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GUEST COLUMN: A good old ‘float down’ is a river tradition

Nadine Wark This has been a fabulous summer for making good use of the St. Clair River and Lake Huron.
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Nadine Wark

This has been a fabulous summer for making good use of the St. Clair River and Lake Huron.

With this unrelenting heat wave of 2016, I’m sure many living in Sarnia-Lambton have counted their blessings as they take regular dips in our blue waters, go boating, skiing or just relax under the Blue Water Bridges.

More than once this summer I have participated in a ‘float down,’ starting at the Ferry Dock Hill in Corunna and ending at a family member’s dock, in some kind of blow-up flotation device or inner tube.

Another name for this leisurely float is ‘the river run,’ and folks downriver have been known to do this as part of their summer fun as long as I can remember.

My mode of transport down the St. Clair is the noodle; this is the way to be totally immersed and take in the refreshing coolness of the river. Along with the current, there are usually all manner of watercraft passing by providing waves to move you along. The scenery is one of well-kept homes and gardens at the water’s edge and across the river, Stag Island, which brings back so many fond memories of my growing up days in Corunna.

A big part of my childhood and teen years was spent hopping the ferry and exploring the island. It was great fun swimming in the canals - as long as you remembered not to feel the bottom that wasn’t there!

Famous astronaut Chris Hadfield grew up at the family cottage on Stag Island and I always enjoy hearing how, as a 9 year old boy, after witnessing the landing of the first man on the moon, he knew he wanted to be an astronaut.

I vividly recall as a young girl, a ritual, so it would seem, was to jump off the dock and if you didn’t, someone would gladly see that you did. It was the way many kids learned how to swim. Well, I was not about to learn to swim that way and many time avoided the dock, especially when crowded. The extra brave and fearless would jump and swim over to the island, not an easy feat.

There were also small sandy beach areas at the end of Fane, Paget and Beckwith Streets where all the neighborhood kids would practice their dogpaddle, usually with an adult or two there to make sure we didn’t end up on our way to Stag Island.

There is still time to take advantage of our glorious summer, and grab a noodle for one more river run. Several people have said lately, “Don’t complain about the heat, think about what’s ahead.”

(I’d rather not).

Nadine Wark is a retired office administrator and freelance writer who resides in Sarnia

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