Tubing on the river

(It’s a much better post title if you sing it to the tune of Proud Mary.)

Today, on the advice of a pal, we took the kids tubing in New Braunfels, on the Comal River. (We being Deborah, her husband Tom, and our coworker Elizabeth; kids being my three and Deborah and Tom’s two.) I bought a Texas-themed Igloo cooler just for the occasion. (And I mean, what other states do this? Where else can you buy coolers with the state flag, and in what other states do all hotels have state-shaped waffle irons? Are there any other states like Texas?)

We started from a place called Landa Falls, basically a river outfitter where we got inner tubes for us and the cooler, life jackets for the kids, and a locker to keep all of our stuff.

It didn’t start off promisingly. We went down to the river to get in, and it was basically impossible to stay together. The current wasn’t super strong, but the river was deep, and it was just fast enough to make it hard to go where you wanted.

Linus in particular was not happy if we weren’t all together (they always had an adult with them, I’m not a monster) but they all wanted to be together. Eventually with much swimming and grabbing on to the side and leg cramps (all on my part) the boys and Elizabeth and I all managed to get in a group, each holding on to another tube’s handle in a group so no one could float away.

Boy, I wish we’d brought ropes.

The problem is, the other group had the cooler! And we were thirsty! And my camera was in the other cooler! After about an hour or so, we got to a point where we could get out. (I make that sound so easy, but it was not. There was swimming and pulling tubes and slippery rocks and more leg cramps.)

Everyone else except for Deborah’s kids were ready to call it a day. I was not. (Turns out tubing isn’t cheap.) So in the end, Oliver and Linus went with Tom to get pizza, and the rest of us decided to keep on tubing.

Now, I love pizza, but I’m really glad we kept floating. It got more fun – there were chutes! Like tiny waterslides! The current got a bit faster! And if I’m completely honest, it was a lot easier to keep track of one kid instead of three. (Especially when the other two weren’t really into it.) The river was beautiful, clean and blue, and with not a lot of creatures in it. (I’m not really into natural bodies of water, for the most part.)

Eventually, we got to the end, hauled ourselves out of the river, and made it back to meet the other three.

Would I do it again? Sure. With a few grown up friends and a bunch of rope to tie us together. I really would have loved to swim more in the river, but the only time I did was to haul a kid out or swim against the current. At one point, I was trying desperately to get Miles out before we got sucked down a chute, and I was against a strong current and he was panicking (he was perfectly safe, he just didn’t want to go down the chute) and so I was swimming with all my might to the side towing him and my tube and there was nowhere to hold on to and….anyway. Yeah. Next time, no kids and a rope to tie myself to my tube so I can swim sometimes and not worry about my tube.

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