I Went Tubing (and I Didn’t Even Die or Anything)

11 Aug

Little preface: I have been dying to go tubing since the beginning of the summer, but the weather has thwarted my plans every time. A few days ago, I finally bit the bullet and declared myself free to tube despite anything the Minnesota weather gods might throw at me. And I went. And it rained. And it was GLORIOUS.

After a journey to the remote town of Lanesboro, home to fewer than 1,000 people and several stray cats, we prepped ourselves with ice cream from a bright pink shop with a giant plastic cone adorning its roof. I had blueberry and let me just say, if you’ve ever been fortunate enough to try huckleberry ice cream, this was almost as good.

Ice cream-smeared and vaguely chilly, we wandered over to the tube rental place, where we were greeted by a tattooed 20-something with a wad of chewing tobacco poking out from his lower lip. My siblings were quick to scurry behind the safety of their older sister. My mother, eyes shooting daggers at me for suggesting this asinine activity, paid for our tubes and led the way down a steep and rickety flight of steps to the river. After a bit of a fiasco involving my brother, his runaway inner tube, and him stranded on the banks like a wounded puppy, I was forced to plunge in the cold-as-Minnesota-in-February water and drag him back out to meet our small fleet. From then on we vowed to stay together.

It did sprinkle a bit initially, but we stubbornly kept on. The temperature hovered around the mid-70s (F*), which was warm as long as we stayed safely nestled in our tubes. We hit a number of snags along the way, so Juju and I paddled and pushed furiously to avoid getting “tree’d” by the various branches stretching their necks out into the middle of the river. There were a few rapids that seemed intent on dragging me across the rocks, which was somewhat unpleasant, but for the most part the current was gentle and relaxing.

I love being on the water. I love the smell of the river and the sound of the water slapping against our rubber vessels. I love the paranoia of wondering whether you slathered on enough SPF to preserve the virginal white of your legs. It makes me consider living on a boat and traveling the seas. It brings out my inner idealist. Somewhere in that storm-tossed, fishy current, I found happiness. Happiness that was shattered almost immediately by the shrieks of my siblings as they splashed my sun-warmed back with icy water, returning me to my boat-less suburban life. They found a spider. Oh joy.


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