Aug 29, 201208:41 AMCup of Joe
Your weekly dose of strange parenting news, trends, and polls
To tube or not to tube
When local families think of fun locations to go swimming during the summer, most think of a local swim club or their own personal swimming pool—not the Susquehanna River.
Once recognized as a polluted haven for three-eyed fish, the river is beginning to reverse its negative label and has seen a resurgence in families taking to the waters in kayaks and canoes over the past 10 years.
But while the river is a fun place to venture by boat, it does not possess the torrent-free waters of a local pool and holds those who venture into its depths at its mercy. My wife and I learned that the hard way this summer.
Not wanting to miss out on all the fun that can be had on the river, my wife and I took to the Susquehanna in a pair of giant truck-tire inner tubes. After being dropped a little north of the small river town of Marietta by my father-in-law, he offered to watch for us as we floated back down into town.
Lesson number 1: If you’re going on a tubing adventure, take some form of communication with you, be it a radio or cell phone secured in several Ziploc baggies.
Feeling as though we had nothing to lose, we thrust our tubes into the water and slowly began wading out into the current. With a brief look back and a wave, my father-in-law left the dock. We were adrift on our voyage.
Our adventure started out smoothly enough. We made our way away from the stagnant water of our insertion point, and scrambled up the sides of our tubes as we entered the rivers current. We reclined, and let the water begin to carry us south.
Fifteen minutes passed, then 30 minutes, and then one hour. Looking back at the dock we had departed from, it became obvious that we weren’t moving very quickly.
Lesson number 2: If you’re planning to embark on a tubing adventure, don’t do it three hours before you have to be at work.
Assuming that our entire trip wouldn’t surpass 2 hours, my wife had agreed that we would be able to squeeze the trip in before her shift. We tried paddling, kicking and just about every other method of getting the tubes to move faster—to no avail.
We decided to take our journey to land. We paddled our way over to the muddy shore, and began our trek through the woods slipping and sliding along the dirt trail all the while. After what seemed to be a half-mile of walking, we reached a gravel path that led us out of the woods and onto a main road. We bumbled our way up to the nearest gas station, covered in mud with tubes in hand, and asked to use a phone.
The clerk gave us a puzzled look and silently handed my wife the phone. A few minutes later we were picked up, never having reached our destination. Had we floated for another 2 hours we might have made it.
My wife was late for work, and we vowed never to attempt tubing down the Susquehanna again.
Lesson number 3: If your family is heading out to the Susquehanna River, have fun, but don’t forget that the river can be an unpredictable place. Oh, and leave your inner-tube at home.
Share your summer swimming adventures in our comments section below: