Saturday, April 5, 2014

E is for Easter

by Kim Van Sickler

[Kim's posts will all relate to her MG historical fiction novel with a paranormal twist: MuleskinnerHere's the pitch: An extraordinary canal dog gives twelve-year-old mule driver, Clay, the conviction to fight against a highly suspect Indenture agreement his pa supposedly signed...right before Pa was found swinging from a tree above Lonesome Lock.]
Hiking through Cleveland. Hey! Here's the Christmas Story house! It just happens to sit on the soon-to-be-restored portion of the towpath.
On Easter day 2013, hubby and I set off on a adventure trip inspired by the research I was doing on my book Muleskinner. The Ohio and Erie Canalway and a few other non-profit groups have worked to restore the old towpath trail from downtown Cleveland to New Philadelphia. The parts that are restored or in the restoration phase total 110 miles. 

I gave us five days to complete the journey.

The deal was we would travel light and stop at a different B&B or hotel every night to pamper ourselves after a long day in Northeast Ohio's unpredictable weather.

A fuller account of our travails is here

We made it! I walked the route of my muleskinner and much more, but averaged the time on foot per day that my muleskinner would have, substituting back packs for pack animals. It was a grueling life, not for the physically unfit. It left plenty of time for woolgathering and boredom to set in. And it sure made me appreciate the simple luxuries: like a warm bath, a bed, and food in my stomach.

Sort of like I imagine my muleskinner would feel.
Hubby passing Boston Cemetery
Kim at Dover Dam (about 100 miles into the hike)
Lunch every day was peanut butter and honey sandwiches. We'd take a GORP break around 4 pm.
We think this is the end of the soon-to-be-restored portion of the towpath trail. Blake's Mill Lock 13 in New Philadelphia.


  1. Wow. There's research and then there's RESEARCH. I give you a lot of credit for going through that in the name of writing. I think I give your hubby even more credit for agreeing to accompany you! lol

  2. What we writers won't do in the name of research.

  3. I agree with Kathy's comment--but I'm not sure I'd go those extra miles. enjoyed the pictures, Kim!

  4. The pictures and your project sound great, Hannah. I am stopping by because you stopped by my site. I'll check back soon.

    Best regards,

  5. Congrats, I just couldn't but I'm glad you guys took up the challenge. Happy Easter.

  6. Great research,but it does sound grueling.

  7. 110 miles in 5 days? That's incredible. What's more impressive is that you did this for the sake of writerly research. Kudos to you and your hugs.


  8. What a cool way to spend Easter! I'd love to do something like this :)