Summer Adventure number 6: Beyond River Tubing
I was about 8 years old when I first experienced the thrill of venturing into the River. My dad used to own several commercial ponds to raise prawns and I remember that he would bring us there during the harvest season. We would ride a small wooden boat that would bring us from one pond to the next. Borrowing my son’s words, ” it kind of freaked me out” each time since the boat was too narrow, does not have any support on the sides for balancing and more importantly, no safety features. Back in those days, a life vest is unheard of. Usually there would be two other siblings with me and we would tease each other to pass the 20 minutes boat ride. My dad would remind us to avoid any unnecessary movements but that’s hard to follow when you’re sitting next to a 7 and 6-year-old. I remember that we would all suddenly keep still as soon as the boat starts tilting unsteadily from side to side as if it’s about to turn over. Though somewhat scary, it was also an exhilarating and adventurous event. I would place my hand under water as the boat drifts creating small waves. At the same time, I would gaze at the top of the trees amazed by the different birds nesting in the area.
The River gave me another chance to savor the fun and thrill it provides but this time I was lucky to share it with my son. As part of our July 4th weekend getaway, I decided to experience the famous river tubing at San Marcos River with him.
We arrived at the River around 2 P.M. We were both exhausted from our walk from the Aquarena Center to the tubing area. It was hot and humid at 100 degrees.We rested for a while under a big , shady Oak Tree while figuring out where to start. The sight of the emerald-green water and of the people drifting on their tubes were hard to resist. My son kept telling me, ” lets jump, dad, lets jump!” I told him to just wait a bit while I try to find a more shallow area.
We saw a couple floating under the bridge, laughing as they try to decide which one to put in the third tube, their adorable little dog or the medium-sized cooler. The answer was kind of obvious. The cooler won and the woman held the dog on her lap. Wise decision if they are to finish the 2 hour river tubing. The water level is low this year because of the drought. The current is slow and in some areas people need to walk.
We finally figured out where the tubing starts. It was next to the Saltgrass Steak House. People would either start at the Rotary club to rent the yellow tubes and a vehicle transports them to the river tubing’s starting point or individual’s bring their own. Either way, a fun ride awaits them at the river.
” Oh, my Gosh,” the water was so cold. It was in the low 70’s. That’s cold for most Texans. There was a woman next to me shivering and shrieking while her other companion splashed some water on her back. What a friend , huh?”
My son was all over the place. Waddling back and forth. He looked so happy and excited. I was trying to catch up with him. I didn’t want him to go to the deeper waters. The current was still strong compared to his small size. He wasn’t paying attention to the possible dangers. He was too busy swimming, playing with the river pebbles, catching water plants and socializing with the other kids. Besides , he knows that dad was watching his back.
There were several younger people in their 20’s drifting happily in their tubes as a group. They reminded me of my college days when there was no worry in the world other than making good grades. We would go out of town and have a great time exploring nature. More than missing the care-free good old days, I miss the friendship. Everyone followed their own path after graduation, a lot went to migrate in Europe and the United States as registered nurses. It’s amazing how my country exports man power and not some products like shoes or bags. I never imagined that I’ll be part of the migratory flock until 2 years before I left my hometown. Can’t say no to destiny and his plans for me.
My son found a friend while playing at the river. He was about 8 years old. The boy found a turtle. My son was helping him build a fortress for their new found pet. They would pick up rocks forming a circle to serve as the wall. I was surprised they could carry a rock as big as their trunk. I guess those multivitamins worked.
My wife called several times asking if we were done but my son kept begging to extend the fun hours. He kept saying, ” 30 more minutes dad, 30 more minutes. okay?” His persistence paid off. We stayed for another 2 hours.
Beyond the river tubing experience, I was able to create another fun and exciting memory for my son. I was also able to remember things that I used to do with my dad and my siblings. I thought my subconscious self parked them permanently somewhere inside my brain. It was a beautiful rediscovery of my younger self. It’s like watching a movie, only I’m seeing myself in it.
We left San Marcos around 7 P.M., all tired but satisfied of our respective adventures. Shopping for the girls, outdoors for the boys. My son slept pretty much the whole 3 hours of our return to Houston. We all hope to go back before the school starts.