Monday, August 8, 2022

Misnomer: Stoney Creek (a poem)

stoney creek grasses

With clear blue skies and a gentle wind

We paddled on Stoney Creek

The banks aligned with tall swamp maples spread their trunks as if they were elms

Paddling upstream to Little Stoney Pond with tall grasses along the banks— topped with light purple plumes

But there was nary a stone in sight

Green plant clusters, like crude faux ferns were Labrador tea perhaps

But there was nary a stone in sight

When we finally arrived at Little Stoney Pond and stopped to eat our lunch

I looked around the placid water There was nary a stone in sight

On our upstream return to our launching beach Grasses, bright green and submerged,

pointed the way to where we put-in Still, there was nary a stone in sight

The water spread out, at times, from twenty-five to thirty feet No burbling over stones I saw

This was not a little creek to me This smooth and stoneless stream

Whose wry humor was it that named it Stoney Creek?


Monique, Lorraine said, after reading this poem, you know you’ve got it all wrong,

The stones you ignored were truly there below, at the bottom of the water

What—do you mean the sand I saw? No, she replied, stones are what I meant Well, if they seemed so small, I said Maybe we call them pebbles

I awaited a day to hear back from Lorraine If it is merely a matter of terms

maybe stones to you, are mere pebbles to me

And now, I see, we do not agree, boulders they were not

Editor’s note: This poem is a tongue in cheek response to Lorraine Duvall’s “Stoney Creek & Us: Proof you are never too old to paddle

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The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional guest essays from Adirondack residents, visitors, and those with an interest in the Adirondack Park. Submissions should be directed to Almanack editor Melissa Hart at


4 Responses

  1. ALAN JONES says:

    I think it was Dave Cilley, in his Adirondack Paddlers’ Guide, who commented on the lack of stones in Little Stoney Creek. But, maybe it was someone else. Could it be Paul Jamison in his Adirondack Canoe Waters: North Flow?

  2. Lorraine Duvall says:

    Alan Jones, Thanks for the reference. “Paradoxically, the winding creek has a sandy bottom notable for absence of stones.” writes Jamienson, pg. 81, Third Edition. He references ‘Stony Creek’ and Cilley writes ‘Stoney’. Was there a person named ‘Stoney’?

  3. Marietta says:

    😄 so happy to know is you M!!!. Congratulations!!

  4. Monique Weston says:

    SO, I do wonder if someone named Stoney is the reasoh for the name of this stream. I canoed the Stoney ponds, after writing the poem, with grandsons and a friend, None of us saw stones or boulders.

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