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Chimney Bluffs State Park

>> Sunday, July 15, 2012

For some reason, Chimney Bluffs State Park recently came up in a conversation among my Dad, my husband and me.  I think we'd been discussing the geology there because my Dad had just taken a course on glaciers.  

I like Chimney Bluffs - it's a neat place - though I tend to forget about it when I'm looking for a place to go for a walk.  Since we'd discussed it recently, when I found myself (briefly) at loose ends on Saturday I decided to take a quick trip out there.  Mind you, I have been wanting to take my husband there since he's never been and the discussion about it had piqued his interest, but he was unfortunately working Saturday and still hasn't experienced the place.  Oh well - an excuse to go back again soon!

I had partially chosen to go for a walk up by Lake Ontario because Saturday was blisteringly hot and humid.  I thought, gee, it will be cooler up by the lake, there will be a nice breeze.  Not so much.  Instead, it was still 92 degrees and suffocatingly humid up there, and all that heat was just making the Lake stink to high heaven.  Lucky for you, my readers, odors don't come through on blog posts, so you're spared the reek of giant dead carp and rotting seaweed.  Frankly, Lake Ontario is kind of nasty most of the time - there was a ton of garbage on the beach, as always, and a lot of dead things.

Too, it was ridiculously crowded.  I had never seen so many people there.  There were long strings of motor boats tied up together and floating in the bay, and dozens and dozens of people walking on the beach.  It made getting photos of the cliffs difficult since I didn't want random sunburned strangers in my photos.  I'm picky that way.  But despite the crowds, the heat, the stickiness, and the stench, I still got a few cool shots that I like.

The "cliffs" are essentially eroded dirt.  They were formed out of glacial till that was deposited there during the last ice age, and because they are just dirt and small rocks, they are constantly changing and eroding.  The ice on the Lake plays a role in their formation and erosion too, because it breaks up in huge, powerful, churning chunks in the spring.  I am not certain whether the rocks in this embankment are naturally in the embankment and slowly drop out as the dirt around them erodes, or whether the ice and/or waves smashed them into the bank.  Regardless, they're cool.

I liked this section of cliff, too, since you can see such clear striations in it.  

As I strolled along the beach I encountered a small, well-camouflaged friend.  Can you spot him?

Here he is.

He just sat and let me take his portrait without complaint.  I'm not entirely sure how healthy he was - the beach of the Lake doesn't seem like a very frog-friendly spot.  He had little flies walking around all over him, including across the surface of his eyes.  (I kept wanting to tell him to lick himself for a snack!)  But when I finally reached out a finger to touch him, he gave a great healthy leap, so he can't have been too bad off.

Alas, I only had a small window of time for a walk, and had to leave before I got too far down the beach.  It was nice to have a little bit of time there, though, with the blue sky and waves.  I shall leave you with the rest of my photos.


A North Country Walk to the River

>> Sunday, July 8, 2012

I just spent a lovely weekend in Canton, New York with wonderful friends.  We generally make a trip up there right around the 4th of July every year for a birthday party celebration for a good friend, M.  While we've been known to make a round trip drive in one day, this year I decided I needed a little time away from home.  My poor husband took the previous weekend off to visit his brand new nephew, which was wonderful, but that meant he was stuck working this entire weekend.  Rather than miss out on the fun or have to do all the driving in one day, he generously allowed me to abandon him to his labors, and I threw a tent in M's truck and headed up to the country.

Canton is home to me in a lot of ways.  I only lived there for a few years, but miss it terribly.  If I could earn a decent living up there I'd move back in a heartbeat.  But I can't - not with my school loans.  Its country ways and small town personality suit me marvelously, so I just make do with visiting when I can.

The host for the annual birthday party is M's mother, who lives in a little house on a country road on property that was once farmed by her father.  Since it's a small house and I didn't want to take up space, I pitched a tent in the huge country yard for the weekend, where I could listen to the bullfrogs in the swamp as I fell asleep.  I do so love sleeping in a tent.

On one sweltering afternoon, M decided to show me the walk to the Grasse River so his dog Lexus and I could go for a swim.  The photos show the walk through the farm fields to the River.  The farm fields are now just hayed, and thankfully had recently been mowed.  But M loves that it's essentially the old family homestead, and was excited to show me a piece of his childhood.  I loved the picturesque old farm equipment along the way.


The walk was wonderful... except for the @$%&! deer flies.  My God!  North Country bugs I swear are more voracious than most other varieties.

I loved it though, despite the deer flies.  The whole experience somehow reminded me of the song Farmer's Daughter by Rodney Atkins... the farm hand cooling off in the creek before going "back to work in that dad gum heat".

Our swim convinced me that I am a water rat.  I hate crowded beaches or public pools, but give me a nice Adirondack lake or a deserted stretch of river, and I'll just become one with it, melding into the ripples and mud and coolness for as long as I am allowed.

This last shot shows the last of the party goers in the evening, after most of the wonderful friends we see too seldom had left to put tired, sun baked kids to bed.  It, too, reminds me of a country song, Barefoot Blue Jean Night by Jake Owen.  Romantic and lovely as it looks, this one is omitting the voracious blood-sucking mosquitoes that were plaguing us.  Oh well.  Even my beloved North Country has to have a flaw.


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