Spring 2009: on my way home from Buffalo I thought I’d visit Chimney Bluffs State Park near Sodus Bay on Lake Ontario. It’d been a fine day and the previous evening I’d seen a deep, colorful sunset through the perfect amount of cloud cover. I was expecting no less today, but that was not to be the case.
I came onto the bluffs through the forest rather than along the main path by the beach. If I’d taken the beach path I might have noticed sooner what the evening would be like. As I left the woods I saw that it was not only the trees that were blocking the sun. A solid shell of dark gray covered the sky in every direction. There would be no sunset tonight. However, that did not mean there would be nothing to see.
I had heard that winters on the lake were harsh, but I had never expected to find what I did. Fallen trees were strewn along the coast like giant railroad ties without track. Initially I wasn’t even sure that I could continue to walk along the shore. The logs blocked the way completely and I had to climb over and through them to continue on toward the bluffs. Some of the logs were implanted in the sand, having fallen and been washed over all winter and spring. Some took on ghastly shapes in the twilight gloom. The surf and the growing wind helped my imagination give them life.
I finally got through the downed trees and reached the point along the shore where the true bluffs dominated the coast. The pillars still looked out over the water, even more imposing today against the growing storm than they would have been on a fair weather day. Soon the water was rising as the tide came in. I took a few last pictures before scrambling back to land that was higher and dryer. The storm chased after me with gusts of wind pushing me to move more quickly away from a place that wanted to be left alone. It was too early in the season and the bluffs needed to rest a while.