Return to Round Lake: Part One Writing with Snoopy

So fellow travelers,  I promised Andy Sigler,  I would demonstrate my use of the “Snoopy Technique” in my next blog post.  Andy is a fellow Bedlam Creative Group member and a fearsome writer with a forthright, honest, sharp edged humorous style of his own. (Check out his blog for yourself right here.)  He had commented “getting started is the hardest part.”  To which I made my promise.  When I am stuck for a beginning I literally begin with the opening story line Charles Schultz often used when portraying Snoopy as a writer, sitting atop his dog house with a typewriter.

Snoopy Typing

Here is how it works:

” ‘It was a dark and stormy night…’ well no, actually the weekend I chose to fit in an end of season camping trip was in fact a stretch of perfect autumn weather.  I had realized the all consuming competition schedule for Marching Band had only one open weekend, which miraculously coincided with the October Open House weekend  at Bedlam Farm……”

the next thing I know I am off and writing.

This by the way works even if one is not writing about weather related events. In fact it works even better when the opening phrase is completely unrelated, because it generates a running dialogue, at least it does in my mind and I have now have words streaming onto the screen. Of course many of those words end up  victim to the <delete> option but I at least I have given myself some creative momentum.


So now readers  the final edit of Return to Round Lake:



September’s gracious stretch of perfect autumn weather made me realize I needed to find time to fit in a camping trip before our luck ran out. This school year’s first month began with a shift in schedules, requiring continual adjustment to new assignments.  It had been hard to establish a routine. Downtime  had been almost nonexistent and by the third week of school my need for a good campfire and photo hike could no longer be ignored.

Fall is my favorite season for hiking and camping, however the all consuming competition schedule for Marching Band had left only one open weekend this year, a weekend which miraculously coincided with the October Open House at Bedlam Farm. While I felt blessed to be able to travel to Cambridge,  this left me with no alternative but to create my own extended weekend and camp from Sunday to Monday.  Well, for reasons such as this we have “personal” days, so I scheduled a substitute, booked my site, charged my camera batteries and made a hearty batch of salsa chicken.

For this trip, my good friend and favorite camping buddy Lisa had picked Green Lakes State Park, a local gem which features a disc golf course, swimming beach, myriad of  hiking trails and two stunning azure blue lakes.  It is a short drive from the rescue where I volunteer and we often bring the dogs to this park to walk the trails.


Me and my buddy Bruno.  Adopted by a pawsome family in the summer of 2012.

Green Lake and it’s smaller twin Round Lake are glacial “kettle” lakes.  Unlike the long deep glacial claw-scratched Finger Lakes,  kettle lakes are deep but small and more rounded.  They are essentially potholes formed when land sinks below a chunk of glacial ice blocks.  Round Lake is particularly known for it’s pristine water and was designated a National Natural Landmark  in 1973.

I spent Sunday socializing at camp, taking the dogs for some long walks on more populated trails, enjoying a delicious dinner and a warm campfire under a clear spectacular star mapped autumn nightsky.  We lingered by the campfire long into the night, knowing this was our last trip of the season. Eventually I bunked down making plans for a more solitary, adventure the next day.

I woke at dawn to the harsh cries of fighting crows prying through a window I had neglected to shut the night before. I took it as an opportunity to head for a favorite trail, one reliable for early morning wildlife and bird activity.  Inspite of  heavy mist and a razor sharp chill in the air, the trail did not disappoint, starting with the faintest pinks of sunrise.



First a morning fly over greeting



Next, a chance encounter with a  sumac Fire Dragon



and then carefully rounding a bend I came upon this gracious forest lady.  She froze, I froze then slowly in silent, minuscule movements raised my camera to my eye.  She stayed just long enough for me to focus and snap two quick shots.






Always on a photo walk I look for opportunities to experiment as I strive to master the versatility of my DSLR.  Further down the trail, a spider web glistening with morning dew provided what I needed.  I tried out various Fstop/shutter speed combinations to find the optimum settings.

GLweb1dark     GLweb2lighter


GLweb3best       GLweb4toolight

(I’m still debating which of the last two shots has the best detail.)

As rewarding as the meadow trail proved to be, I knew Round Lake trail held even greater visual promise, so after returning to camp for a hearty breakfast cooked by my good friend Lisa, I stashed some trail snacks and a long lens in my day pack and headed back out.

(to be continued)
















Deborah H Rahalski

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.