My motivation failed me this morning. I didn't sleep well last night, so I was exhausted, and it was pouring rain and forecast to continue raining all day. It didn't help that I hadn't done anything last night to prepare for a hike. On my school day hikes, I get Frankie up and ready for school, feed us breakfast, pack his lunch, the whole nine yards. It is always a mad dash just getting the little slug out the door on time, and that's without dedicating any time or energy to my own preparations. He has a sweet habit of wanting to cuddle on the couch between eating breakfast and brushing teeth, and that is not the kind of thing that can be discouraged... he'll outgrow it soon enough, so we're going to savor it while it lasts (he does the same thing with Erwin the other four days a week when I'm at work).
Since I couldn't pull it together enough to drive to one of the more distant trailheads on my to-hike list, I decided I would hike around the lakes at Green Lakes State Park. It is quite close by, and I hadn't been lately. The entire circuit around both lakes is only 3 miles, alleviating the need to bring a lot of gear. No backpack, no camera, no ten essentials. Phone and drink in the rain coat pockets, check. Also, I rarely walk the loop around the lakes, because it is usually so crowded. Could the rainy day be an opportunity? Perhaps the weather would keep the crowds away.
I parked in the large eastern lot closest to the bathhouse, so that by hiking in a counterclockwise direction, I could pass through the beach and associated developed area first, getting them out of the way. The beach is another reason I don't favor this part of the park. There is simply no way to walk around Green Lake and avoid it entirely. The rest of the shoreline is undeveloped, and gorgeous, making the incursion of the beach even more of a travesty (it is not a natural beach; the Civilian Conservation Corps hauled the sand in to create the beach). At least Round Lake is still pristine, enough so to be a designated National Natural Landmark.
Today I lapped both lakes, and while the rain no doubt lessened the hordes, I still saw at least 20 other parties. The rain let up mid-way through my hike, so some folks probably came out after the weather brightened up. Many regular runners and dog-walkers probably live quite nearby. The popularity of this park is well deserved. It truly is beautiful, and deserves the strongest of protections... just don't come for solitude.