Tubing Trip Disaster

Another instance of people venturing on the water, ill equipped, lacking knowledge and having to be rescued…


At first I thought they may have been chasing the Pokemons.

Glad nothing worse happened.

Maybe they can hang on to those tubes and use them this winter on a ski slope - beginner’s hill.

A River Runs Around It
Why am I not surprised that some of today’s youth finds it credible that a river can run in a circle back to where it started?

Call the local waterpark, some of the residents have escaped.

Tubers Yesterday
On my local river I saw a group of 2 grown women and 3 kids launch in inner tubes, radio blaring for a 5 mile float to the next takeout. Not 20 minutes later the headwind came up. I was only going upstream for a bit and then back and thought I’m glad I wasn’t them.


Do you suppose
they might have heard that Paul Bunyon tall tale about the Round River and believed it? :wink:

Last year I started noticing tubers on the river I most often paddle; rentals recently added to the fleet of a livery. Coming off the river at dusk one evening last year, on a day in which a strong upstream wind had developed during the afternoon, I shared the landing with a jon boat from the livery towing in a dozen or fourteen tubers who had failed to show up at their appointed time and needed “rescue.” I guess had they been private tubers with nobody expecting their arrival they might have ended up in the same situation as described here. I wonder if the Michigan group even knew of the landing 1/4 mile from where they were found… that doesn’t seem too far to hike or drift even in darkness in such a situation.

BTW, I like the comment in your profile, and it might have lent comfort to this party had they known of it - In a bed, in a bed, by the waterside I will lay my head, listen to the river sing sweet songs, to rock my soul. That falls something short of disaster, IMHO.

Muskegon River
The Muskegon can get big, fast and deep. This story could have ended much differently if a storm hit or they chose a different season to try this.

On one hand, it is good that these girls wanted to get outdoors and try something different. I know how lucky I am to have grown up on and around water, not everyone had the same opportunity or experiences.

On the other hand, especially with today’s technology, it is scary that they had no idea where they were headed, how to get there, or how to get back to where they started. What some consider basic survival instincts, others may not even fathom.

Good ole’ Grateful Dead
You can thank Mr. Robert Hunter and Mr. Jerry Garcia for those sweet words.

I am sure the girls hugging the tree considered the evening a disaster… But I must agree with you, it could always be worse…

It probably doesn’t get much better
…for that tree!

Sometimes, ya gotta sit yerself…

– Last Updated: Jul-15-16 7:55 AM EST –

...right down in the middle of the river:


I guess the "eyes" have it. Least, for now with these ladies. Oh well. Gals, like everybody else, gotta dream, right?

Well, here's hopin' wherever dreams lead them next there's a bathroom at the takeout.

Forrest Gump’s mother

– Last Updated: Jul-15-16 5:10 PM EST –

Forrest's mother says, "Stupid is as stupid does".

Wonder if any of them could swim? Doubt it!

They did made 2 good decisions:
1. They got off the river.
2. They said they ain't going back.

Person who told them the river ran in a circle is probably still laughing.


P.S. True story. We're sitting on a gravel bar; tents are up, rainfly is up, good friends present, good conversation. We are cooking some rib eye steaks to go with our real salad fixings, baked potatos and wine. Life & preparedness is good.
Woman pulls up a rental canoe on edge of gravel bar we're on; her partner is passed out in the bilge of the bow.
She asks,
Sir, how far are we from the next take out?
I respond, "the next take out is about 7 miles downstream".
Her retort, "We're not going to make it before dark are we"?
My retort, "No you are not; even if you wake up your drunk paddling partner"!

She pushes off the gravel bar in her scow, and pokes her partner in the back with her paddle. Pokes him several times(real hard). He can't even get up out of the bilge and onto the bow seat he's so drunk.
As she solo paddles the rental canoe out of sight, we hear this...........

"I am so stupid for coming out on this river with a fool like you"! Pick up the paddle fool! I don't believe I let your sorry ass talk me into coming out here.

Almost took the words out of my mouth.
Hope she had fun.
Hope they never come back to the river.

Chatting with "river" dorks while you're cooking ribeyes is a such a hassle.........
Seriously, it nearly ruined my "wilderness experience". :^) NOT!
I like to fell out of my chair laughing.
Wonder what they had for supper????

River sitting

– Last Updated: Jul-15-16 4:30 PM EST –

Like these ladies, I suspect we've all done some stuff that reflected some highly questionably judgement, now that I think about it. (C'mon, admit it, we all make blunders occasionally...) Especially when we first started - though, admittedly, perhaps not quite as questionable as not knowing where our take out is or thinking the river might flow upstream somewhere...

CWDH's river sitting song brings to mind an instance where I committed a pretty boneheaded act...
Once on the Jack's Fork I tried to thread my way between two root wads that were positioned up and downstream of each other with maybe four or five feet between them. I tried to squirt through with enough momentum to carry me past that downstream root wad, but the water wasn't really deep enough to get that last solid paddle stroke in to carry me through. The current was stiff enough to carry me sideways into the downstream root wad just before I was far enough through to spin out into the clear water. I reached out, though I suppose I "knew" better, and tried to pull myself upstream by grabbing and pulling on the upstream root wad. Very very shortly thereafter I found myself sitting in the river with the water flowing past my chin tightly grasping - well, a stick.

Not sure why I didn't give up paddling after that, but I'm still out there taking my chances. (As few as I can.)
Perhaps these ladies will, after some consideration, take a lesson from the experience and decide rivers are OK but its better to be on them in a real honest to goodness boat. Or with a map, or with someone elses knowledge of their whereabouts, or to not count on the information of someone who implies that water ever flows far uphill, or something...
Disbelief and uncertainty can certainly make for some uncomfortable thoughts, but if you're trying for real delusional thinking gullibility is probably the surest way to get there.

PS: When passing tubers on the river, wave, be polite, and continue conversing (in a voice loud enough to be overheard) with your fellow paddlers - about leeches.

Or sing 'em a song about…

– Last Updated: Jul-15-16 6:31 PM EST –

The candiru.
The candiru.
Ya get that burnin' feelin'
somethin's needlin' you.
From withinner tube you're danglin'
you'll scream of urethra, Franklin.
R-E-S-pee, Oh Gee!
Res-you from candiru?

Oh wait! This was in Michigan. So...

By the shores where Mishapishee,
there screams in streams of somethin' fishy.

met two

– Last Updated: Jul-15-16 8:42 PM EST –

going out on a fine no one on the beach morning at Smallpox Bay.

They had a small discount raft, no pdf.

They headed out off the beach n I stoppedem.

No pdf....no pdf ...no pdf....?

what the girls saw was ...Smallpox Bay on a calm day.

no knowledge of hypothermia, raft on out n see what. More Smallpox right......eyeyehahha.

Dad went into Friday for pdf.

Thus equipped the girls went out to Haro n stopped there bobbing. 30 minutes ? Seeing what.

Mega points.

Now for perspective my San Juan Island Park photo spread has a tour group heading out n when getting onto Haro at SB's mouth the group goes into the spider paddle mode.

The forum ops wuddnah publish that as a weekly caws its was denigrating ... not instructive.

been there (almost)
Sorry to confess I got roped into an ill-planned tubing trip on the Muskegon early on in my 8-year stint in Grand Rapids, MI. Could have ended just as badly. A coworker invited me to what was supposed to be a 90 minute float. It was a hot day and sounded like fun so I foolishly agreed. Met her and a dozen of her somewhat redneck friends at the put in – they had already left shuttle vehicles at the takeout (the location of which I was unaware) so I did not realize that they had seriously miscalculated the length and duration of the float.

I had checked the weather before showing up, but being new to the region I did not yet fully understand that predictions on hot summer days there are virtually useless that close to the Lake Michigan shoreline,. It had been a dry summer and the river was fairly low and slow. I also became concerned after we launched because a bunch of the group had brought a huge cooler (it had its own tube) and it was full of more beer than water. As the trip progressed, the floaters got drunker and the weather deteriorated as it got windy and clouded over. At the 3 hour mark I really started to worry and started quizzing the guy who had planned the trip about where the take out was. When I finally got a comprehensible answer out of him, I realized we were not even a third of the way there. Then it began to rain.

I have not yet mentioned that my co-worker had brought her 5 and 7 year old children along. Nobody but me had brought extra clothing, let alone rain gear. I realized the kids were starting to get hypothermic, so I commandeered hats from some of the adults for them, got the two kids together on one tube and wrapped them in the polarfleece hoodie I had with me. But their butts and legs were still in the water so I rigged my drybag and PFD like a sling over the center of another tube and moved them to that. Fortunately the rain was not heavy, but it did not let up and the stiff breeze continued to chill everyone. Got the kids’ dad to get in the water and swim their tube along and asked the adults that were not too drunk to find stuff along the shore they could use for paddles to accelerate our slow pace. Fortunately, I had brought along half of a cheap breakdown kayak paddle so I paddled ahead to try to find signs we were near a road. Finally spotted signs of one through the brush and waited for the group to catch up, then got everybody out of the water. After about 20 minutes we were able to flag down a guy in a pickup truck who took us to the shuttle car, which was over 8 miles down the road, meaning our “short float”, which had already been close to 5 hours, would have been more like 8 or 9 hours (if we had all survived.)

I should have known better. Dumb, dumb, dumb. But I did not get the feeling any of the participants learned anything from the “adventure” - In fact, one of the guys (still semi-drunk) complained about me “bumming out” their trip.