Creek Walking: My First “Application by Writing Sample”

I am writing this to share with other writers for their encouragement. This is in response to the Daily Prompt: Successful.

Back in  January, 2001, there was an ad in our local paper for freelancers to submit a sample of their writing skills for consideration of publication. I decided to give a longtime dream of mine, to write, a chance. I wrote an article about something I love to do and sent it off. It wasn’t a perfect piece, I knew that I had a lot to learn, but I hoped it would show enough of my potential to pique the editor’s interest.

At that time I had a business as a landscape and wildlife artist and medicinal herbalist called RamBlyn Rose.

Here is my very first application by writing and photo sample:

Photo taken by Lenee Cobb

Creek Walking

The most under used, least discussed and adventurously fun outdoor sport there is in the state of Washington has got to be creek walking. I should know, I’m the artist of RamBlyn Rose and I’ve been almost everywhere.

I realize that where you come from the creeks may be plagued with water moccasins, leeches, pollutants or alligators. I understand that you may be very uncomfortable hiking through the woods by way of the waterways. I remember living under the same instinctual fears when I lived in other places.

However, here in the evergreen state of Washington, if you are west of the Cascade Mountains, you don’t have to worry bout those things!  Oh sure, we have gardener snakes , occasional quicksand and Big Foot, but so what!

Creek walking is a lot like life, not as fun if there are no obstacles. Besides, if you creek walk on the Olympic Peninsula, the water is rain-forest fresh and teeming with wildlife.

I’ve been a serious creek walker since I was fourteen. During the summer months the neighborhood guys would meet at my house early in the morning. We’d begin our preparations for the day with a French toast cooking contest. Sometimes there would be nine or ten of us. (No neighborhood girls except me wanted to do things like this. I presumed they were more interested in sewing or shopping.)

My daughter and her best friend camping with me when they were in high school. Photo taken by Lenee Cobb

After filling our bellies we’d all head down to the local creek for a good day in the water. This was our chance to see properties that would otherwise have been off limits to the common trespasser.  As long as we kept our feet in the water we considered ourselves legally there.  (We hoped the land owners did too!)

  It was always great to find one of the guys was afraid of snakes.  After living around water moccasins and rattlers, throwing these harmless little Gardner snakes at a squeamish companion was simply irresistible! I received more than one good dunking for my delinquent efforts. It was hot and I didn’t complain too much.

That summer is now 29 years past and I have yet to grow old enough to disdain the sport.

I do not recommend anyone to go creek walking alone.  Many are the circumstances that frequently arise that theoretically, at least, are life threatening. There are slick rocks, swift currents and quicksand. There are unstable banks and underwater snags to navigate. The most annoying thing for a creek walker to be forced to confront is abandoned fishing line  with hooks.

People who are light weight, like I was, depend upon the stability of our heavier friends when the water gets deep and the currents run fast. Small creeks have surprising strength given the right surroundings. Never let go of a buddy.

If my companions had loosened their grip on me when the going got a little rough I’d been washed out to sea and long forgotten by now.

It is advisable to always bring a long rope and tie up to one another. (But we never did.)

Waterfalls are tricky things. Only the rookie assumes that the water stays at the same reasonable depth beneath the falls as what they are presently standing in.  I’ve found that the average (if there is such a thing) depth of the hole beneath the falls is at least four to six times the depth you are standing in, in front of the falls.  This calculation is for creeks only.  The falling water creates an powerful downward force  that can catch a rookies off guard. Eventually, you will bubble up to the surface along with the flow. Some people panic during the experience. Remember that in the waterhole beneath the falls lurks hidden things like snags, rocks, glass and fishing equipment. Take these things into account before you take the plunge. At least in the rain-forest during the months of July through September, you can see the bottom of the falls with clarity.

 It may not be considered as an extreme sport but, to me, nothing beats it on a ninety-eight degree day.  Odds are you can find me deep in the Olympic rain-forest with a bota bag three quarters full of Hoodsport wine and my tennis shoes soaking wet, happily walking the water trails, teaching  kids the important things  in life.▄

P.S. These days, Park Rangers don’t take to kindly to this activity. Neighborhoods don’t either. Therefore, only creek walk when you are reasonably certain you can get away with it.

It was the above writing sample that led me to my first assignment and published story as a freelance writer.

  • Who out there is willing to share their first writing application and include a link to it in the comment section below?
  • How much did my “voice” as a writer stay with me throughout the last 16 years?
  • How many readers look forward to great weather and carefree days spent walking waterways within a rain-forest?

I look forward to hearing from you.



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