We’re Bluffing

3 August 2016 – Bluff. One short word, at least three meanings.

  1. noun or verb: a pretence of strength or confidence, to gain an advantage
  2. adjective: good-natured, blunt, frank, hearty
  3. noun: a cliff, having a vertical or steep broad front

I teased you with # 1 in the post title, but in fact the Tuesday Walking Society is out there enjoying # 3.

Phyllis & I are down by Lake Ontario in Bluffers Park, with its stunning 14 km of … yes … bluffs.

Scarborough Bluffs, from Bluffers Park

We first head west from the parking lot, suitably grateful to the Wisconsin glacier for all this beauty — and, layer by layer, this geological record of the last stages of the Great Ice Age.

The glacier first swept in some 70,000 years ago, creating a large river delta and depositing the sediments, now laden with fossil plants & animals, that compose the first 46 m. of the bluffs. The final 61 m. are alternating layers of boulder clay & sand, laid down in subsequent glacial advances & retreats until the final retreat, some 12,000 years ago.

It truly is awe-inspiring. It also, apparently, tempts idiots to do idiotic things.

warninf! don't be an idiot

Ah well.

Lake-side we look across an inlet to a grassy, treed point of land. See the synchronicity of picnic tables? Up top,  finicky humans, who expect the table to include legs & benches. In the water, a humble swan, who thinks the table-top is quite enough, thank you.

two picnic tables...

We find, then walk a path that takes us from our lake-side beach to that point of land. It leads us along a very pretty pond, with water-lilies & a rather large drowsing turtle, and the shimmering reflection of that westward range of bluffs.

view over settling pond westward to the bluffs

But it’s not just a pretty pond! It’s hard at work, 24/7. Walkways & screenings tell us what’s happening here; we’ve seen them in Humber Bay Park, at the western end of the city’s chain of lake-front parks.

view of apparatus in settling pond

These ponds catch storm water surging toward the lake from city sewers, and settle out the sediments. Thank you Karl Dunker, the Swede who invented Dunker’s Flow, the system that allows some heavy-duty water management to be carried out so unobtrusively.

Now Phyllis & I turn eastward, doubling back past the parking lot, then on a blissfully shady path alongside various marinas, and finally to the public beach and, beyond that, the eastern range of bluffs.

view along the eastern range of bluffs

Message to idiots: don’t climb the bluffs, right, you’ve got that message. Also, should you happen to be in parkland atop the bluffs, don’t prance yourself out to the very, very edge.

This is why.

overhang along the eastern range

Quite the overhang, yes?

We stand mesmerized for a bit, watching some idiot prance himself darn near the very, very edge. We fantasize watching him do a Homer-Simpson cartwheel down the cliff, squealing as he goes.

It doesn’t happen. He retreats, safe & sound. We walk on, soon diverted by a narrow rivulet that widens as it twists & turns its way down to the lake.

a rivulet joining the lake, on the western edge of the public swimming area

We follow it, then walk on, at water’s edge, our boots pressing into the firm wet sand. It is all very peaceful & very beautiful.

And also very hot & very sunny. Perhaps this is enough? we ask each other, not wishing to join the ranks of idiots, albeit for a different reason.

We decide to walk almost to that striated bluff down there …

a bluff near the eastern end of the range

its layers a striking example of all those glacial advances & retreats … and then, prudently, we turn back west.

This time we follow a broad path away from the lake edge, caught between trees on one side and grasses & other greenery at the foot of the bluffs. Wooden fence posts mark the way, the musky high-summer odours of wildflowers fill the air, cicadas sing, everything is bleached & somnambulant.

path along the eastern range of bluffs

We, too, feel bleached & somnambulant.

Don’t worry. A little later we’re tucked up in a favourite café, and we’re all perky again.

Speaking of coffee …

Some of you were as amazed as I, to discover coffee cupping. (See “In My Cups,” 23 July.) Here’s your chance to take part in a cupping — or perhaps join a workshop in roasting or brewing coffee, instead. If you live in Toronto, that is. Visit the education page of Merchants of Green Coffee to learn more. And hurry: the next cupping workshop is Wednesday, Aug 10.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Bill Allen

     /  3 August 2016

    Another great blog!!

    Reply

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