Bowling balls float. Did you know that?

I learned that years ago when I found one floating among the debris in a logjam on Lake Fork of the Mohican River.

I remembered that last week while paddling on Lake Fork at the start of a three-day canoe trip. Not five minutes after that thought crossed my mind, I spotted a dark blue bowling ball bobbing in the water near a half-submerged log. I hoisted it into my canoe, being careful not to capsize. (I did not want to have to explain to my rescuers how I swamped my canoe fishing a bowling ball out of the river.)

On closer examination, I noticed the bowling ball had a name — Charlene.

The name was inscribed right above the finger holes.

What incredible luck, I said to myself. If Tom Hanks could have Wilson the volleyball to keep him company on a desert island in "Cast Away," I could have Charlene join me on my solo canoe trip. I imagined what great fun we’d have — sitting in front of the campfire, exchanging yarns about canoe trip adventures and nights at the bowling alley.

I had started my trip at Mohicanville Dam expecting to encounter a logjam or two. I was not disappointed. Upstream of Lake Fork Canoe Livery I encountered a series of logjams 150-200 yards long. Charlene and I got out and began our portage.

There’s nothing worse than trekking hundreds of yards through underbrush wearing sandals. Fortunately, I opted at the beginning of the trip to wear an old pair of boots instead. The boots were on their last leg, so I didn’t mind getting them wet.

Besides, they didn’t owe me anything; I had invested more in Shoe Goo to keep them intact than I’d paid for the boots in the first place.

The river gods shone mightily upon me that day. As I raised my foot to step into my canoe at the end of the portage, the sole peeled off of my left boot.

I stowed the sole in my canoe and pressed on.

"Charlene," I said, "This has been one lucky day."

— Irv Oslin, a retired Times-Gazette reporter, is a canoe and outdoors enthusiast.