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Synopsis

The story begins with the author as a child getting an unwitting education in the ways of moving water by playing in the creek that flowed by his boyhood home. The McNaull residence was located between a railroad embankment and a highway which were confining borders for a kid growing up. Finally aging and being permitted beyond these barriers lead to the discovery of canoeing. The first trials and errors of boating and a slow advance to different types of canoe trips are covered in the text. Then a birthday gift of a Pennsylvania stream map changed the authors canoe plans to give them some direction, and a goal to complete all of the canoeable waterways in the state was formed. At first the aim to do all of the creeks was not too seriously taken, but as the blue lines on the map were filled in, this indicated that it could be achieved. The pursuit of a lot of little creeks and unrecorded ones finally led to completion of the goal over thirty-three years of paddling. The struggle to complete the most difficult creek was a high point in the game, and a ten yard escape from going over a thirty foot waterfall was an event the author would never forget. The adventures of the course taken on tide waters, in swamps, through industrial zones, of hazards encountered, wildlife, and severe weather conditions are spread throughout the writing. Memories of the twenty-two canoes and kayaks used and of the large ships that his canoe had been up close to on the Delaware River and Lake Erie are mentioned for the record. The voyagers, who traveled with the author on unknown creeks and on week-long river journeys, brought life to the activities of the day. Some of the many interesting people met along the highway of water are included in the writings. In the end the author reviews some of the good and bad practices of canoe sport with the hopes of improving establishment thinking throughout the canoe-kayak fraternity. -William V. McNaull

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