Summer Tubing Experience
Written by Jacob McMenamin, Camp Folks Intern, Summer 2016.
Summers in Florida are hot and sticky, but for all of the humid misery during the months roughly May to September, you can still have fun outdoors. I learned that on my tubing trip down Spring Creek and the Chipola River, better known around these parts as “Bear Paw,” with Camp Folks.
I’ve been down this river at least once or twice before (one time I went without a tube: I DON’T recommend it), but it was always choked with rowdy undergrads getting sloshed on light beers and some unidentifiable brownish liquid in a Simply Orange bottle. Ok, maybe that was just that one time, but it’s a well-known spot frequented by college students during the school year. However, this time around, in between spring and summer semesters, it was totally placid. Aside from our little group of about six people, we only encountered maybe four or so other humans on the river, all locals, of course. One gentleman, fishing from his small boat, saw the GoPro attached to my inner tube and said, “Now that’s what I call a high-tech redneck.”
Aside from colorful characters, the river is rich with wildlife. Turtles abound, as well as the occasional wading bird or hawk circling overhead, if you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky, however, or just careless, you could run into one of the areas less charming denizens, as I did. While keeping my eye out a large stick to use as an oar, I saw what appeared to be the perfect specimen over by the riverbank. It was big, dead, and already broken off, waiting to be seized. As I went to grab it, the stick came to life. A small, brown snake had been using it as a tanning bed, and I guess I frightened him as much as he did me, because we both leapt away from each other with speed. I decided I would be fine making it down the river without a stick.
By the time Spring Creek fed into the Chipola River, I had already settled into my tube, ready for several hours of more laziness, at a solitary pace well ahead of my companions. It was nice to sit in the sun, cooled by the water of the river, drink by my side, and just let my mind turn to slush. There was nothing to worry about, nowhere to get to, and no one to trouble me. We spent about three and a half hours on the river, but who’s counting? Time doesn’t really apply out there, and whether it’s your first time or your hundredth, it doesn’t ever get old.
Book your Totally Tubular Friday excursion with Camp Folks today!