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Destination Sullivan County

July 7, 2011

At first, it’s slow going and it hardly feels like I’m moving at all.

It’s actually calming to lie on the black inner tube as I pass under the bridge and head toward the rapids. I grin at the growing rush of water in the distance and very gradually start to speed up.

It’s too late to do much of anything except keep my feet forward.

There is something amazing about the moment that Skinner’s Falls grabs you. Suddenly you are moving fast through choppy water. It’s a lot like the crest of a roller coaster and for an instant I remember a documentary about Niagara Falls that I saw at the Museum of Natural History when I was a kid.

No matter how many times I’ve experienced it, the power of the Skinner’s Falls continues to amaze me. It thrashes me up and then down and I feel like I just might topple over.

I wonder if I should have left my favorite sunglasses in the car. It’s too late now.

Miraculously, the tube stays right side up and my sunglasses stay firmly on my face.

From the bottom, I look back in awe over my shoulder as I slow down and paddle toward shore.

“What do you know about WFN Ultimate Fishing Town?” Marc had yelled from the other room of our NYC office a few days earlier.

I haven’t done much fishing in my life and know even less about it. So without much hesitation I answered, “Nothing,” and went back to work.

A moment later. “Roscoe, NY?” Marc yelled.

Wait a second. It all floods back to me. I did know about the WFN Ultimate Fishing Town contest. My dad had been talking it up at Easter and I had started to vote for Roscoe a few days later.

For a short time, it became one of the websites that I would check a few times a day and I started to vote as often as I could (every six hours) with each of my e-mail addresses (two).

Very early, it became clear that it was going to come down to a showdown between Roscoe and Waddington, NY. In terms of an Internet contest, it was about as exciting as it could possibly be—literally coming down to the wire.

I had checked the night before the contest was to end and found Roscoe down by 10,000 votes.

“Oh well,” I remember thinking.

The next morning, Roscoe started to climb back and by the time the contest ended it had overtaken Waddington to win it all.

I said none of this to Marc. “Yeah, I know what you are talking about. I grew up in Sullivan County.”

“How far up is it? I want to get out of the city this weekend,” Marc said. He had googled “upstate new york fishing” and stumbled upon Roscoe and the WFN Ultimate Fishing Town contest.