That said, I obviously had no idea what I was in for.
When we bought our tickets and got our life vests, the guy in the booth told us that the Esopus River (the one we’d be on!) wasn’t a lazy river, and that we’d probably capsize once–but he never ever hinted at just how scary it would really be or offered us helmets.
When we got out into the river with our tubes, the water was pretty calm, but just minutes later, it started moving super fast and taking us into areas that were completely filled with huge rocks and boulders. My boyfriend says that it was less like river tubing and more like human pinball with massive rocks as the bumpers.
At one point, the current had pushed me way ahead of my guy. I looked back to see how he was doing when I saw him flip over onto a huge jagged rock. Now, I’d already capsized once, so I knew you could fall into the water and still be okay–and my boyfriend is in great shape–but he really didn’t seem okay.
All I wanted to do was get to him and make sure he hadn’t cracked his head open or something, but with the current so strong, there was no way I could. One the guys who’d been near him when it happened floated by me and I asked if he thought my boyfriend was okay. “Oh yeah. He’s fine, I think,” he said, “Last year when I came, some guy broke his leg in two places and was stuck out here wedged between two rocks until someone could come out and help him! That guy wasn’t okay!”
WHAT THE HELL? This bit of information made me seriously question three things: 1) How on earth is this company still sending people out river tubing here (including children)–without helmets–when they know it’s so dangerous?; 2) Just how crazy this random dude was for witnessing something so awful and yet coming back again the next year; and 3) Was I going to make it out of this adventure alive?
I spent the next 30 minutes or so holding on with all my life to that stupid river tube, while hoping that my boyfriend didn’t have a concussion. When we finally got off (or, um, escaped as I like to think of it), my boyfriend was bleeding and had a foot-long bruise on his side–and I had a super banged-up tailbone from bouncing up and down on the wooden plank that served as a seat in the tube.
I can’t believe that every river tubing company is as irresponsible about warning their customers as the one we used that day, but I can tell you that if you’re going to go, do some serious research into what the rapids might really be like. As for me, the only tube I’ll be getting close to for a while is a tube of toothpaste.
Have you ever been river tubing? Would you try it? Tell me in the comments!