Needing something different to write about today, I named this post Wonderful World Wednesday. Today’s post focuses on one of the Great Lakes – Lake Ontario.
If you’ve never seen one of the Great Lakes in the United States, you need to get to one of the five as soon as you can! They include Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior. Proudly, I can claim that i’ve seen all of them and even dipped my toes in three.
I remember when I brought my college friends home freshman year for a long weekend in the spring. I was the only one from Western New York. Two were from Central New York and one was from downstate, near New York City but from a farm in the Hudson Valley. This last friend, from the farm, could not believe Lake Ontario when I took them on the fifteen minute drive from my house to show them the shore. First, she looked at Long Pond and said is that the lake? I had to suppress a laugh so as not to offend her.
“No,” I said, “that’s Long Pond. The lake is on the other side of the road.” The road we were on was Edgemere Drive, which runs between the small ponds and the lake. I knew at that moment what the reaction seeing the lake was going to bring for my friend. And, I wasn’t disappointed!
The Great Lakes are huge! Our school district encompassed a large area of the Lake Ontario shore west of Rochester, New York. One of my friend’s backyards butted up to the lake. The shore was not directly accessible as their yard was built up and rose ten feet or more above the water. Sandbagging those homes, such as my friend’s that lined the lake, was a regular occurrence in the spring for many years. Water would often make Edgemere Drive inaccessible as the pond waters would rise, along with the lake level, causing the homes and yards to flood.
The Great Lakes can be beautiful and fun or ugly and dangerous. Lake Ontario, the smallest of the great lakes in surface area, is no different than her larger counterparts. It is larger than Lake Erie in volume, as it is much deeper and also holds the distinction of being the 13th largest lake in the world. Sources: Wikipedia and LiveScience.com.
I do not recall any personal dangers from living near Lake Ontario but when you look across the water and cannot see anything else on the horizon, it instills a great respect for the lake. Storms were nasty and I can recall waves being high enough to hit the picture window with ferocity in my friend’s home. The lakes can change in the blink of an eye, going from calm, glass like water to water containing high white capped waves in no time. You learned not to fool with the Great Lakes if you grew up near them.
There are some fond memories of living close to some large bodies of water in the northern hemisphere, known the world over. One of my fondest memories is witnessing the Northern Lights one summer when I was in college. Green and Orange lights danced near the horizon just above the water on a hot summer night. It was something I’ll never forget. I also recall staring very hard to try and seen the city of Toronto in the distance. Let’s just say that you cannot see Toronto from Rochester despite some claiming it was possible. Check out this article on the Rochester Mirage for more, if you are interested in urban legends.
Lake Ontario is a huge body of fresh water. Its waves lapping the shore behind my friend’s house will always be a reminder of how powerful The Great Lakes can be. After seeing Long Pond, and then Lake Ontario, my friend from college thought she had seen the ocean. No, just a really big lake. – one that I was obviously proud to live near.