Monday, September 10, 2012

Skipping Stones

Stacking and skipping stones is one of my favorite past times.  It can easily be shared with my kids.
This blog entry was originally published in the August 28th edition of the Kings County Record.  I have now had more than 100 columns published there and owe them a debt of thanks for continuing to print my material.  I hope they continue to do so and I hope you will consider supporting the KCR when you can.  I want to send a special thanks to David Kelly who is moving from the KCR to accept another position within the newspaper industry in southern NB.  David was always available and more than flexible with my columns.  Thanks Dave.

I have referred to this topic many times in past articles and it speaks very highly to my affinity for water.  One of my favorite past times is skipping stones and I have had this since I was a young kid.  We have so many great areas to take part in this hobby that I often get a chance to practice.  Not only do I skip the stones I sometimes take fun out of balancing them. 

Recently I had the chance to spend a rare evening with just my daughter and I took full advantage and shared my love of skipping stones with her.  We started the warm August night sharing an ice cream cone and after our ice cream we drove to a parking lot that put us next to a gravel bar along Trout Creek. 

Now when skipping stones the location is important.  The first thing you need is a great, cobble beach with lots of flat stones.  Trout Creek, Grand Lake, and the Bay of Fundy Beaches are some of my favorite places to skip rocks.  The next thing to look for is a place where the water is flat and smooth.  Skipping rocks on wavy or fast flowing water is a challenge and requires good timing and aim just to get the first skip in.  Flat or wavy, it doesn't matter, skipping rocks is a great way to kill time and get some exercise.

On flat water, with a light to modestly weighted, flat stone, and a modest throwing arm, you can get more than 20 consecutive skips.   Our location on Trout Creek offered a long stretch of flat, slow running, water where I could throw rocks upstream.  The upstream approach helps get more skips and I was easily getting 15-20 jumps from the good stones. 

The cool ripple effects are cool to watch but for my daughter she simply liked the splash the rocks made.  She struggled to throw the rocks let alone skip them but we were having fun simply being on the water.  I decided to change it up and showed her a target close by and we tossed stones at it and she was excited when her rock made the water and more so when she finally hit the nearby target.

After my arm tired out we searched for "cool" stones.  My idea of cool was a bit more sophisticated than my daughters but the joy she took out of finding different colored and shaped stones was entertaining.  She put a couple of pounds of stones in her pocket to add to what she called her "Snows collection."  Me, I pretended to put them in pocket only to take them out later when she wasn't watching.

After I got tired of walking we sat on the gravelly bar and as we chatted I built her some rock towers to know over.  Building a tower out of rocks is not as simple as it might seem.  You need to consider how the rock is shaped and how it might sit on the rocks you already have in place.  A rough surface rock is easier to balance than a smooth surface as it doesn't slide around as easy. 

The only down side of this evening was that darkness came way too quickly.  As we left the gravel bar we picked up a number of pieces of trash on the way out.  It was a great night ending with our good deed for the day.

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