Back to the ROC II

Sunday was pretty quiet and included a visit to First Unitarian, which was good, if somewhat weird since I’ve been gone quite a while now, and most people were at General Assembly. Otherwise, it was very hot, so there was a trip to cool down at an oddly-juxtaposed gelato shop / African art gallery/store on Park Ave.

Chimney Bluffs View 1

Monday was the big day though: we drove out to Chimney Bluffs along the lake, just past Sodus Bay, getting there for some hiking and lunch. The drive up was very pretty, with scenic apple orchards and lakefront-style houses in little villages among the trees and fields. Just what “America” is supposed to look like in summer! It was a hazy, humid day where the blue of the water seemed indistinguishable from the blue of the sky.

Where's the horizon?
Hazy air color study with rock.

Of course, there was a fair bit of geology and erosion talk along the way, including this example of fractured rock.

Rock fracture

Chimney Bluffs is a cool spot where the myriad drumlins of northern New York state happen to be chopped off halfway along their length by the shoreline’s erosion.

Chimney Bluffs View 2

The drumlins are formed by glaciers scraping along the surface of the land, leaving “fields” of elongated humps.

Sand + pebbles

So upstate NY is all covered with these funny elongated hills made from “glacial till,” which is all the unsorted rocks and things the glacier picked up and moved southwards. So unlike a lot of other deposited material in other situations (which would be more uniform in composition and sorted by size due to how erosion and things work), it is made of all sorts of different kinds and sizes of rock from all over the place. Where the lake has eroded right through the cross-section of the drumlin, you can see all the crazy interesting rocks sticking out of the embankment, and some places there are precariously balanced boulders that just haven’t broken out of the drumlin and rolled down to the shore quite yet.

Erosion at work

Some of the views from the top of the cliff trail reminded me wonderfully of the views off Riven’s cliffs!

Chimney Bluffs from clifftop 1
Clifftop path
Chimney Bluffs from clifftop 2
Chimney Bluffs from clifftop 3

This thing was really cool. There were a whole bunch of little holes where shore birds had made their nests, all in a row. It’s a little hard to see, but there are some birds coming and going as they delivered bugs or whatever they were finding to their babies. It was quite a hive of activity as they fluttered around and then soared off so gracefully through the air, big swoops that never brought them to land.

Bird Spire
Chimney Bluffs shore

Tyler and I had a good time exploring and discussing story characters and the historical figure, Morbuc Jicama, Mexican nemesis to the great explorer John Wesley Powell. Morbuc is apparently the reason that many of John Wesley Powell’s expedition members disappeared – it was an evil plot to lead them astray and strip Powell of his success. Unfortunately, little is known about Morbuc, and we hope to uncover more of his story on future hikes. Tyler did his impression of a great explorer portrait as a result:

Tyler at Chimney Bluffs

The hike was followed by a visit to Rochester’s old world pub, the Old Toad, to watch Germany play Algeria in the World Cup, which was fun. After that it was back to Blacksburg for a few days before the 4th of July on the other side of Virginia!

6 Responses to “Back to the ROC II”

    • ellen
      | Reply

      Maybe you can get a tour from the local expert. ;)

  1. Ariana
    | Reply

    I agree! Beautiful pictures!

  2. Ruby
    | Reply

    Very nice photos Ellen. I remember having this same “geology lesson”, from Tyler, in our living room, a couple of years ago. Went there only once, 30 years ago, with a photography class group from RMSC.

    • ellen
      | Reply

      Thank you! Yes, he’s good at explaining geology in enthusiastic ways – I think it makes for a good tour guide.

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