On what we deemed to be one of the last days of warm-enough weather, three girls set out on a relaxing afternoon float on the frigid but calm waters of Fish Creek. At least, we thought it would be relaxing.
The problems started when we left the car. Being a former raft guide, I own a pair of Chaco’s (sandals with multiple straps to stay on your feet). I did not wear them. Instead, I wore flip-flops. Not wanting to lose them, I left them in the car and the others followed my suit. This would later prove to be a problem.
About 10 minutes into our 45 minute float, I spied a small stick protruding about 2 inches above water. I lazily scooped water with my right hand to move my sluggish tube a bit towards the right bank. However, as I was floating by said stick, it reached out and poked my tube. And my tube stuck and violently pivoted on said stick. The “burble burble burble” and vibrations of air rapidly leaving my tube began immediately. I calmly looked at the others and said, “I just popped my tube.” To my dismay, Trisha responded, “me too.” If we were wearing shoes, we could have gotten out and walked along the road back to the car. That silly saying about hindsight comes to mind…
Thankfully, Morgan had not popped her tube as she had also invested in the grand daddy of all tubes. Her Michigan background came into play when she went to KMart, the logical place to purchase a tube (Trisha and the more seasoned population of Jackson Hole buy them from the tire store). The selection was slim, and she got one that is suitable for towing behind a boat. This is a large tube, but is it large enough for three? We were about to find out.
Doubtful of our ability to all cram onto one tube, I attempted to delay the inevitable by rolling the problem section of my tube and gripping it tightly to slow the air flow. This bought me an additional five minutes of tube time, all the while slowly floating lower and lower in the freezing water. Finally, I threw in the proverbial towel. Morgan and Trisha were lying side-by-side, stomach down on her tube. To accommodate me, Morgan suggested we all jump on the tube, back-in and proceed sitting up. Almost capsizing on the count of three, we somehow managed to all successfully get the majority of our butts on the tube. And then the bridges came.
I took a friend from Florida tubing on this very creek once when the water was higher and she began panicking when she saw a low bridge. I told her to lay back on the tube as I demonstrated. Her comment was that was all well and fine for me, but her D-cup was likely going to get her stuck under the bridge. It didn’t, but it gives one an idea of the amount of space we were dealing with.
Morgan, Trisha and I decided the best way would be to lay over our knees and be as small as possible. Somehow, it worked. Our adrenaline and initial excitement over fitting 3 girls on one tube slowly numbed to… numbness. 35 freezing minutes later, we arrived at the cabin and stumbled into the house to get shoes, which brings me to an interesting charity.
Shoes are pretty important. Here in the U.S., most of us can legitimily say that we have too many shoes. Imagine not even having one pair. It’s a problem. Which brings me to Tom’s Shoes. While their style isn’t for everyone, there generosity should be – for every pair purchased, TOMS gives a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One. Check it out. And next time you float a creek, make sure someone wears shoes.
Interesting news article of the day: Hard exercise makes you smarter. Read full NY Times article here. (and thanks to Carson Stanwood for the link on Twitter)