On Scene: Tubing the Yampa, kind of
July 18, 2008
Steamboat Springs — Not that the readers of 4 Points need another “Margaret Hair fails at outdoor activities, almost without fail, all the time” story, but here it goes:
On the Fourth of July, I went tubing down the Yampa River for the first time. I borrowed a tube from one of our Pilot & Today copy editors, jumped in the river wholly unprepared at a put-in point that was more of a weed-laden, rock covered drop-off and was immediately whisked away.
It had been awhile since I had been on a river, but seriously, I felt as if I could handle the Yampa. A couple of summer rafting, canoeing and tubing trips down various North Carolina waterways should have given me the common sense to steer away from rocks, right?
Guess not. It took about two minutes for me to flip over, lose my tube, my shoes and my sunglasses, and bump along the middle of one of the rockier parts of river, trying to figure out what to do next.
Reasonably, I probably should have been more concerned about this turn of events than I was. Realistically, I was trying to discern what had happened while eyeing the side of the river for nice-looking branches to grab on to.
So, my first experience in the Yampa River ended with me walking through Brooklyn with no shoes, looking like a crazy person, cuts and blood all over my hands from failed attempts to catch hold of the bank. I guess this should have kept me from wanting to go back, but summer and water have always been one of the better pairings of seasons and activity locations. With fewer options in Routt County than there would be elsewhere in my usual go-to aquatic category of “other people’s swimming pools,” the river, in theory, is my favorite thing about summer in Steamboat Springs.
And so I went back a week later, when tubing made a little more sense, and paid a little more attention to where I was floating. It was awesome, and it is my new favorite reason to try to get out of work before dark.
Although the river already was a little rocky and low by Tuesday afternoon, I’m hoping to get a few more floating trips in before the end of tubing season. And I’m fairly sure that even I can’t mess this one up more than once.