My first visit to this place was last fall. Even though it’s always been in my backyard, so to speak, I’d never bothered to see it firsthand. So back I went this week, with wife and grandson in tow, to take another look. Interestingly, the wind was blowing furiously off of Lake Ontario, just as it was last fall. Which makes it a tiny bit dangerous, since the trail up to the top of the bluffs runs right along the edge. Slip or trip over one of the many tree roots growing on the trail and it’s a long slide down.
What caught my attention in this image of the 3 toothlike structures is the rocks that are embedded in them. If you look closely, you can see some large stones protruding from the sides of each. Kind of like pointed candy bars filled with peanuts. The question, of course, is what the heck created these things?
The answer is (or was) ice. Ice that was part of the last great glacier to come south out of what is now Canada. When it receded some 12,000 years ago, it left large deposits of dirt, stones, and everything else that it had picked up on its way south. Not to mention gouging out countless channels that became present day streams and rivers. The structures you see here were once very large drumlins (oblong hills of dirt and stone). Basically the same kinds of structures that created the entire Finger Lakes region. But thousands of years of erosion have taken their toll. Most of the structures near the lake have long since disappeared. These are the only ones left.
And someday (relatively) soon they’ll be gone. Geologists say that these bluffs are eroding at a rate of 1 to 5 feet per year. They’re always changing. And believe it or not, there’s actually red sandstone in these things (along with limestone and metamorphic Canadian rocks).
But don’t worry – you still have time to visit. Just be careful on that narrow trail up at the top.