Outdoors Information


Tom Sawyer Day - Floating Down The River


There were four of us on that first Tom Sawyer Day. I promised my friends an adventure-disaster, sure to get them wet and cold. Three of them took the bait. In a small daypack, we took snacks, water, a hatchet, a small saw, and whatever scraps of rope we could find.

We parked and hiked up the Manistee river a few miles. The plan was to build a raft, using dead trees and scraps of rope. Then we'd get on it and go river rafting back to the car.

It later became a much anticipated event among an ever-changing group of participants. Since it was equally fun AND dangerous, we didn't bring beer. Even sober it was a challenge to keep a thousand-pound pile of logs, with four people on it, from going where it wanted to go. Where it wanted to go usually involved pain and cold water, but with each trip we learned a little, and sometimes even stayed dry.

River Rafting Geometry

Roland and I were cutting and hauling logs to the river for the first raft, while Cathy and Leslie cooked hotdogs over a fire. We did geometry on a piece of birchbark, trying to figure how many logs were needed, allowing for the dishonesty of the women's stated weights.

"Dry cedar weighs 37 pounds per cubic foot," I told Roland, "which leaves a lifting capacity of 27 pounds, since water is 64 pounds per cubic foot." The girls were laughing for some reason. "The volume of a cylindrical object is pi times the radius squared, times the length," Roland added. We measured and counted logs and began to build a raft. Soon we had a floating pile of old rotten logs carrying two adventurers and two frightened women.

Getting Wet

Cathy and Leslie sat in the middle of the raft. Roland and I stood ready to fend off the river banks and overhanging trees with our poles. We were successful for ten minutes. Then, when a horizontal tree refused to move, Roland's true colors came out. He pushed the other three of us off, to regain his balance. When we couldn't find the bottom of the river, we swam after the raft. Splashing and cursing at Roland, we climbed back on.

This first trip was in April, when the water was like ice. Sunshine warmed us, but our feet were almost always in the water. The raft didn't float very high off the water, and even worse, it began to change shape before our eyes and under our feet.

"It's a square. No wait! It's a parallelagram. Now it's a square again." The girls decided there's too much geometry in river rafting. We let the raft drift close to shore, where they stepped into the shallow water.

The water, unfortunately, wasn't shallow. When the girls reappeared from the depths and climbed up the sandy bank, we waved goodbye. The trail went to and from the river as they headed for the car. Leslie was hiking in her wet bra and panties on our next sighting. This part of the story was crucial to recruiting young men for future Tom Sawyer Days.

Running

Thirty minutes later, Cathy and Leslie saw the raft floating empty down the river. Then they saw Roland and I running along the opposite side, trying to catch up. There had been a tree that stuck out from the bank, low to the water. Despite our excellent rafting skills, we were unable to avoid it. We thought we'd jump over it as the raft passed underneath. It seemed reasonable at the time. It didn't seem so when Roland was pushing my face into the tree while climbing over me to get to shore.

The raft traveled on as we ran through swamp and woods, pretending this was part of the plan when the girls saw us. It floated near the riverbank just as we caught up to it. We leapt on it, and were back in control. Well, more or less.

"How do we get off?" Roland asked me, as we neared the car. We decided to just get close to shore and jump. As I started up the big hill to the car, I turned to see Roland still hanging over the river from a tree. Tom Sawyer Day went a little smoother the next time.

Steve Gillman is a long-time backpacker, and advocate of lightweight backpacking. His advice and stories can be found at http://www.TheUltralightBackpackingSite.com


MORE RESOURCES:
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news


Mashable

How LGBTQ people are breaking down barriers to take on the great outdoors
Mashable
Up until approximately, mmm, yesterday, there's been a enduring stereotype of "outdoorsy" people: They're white, cis, straight, and love granola and/or semi-automatic rifles. Of course, there have always been people who love nature and don't fall into ...



Lewiston Morning Tribune

Black Crater Trail is back from the brink
Lewiston Morning Tribune
Zach Urness has been an outdoors writer, photographer and videographer in Oregon for 11 years. He is the author of the book “Best Hikes with Kids: Oregon” and “Hiking Southern Oregon.” He can be reached at zurness@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) ...



Tallahassee.com

Outdoors: Mixed bag available for anglers
Tallahassee.com
Now is the time to go after fall migrating species. Baitfish are still abundant and fattening up on them are armies of sea trout and redfish. These fish will be around all winter and are storing up fat reserves to get them through the cold, lean times ...



Alpena News

Harry Whiteley an advocate for outdoors
Alpena News
Whiteley's drive to better Michigan's outdoors coincided with his 25 years of service on the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, including six terms as chairman, which is more than any other person in the 97-year history of the commission. With ...



This year's Hull Harbor Haunts moves outdoors
The Patriot Ledger
HULL — Legends and ghost stories will come to life in Hull during a walking tour Oct. 28. Lisa Griffin, a descendant of Hull's 19th century lifesavers, will lead a ghost walk from Hull Lifesaving Museum to Hull Village with stops along the way for ...



SoMdNews.com

Reel Report: Rocktober is here
SoMdNews.com
Potomac River — Life Outdoors Unlimited guide Kenny Penrod III (240-478-9055) said the bass seem to be in transition with no stable spot or pattern to guarantee success. Penrod's recommendation this week is to fish wood on outgoing tides with soft ...



OUTDOORS: Return of the Blob in store off shore?
Peninsula Daily News
IS ANOTHER BLOB setting up shop in the northern Pacific Ocean? Yes, according to University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor Cliff Mass. The first Blob, a mass of warm ocean water three to seven degrees above normal, parked itself in the ...

and more »


FOX 21 Online

Purple Heart Recipients to go on Outdoors Excursion
FOX 21 Online
DULUTH, Minn.-Purple Heart recipients are descending on the Northland for a special outdoors excursion. Five veterans arrived in Duluth today as they head out to Delta, WI for all the fishing and hunting they can handle. The event, being organized by ...



Western Carolina University News (press release) (blog)

University joins regional partners in grant-funded 'Growing Outdoors' project
Western Carolina University News (press release) (blog)
Western Carolina University has joined a regional collaborative that plans to use a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to boost an already thriving Western North Carolina outdoor recreation industry to an even higher level. The $940,000 ARC ...



Vermont Public Radio

Preschoolers Head Outdoors For 'Forest Day In The NEK'
Vermont Public Radio
Just a short walk into Jay's town forest from the Cross Road trailhead, you'll come across a circle of stumps that serve as an outdoor classroom for the pre-K program at Jay-Westfield Elementary School. On the other side of the trail is a clearing ...


Google News

home | site map
© 2007