It was an idyllic summer day; hot, sunny, calm and cloudless. My husband and I decided it was the perfect day to take our annual boat ride to Chimney Bluffs. The rock formations of the bluffs, resembling chimneys, are caused by rain and wind eroding the land rising above the shoreline of Lake Ontario. They are very impressive structures to which my photo above does not do justice. A friend once remarked that they should be listed as one of the wonders of the world.
You can visit Chimney Bluffs by car and, if adventurous, hike the ridge that runs along the top edge of the bluffs. Or, you can do what we did, and pack yourself a lunch, don your bathing suit and motor a few miles down the lake. Arriving at the sight of the bluffs, we dropped our boat anchor. Several other boaters were also taking advantage of this perfect summer day; diving and swimming off their boats and enjoying food and drinks. Others, on land, were either wading along the shore or hiking the edge of the bluffs. A brave few were even climbing the face of the bluffs. It was one of these “brave few” who made our relaxing little excursion a bit more exciting.
The Adventure Begins
We hadn’t been anchored very long when we heard someone from the top of the bluffs shout, “Does anyone out on your boat have a rope?” Curious about this strange request, we looked from boat to boat to see who might answer. When no one did answer, the shout was repeated, “Does anyone have a rope?” Wondering why anyone would need a rope, we glanced at the face of the bluffs and noticed a climber, feet digging into the side of the bluff and clutching with his hands any vegetation within his reach. The climber was stuck, unable to go up or down.
My Husband, The Hero
I turned to my husband and said, “We have a rope.” Grabbing the rope, which on a boat is called a “line” not a rope, my husband dove into the cold water and swam to shore. Reaching the shore, my husband climbed the path the runs along the edge of the bluffs. This is not an easy climb made even more difficult because he was barefoot. When he approached the top of the ridge he was met by the shouter. Together they tied one end of the rope to a tree and threw the other end to the frightened climber. The climber was then able to pull himself up to safety at the top of the bluffs.
The other boaters honked their horns and cheered. My husband retrieved our rescue line and returned to our boat. Once he was back on board our boat I remarked that the climber must have been very grateful. “He didn’t even say thank you,” was my husband’s reply.