That moment when you wake up during the summer thinking, "Oh crap! School is just around the corner! Have I made enough memories?????"
Enter tubing, a High Country tradition, a usual bucket list item every summer.
Last summer I took the kids tubing on the New River. Highlights?
A 3 hour tour, honestly 3 hours!
Dragging the bottom so much I was afraid of pulling a tadpole out of my bathing suit bottoms.
80 degree heat, full sun
Drifting constantly to the trees with snakes hanging out of them
Forgetting bug spray
So why did I go again? The "childbirth theory"
After your first child, you vow, "Oh my God, I'm never doing that again" forget about it and before you know it you're back in the hospital with the 2nd saying, "Oh my God, I remember NOW!"
So I tucked away the New River memories and set myself up again taking 7 kids and 2 adults with me!
First, I went over to Toe River Lodge because I heard they have a BREWERY and their tours are a more manageable hour and a half. Usually I can survive anything with children lasting an hour and a half,
Oh, and you can take beer with you. Taking 7 kids tubing meant yes, I needed the beer AND I think I could survive for an hour and half.
We started at the lodge, sampled beers picking which one we'd take with us in our cute little "howler" a 2 beer plastic growler, piled into a van and drove up the river to our put in spot.
Was this trip like child birth, NO! It was awesome.
The kids all ran down jumping in their tubes, having water fights and generally acting crazy. After ten minutes though since I have a slight weight advantage over them, they drifted just out of earshot on the river. The other couple I was with beached themselves on the first bend getting stuck as I moved out of earshot of them.
I was blessed with quiet drinking beer floating in circles down the Toe River looking up at the sky!
A few things to remember if you are heading to Blind Squirrel Brewery for a beer and a tube:
Plan your trip after a few days of rain, or check the river level, planning ahead for less butt dragging.
If this is a date, give your lady some slack, there is no way looking graceful getting in and out of a tube. (Imagine splaying your legs wide as you throw your butt up falling out the side into the water, wait a minute, that could be someone's perfect date)
Tie your beer to your string tightly adding several knots, I spent five minutes looking like Michael Phelps chasing my howler, but I got it!
Your tube will always gravitate to the sunny rock with the snake. Just send your "please don't bite me" energy as you frantically paddle the other way.
You have to get out of your tube to move it, unless you have gorilla arms, they will not touch the water on either side of you.
The rocks are slippery, hold onto your tube if you stand up, and again give your lady some slack as she falls all over the place trying to get out from the rock garden she got stuck in.
Empty your pockets, empty your pockets. My poor friend over turned getting in losing his knife in the process. Another friend on the New overturned and lost his car keys!
Don't worry about the "what just touched my leg" moments, and don't mind the girlish scream coming from the dude beside you, at least it touched his leg,
Finally seeing that tiny head come out of the water then disappear as you put in your tube simply say, "That was a turtle, that was a turtle, that was a turtle," over and over again until you believe it.
Think about the Toe River Lodge and Blind Squirrel Brewery for your tubing trip down the Toe River, fill your "howler" with great craft brew or apple cider, send everyone ahead and relax on your ride.
The best part, the tubing ride finishes right in front of the Lodge complete with a Restaurant, just in time for lunch. I mean who wants to pick tadpoles out of their sandwich when you can sit on the deck enjoy fresh made local farm food and more craft beer and cider watching everyone else fall in and out of their tubes. I received an "8" from restaurant goers as I got out of my tube!
Next on the agenda: Ziplining with Blind Squirrel. Think they have a way you can take your howler over there?
For more information or to book your trip here's their website: