Friday, July 29, 2016

Water Tubing? Thanks, But No, Thanks.

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Have you ever thought of trying water tubing? Perhaps, you should try it to find out you won't like it much. Having enjoyed it on the lazy river at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, I thought that water tubing on Delaware River would be even more fun. However, it turned out to be a long, exhausting journey and quite a bore as well. 

What I expected when I booked this "adventure" at Kittatinny Campground's Adventure Center was a relaxing trip down the river. I even though 3 miles was too short of a journey, though the description did say it would take 2-3 hours. Well, it took me much longer than that. Overall, the current was pretty slow, and I often felt that the tube was not moving at all. In addition, since the river was quite shallow, my tube got stuck on the pile of stones every once in a while. 

But, perhaps, the most frustrating part of this "activity" was that I had little control over the tube. I could easily make a 360 degree turn, but I struggled with directing the tube wherever I needed to go. Using my hands and arms as paddles, I battled with the current, which brought me to one bank and then the other, while I wanted to stay in the middle and relax. In the meantime, people were passing me by in kayaks, and I felt like I chose the wrong transportation mode.

Clearly, part of my misery was that I didn't know what to do with the tube. In my defense, the adventure staff did not help, either. We were dropped off on the river bank and given our tubes without any instructions, except for, "In case of emergency, the best way to get help is to walk towards the road and find someone there." By emergency, they probably meant that, if we got bored and decided to quit, the road was over there. 

As I was leisurely brought forward by the slow current, I kept wondering if I got unlucky. Maybe on other days the current was faster, and the trip really took 2 hours only. Maybe I needed more practice, and I would learn to control my tube eventually (though even Google does not have any good tips on how to maneuver a water tube). Maybe the trip should have been shorter, in terms of distance. There were, indeed, a lot of pleasant moments on the way. At some point, the current sped up, and I was moving faster towards my destination. I also got to sunbathe on the water and enjoy some beautiful views.

Hence, if you do decide on going water tubing (which I probably never will), make sure the distance you go is no longer than a mile and a half, especially if it's your first time. An hour on the water is enjoyable no matter what. You get to see if you like this kind of activity and if you'd like to go for a longer trip. Additionally, ask if the company that provides the tubes can give you a paddle. That will make your trip faster and give you more control over the tube. Also, do not forget to wear sunscreen. They say you get tanned faster when you're in the water, and you won't be able to reapply your sun protection until you arrive at the finish point. And finally, if you like to be active and are not used to lying down for hours, you should go kayaking or canoeing instead. 

1 comment:

  1. I read this post with interest and understanding. I also went tubing on Delaware River, and I feel the author's pain. I also found the trip long and boring. I doubt that the current could have been different on another day. The river flows with the same speed all the time, day after day, and year after year. I had to use not only my arms and hands as paddles, but also my feet, and I couldn't figure out how to work those "paddles." Of course, there were lots of beautiful, picturesque spots on the river bank, but I would have like to pass by them a little bit faster. I was lucky that I went on my trip in the afternoon when the sun wasn't as bright, and my skin didn't get sunburnt. As the evening came close, every turn of the river brought me hope that the finish line is behind it, but the tube advanced slowly, and I had to wait for yet another turn. The road was so close that several times I considered getting out of the river, carrying my tube and walking toward the finish line. Getting stuck on the piles of rocks, I still got to enjoy the coolness of the water. By the end of the trip I thought, "Wouldn't it be more fun to sunbathe on the river bank, swim in the river and watch other people tubing and kayaking, thinking how cool it would be to be in their place?"