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CONTRIBUTED by Seth C. Burgess, Trail Works, Inc. (19-Dec-2009)

I went on my first cross-country ski route for the 2009-10 winter season on Thursday afternoon, 17 December 2009. Following several days of trail work at Chimney Bluffs last month, I've been wanting to try out the now-skiable loop east of the picnic area.

Tanner (dog) and I drove into the Chimney Bluffs State Park area and first waited for another pooch and owner to load into their vehicle and depart. We then headed directly toward Lake Ontario's shoreline; I skied starting at the edge of the parking lot and stayed on the grassy area heading north.

From that point--near the "No Swimming" sign--we headed east on the Bluff Trail. Picking up the blue trail markers, we followed them around the first trouble spot we came to on the trail. There's a very wet spot notorious for drainage problems from late Fall through early Spring and the State is working on building a foot bridge across the widest expanse. For now though, progress is frozen on the walking bridge at Chimney Bluffs and the blue markers will lead you on the "best route" around the area.

A few minutes further east along the beaten path, the blue trail markers split from the bluff's edge and wander into the woods. These blue markers trace a route that was originally marked by State personnel, cleared briefly by an unexperienced group of trail volunteers, and then abandoned. Recently, some new volunteers have gone back in and picked up where that group left off and made the trail "ski-ready" for this Winter season.

On the "inner" Bluff Trail (the new blue-marked trail will eventually become the Bluff Trail as the old one is falling over the edge) it was smooth sailing all the way to the top of Chimney Bluffs and to the Wayne County Passport rubbing marker. A little bit of a climb--although that's the nature of the beast isn't it?

After admiring the view of the Chimneys and my favorite eroded section--the SAWBLADE--I headed south from the rubbing marker along the Drumlin Trail, noticing the handiwork of some folks who have just cleared a substantial pile of tangled downed trees. It was a spot that had been sending hikers off-track for at least a few seasons now. Along the Drumlin Trail at Chimney Bluffs there were two downed trees about 6-8" in diameter that had to be overcome--these were the only obstacles remaining on the ski loop from the extensive trail work just done.

I turned west at the intersection with the East-West Trail which is now signed for snowmobilers and continued all the way back to the Chimney Bluffs State Park parking lot. The whole loop from the parking lot to the Bluff Trail to the Drumlin Trail to the East-West Trail and back to the parking lot measures 2.2 miles. Tanner and I found the conditions mixed. Snow glide on the "softer" trail sections was good for my skis, including the grassy part of the picnic area and some spots in the woods with a thick leaf blanket. Other parts of the trails were a bit too rocky for the thin layer of snow we currently have, so I had to be as gentle as possible and even step-motion my skis a bit. There are also several wet spots along the "inner" Bluff Trail that will disappear once we have our solid frozen snow base.

The Bluff Trail can be approached from the eastern terminus, although in Winter it'd be a technical ski up that most folks would probably choose to carry their skis up first--or snowshoe it.


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3 Comments to "First Wayne County Ski of the Season"

  1. Gil Burgess Said,

    It's enough to get me in the mood!

    Posted on Sat Dec 19, 10:18:00 AM EST

  2. Anonymous Said,

    Spotted you on your adventure. As I like to use that park often when I believe no other person would possible be out. These conditions usually keep people away. cold, dusk, and still hunting season.

    Posted on Sat Dec 19, 11:43:00 AM EST

  3. Seth C. Burgess Said,

    Hey, hey--that sounds like the old "North Huron" mentality.

    Check out this video from a ski of the Garner Point trail and "outer" Bluff Trail about a year ago, 2 January 2009.

    Posted on Mon Dec 21, 11:08:00 AM EST


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