Tubing the Poudre: An Adventure

8 Aug

It isn’t any secret that I love to go tubing, and go every summer. Usually, I wait until August because the river is shallow, but not too shallow, and the warmest its going to get. I don’t stay in for very long, but there is always a lot of excitement and a lot of laughing.

After waiting all year to get back in the river in a tube, I decided to go today with my friend, Jessica.

Poor choice.

After the fire that ravaged Poudre Canyon, the water was murky with the ash. As we got closer to the river, it was quite obvious that the water wasn’t the best quality, and as we situated ourselves in our tubes, we realized we faced a bumpy ride. I’ve never been in the river when it was that shallow before.

Right away, we (or at least I did) faced troubles. Our first set of rapids caused me to get stuck on a rock and I lost my shoe. In my attempt to get it back, I got stuck on another rock, and flipped myself into the water. Jessica kept floating on, and managed to grab my tube while I was stuck flailing in the river. I bounced off multiple boulders, and ended up with scrapes on both knees, and a banged up arm. When I finally freed myself from the rapids, I had to climb onto the rocky bank and over to where Jessica was resting.

We continued on down the river past another rapid, while trying desperately to avoid hitting ourselves on rocks. When we finally reached the first beach, it was reasonably smooth floating, and the people playing in the water there were nice enough to have grabbed my flip-flop and returned it to me. Just moments later we found ourselves on more rapids, but we navigated them reasonably well. The last set of rapids didn’t defeat us either, and was quite enjoyable (although just as scary as the others).

Jessica and I finally reached our finish point, and paddled to the shore. I put my flip-flops back on my feet, and jumped off my tube. I instantly sank a foot in the ash that had settled to the bottom of the river. It was one of the most disgusting feeling I’ve ever experienced, and I immediately starting moving to the shore. With every step my feet sank almost to my knees. I lost both of my flip-flops because of the suction and eventually, for lack of options, began to tear at the beach with my hands in an effort to move faster. When I finally got out of the water, I found that the beach still had the sinking quality of the river bed. My hands and my feet were covered in black, sooty mud and my shoes were gone forever.

Jessica’s attempts were better received. She climbed closer to the bank, and only sank slightly compared to what I had to power through.

Kindly, she let me use one of her flip-flops (which was even nicer considering the state of her smashed toes), and we made the trek back to the main beach. I, immediately, ran to the shallow water, and sat on a rock to allow the river to wash away the massive amount of mud I had collected. It was a flawed solution, but better than nothing.

Once I was decently “rinsed” we climbed back in the car and headed into town. After eating at Verne’s, we went back to her place to part ways. As we were talking, I looked down and noticed that something was in my swimsuit. It turned out to be a charred piece of what I can only imagine was a tree, about the size of a dime. Upon further investigation, I noticed that the inside of my swimsuit was a massive amount of black ash and the charred remains of the forest.

At home, I got into the shower and took my swimsuit off. Before I even removed my board shorts, the water was murky. When I finally peeled off my swimsuit, handfuls of ash fell out. They covered my body from head to toe, and as they washed off, they collected and made an effort to block the drain.

It was really an adventure for the storybooks, and we laughed harder than I’ve laughed in quite a while, but both my plans to go tubing tomorrow and on Sunday are cancelled indefinitely. Hopefully, next summer will prove to better tubing conditions. And we both survived.

Do you have any memorable tubing experiences to share?

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