Serenity on the Clarion River


Jim and I spent this past weekend in one of our favorite places in the world- Cook Forest State Park, Pennsylvania. We meet up twice yearly with a group of friends and this time we occupied three cabins side by side with a grand total of sixteen people.

We ate all of our meals together and spent most of our time gathered around a perfect campfire. There were lots of good stories, marshmallows and too much food. Believe it or not, there was no alcohol on this weekend and yes, we had a very good time.

Before we left, Jim and I made the decision to head up a bit early on Friday and go for a canoe ride down the Clarion River. We did this once before but took the much longer ride. This time, we opted for a shorter river journey which took about ninety minutes.

Clarion RiverWe had a very nice canoe. I rode in front and Jim took the back seat so he could do the steering. It was one of our shining moments working as a team. Paddling around rocks, shallow water and little rapids, we never once got hung up anywhere. Jim threw his fishing pole in along the way, just for good measure, but the fish must have been somewhere else, probably taking a long nap.

I can’t fully describe for you what the ride was like but I will try. The river was tree lined on each side; great big tall trees, still green but with the promise of autumn in their leaves. A clear, sparkly river with the sun glistening off the surface so much so that it appeared as though diamonds were scattered about. The sound of a red tailed hawk overhead; the sound of my paddle as it glazed the tip of the water.

A couple of times, the sun was warm enough on my shoulders and I angled my hand over the side of the canoe, into the chilly waters of the river. I left it there for a few moments and felt the cool wetness, the temperature of the water being just perfect for the beginning of fall.

There is truly serenity in being among the tall trees, in unspoiled beauty, with clean air and only the scent of pine or a good, smoky fire. My cell phone does not work well in Cook so it’s a good excuse to go unplugged for the entire weekend. The better to enjoy the beauty with.

Sometimes we have to stop and break away. Life is just too busy these days and more and more is expected of us. Making time, pushing ourselves to be in touch with nature should be mandatory, just to clear our heads and refresh our minds. I know it really works for me.

Where’s your favorite place on earth to wind down?

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11 thoughts on “Serenity on the Clarion River

  1. Cathy McElhaney

    Sounds like it was a wonderful, relaxing weekend! I don’t think I have found my ‘perfect place’, but when I do it will have water and trees! When we lived in PA we would go camping at Guilford Lake in Ohio. That was always relaxing!

  2. cjvennare

    Driving throughout the hills of Santa Fe, into Abiqui and then up, up, up to Taos and Arroyo Seco always provide me with such peace and calm. I am always in awe even after all these years. Absolutely nothing like sailing in Maine…or the Greek Isles…when there is complete stillness and solitude around you except for the wind whipping its way through the boat’s elegant sails. The water glistens just like you described it–a sprinkling of tiny diamonds shining is the clear blue sea.

  3. Marianne

    It makes me wonder of the peace the early Native Americans experienced in their canoes, traveling the quiet waters among the trees and glimmers of sunshine. You painted a serene picture. I whole-heartedly agree that we need to take more leisure time for breath and rejuvenation of spirit, mind, and body. Glad you enjoyed yourselves, Joanne.

    Blessings for more peaceful experiences,

    Marianne xo

  4. Marylin Warner

    Joanne, your weekend adventure sounds lovely. Thank you for inviting us to enjoy it with you through these calm, vivid, loving details. My husband is a Jim, too, and when we meet with family and friends, we do what you and your Jim did. We add a private sidetrip for just us, and once in the Ozarks we made it a canoe adventure.
    Thanks for sharing this.


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