Sunday, July 03, 2005

Yes! Even I Can Canoe Ten Miles and Live to Tell the Tale!

No, I'm not quite one with my laptop and recliner. Having heard how great the weather was going to be, Jim and I decided to drive up to Cook State Forest and canoe yesterday. There's a very gentle river in the forest (the Cook River, one imagines) and lots of places to rent canoes. We did the four mile canoe trip two years ago, survived it, and decided to try the ten mile trip yesterday.

Cook State Forest is a little over two hours northeast of Pittsburgh (79N-80E-66N-36S). We got up there a little before 10am, and were suprised to see no line for canoes. This was a little confusing to us, given the phenomenal weather and the holiday weekend. The last time we'd gone on a Saturday, there was about a half hour wait in line just to rent the canoe.

After enough canoers arrived, they loaded us in a van and drove a few miles up the river. Then we got in the canoes, and, with a little help, took off down the river. The first mile or so, the four canoes stayed pretty close together - there was almost no one else in that part of the river. It was a brilliant blue day and I wish my digital camera had been working!!

After a bit, however, the river got very shallow, so we kept having to get out of the canoe and carry it through the shallower water. As Jim and I had never done that before, it really slowed down our trip. So that could exaplain why there were relatively few canoers on that part of the river - they knew canoing in shallow water wasn't much fun.

Eventually, we got back into deeper water, and wound up making fairly decent time. It took us under 3 1/2 hours to paddle 10 miles downstream.

Jim got a wretched sunburn on his knees, but I managed to apply the sunscreen as needed and emerged reasonably unburned.

We didn't see any interesting animals - no deer or bears or anything bigger than vacationers' dogs. We saw lots of birds, particularly woodpeckers, and the occassional butterfly.

I had plans to go to one of Jim's cousins picnics today, but woke up with a bad sinus headache. While I didn't feel like going out to be sociable, I actually made very good progress on the novel today. Last night, I'd finally finished the infamous Chapter 17, a chapter that's been taking me ages to write and has changed more dramatically than any other part of the book. I also updated my Word story submission template, based on the Writers Market suggested format, and integrated all the novel chapters into one long Word master document. So the novel is currently 94,800 words or 442 double-spaced pages (I think that corresponds to about a 220-page book). I think it'll top out at about 110,000 words.

1 comment:

Damon Lightley said...

Thats the nice thing about canoeing, you can take it as gently as you like.