearing, surrounded by a wooden area right alongside Lake Placid.
Looking out from the Lake Placid shoreline trees and mountains could be seen beyond the lake’s shimmering waters. “It’s nice that the mountains are so close,” said Susan Crane, of Owls Head, Maine. “We don’t have that in Maine.”
Whiteface is among the mountains that can be seen along Boundary Trail, according to a informational panel stationed right before the start of the trail.
It states: “One of the cleanest lakes in New York state, Placid Lake is a water source for the Lake Placid Village. Five miles long with over 12 miles of shoreline, this 2802-arce lake includes three islands (Hawk, Moose and Buck islands). You’re on the west shore of the peninsula only .06 miles from the lake’s outlet and SOA (Shore Owner’s Association) dam. From its bridge, you can look up the lake for a spectacular view of Whiteface Mountain rising above the shoreline conifers.”
This was just one of several informational panels scattered throughout the trails informing people about the trees, wildlife and natural surroundings. “We love the differentiation — the leaves, the plants and the dam,” Zebchuck said. “It’s really beautiful.”
The most interesting aspect is that all this natural beauty is a mere minute or two drive from Saranac Avenue, one of the main drags in the village. “It’s convenient,” Sweet said. “You don’t have to drive very far to get here.”
Yet the sign for the trails is easy to miss from the road.
A hidden gem
“From the top of the road, you wouldn’t know (about them),” said Roberta Dowd, of New York City, who was accompanying Major on the trails. She said they found out about the Brewster Peninsula Nature Trails at the Lake Placid Lodge.
Jacques, of Saint Albans, Vt., said he also wouldn’t have known about them unless someone had told him. “You need to ask around to find it,” he said. “If someone from the area hadn’t told me about it, I wouldn’t have found it. I found out about it two years ago, and I’ve been coming regularly since then.”
To find the Brewster Peninsula Nature Trails, turn onto Peninsula Way, which is located between the Comfort Inn and Howard Johnson’s on Saranac Avenue. Follow the road for 0.4 miles until you see a gate with a large stop sign attached to it on the lefthand side. Right before the gate there’s an area to park your car, so you can get out and enjoy the trails.