Tuesday, June 23, 2009

101 Ways to Hurt Yourself on the Guadalupe

Last Saturday I went tubing with my sister, her husband and their friend Carlos. It started out as all tubing trips, I was told to arrive at 9:30 and we'd leave by 10, but we inevitably left the house at 10:30 to go wake up slackers that had yet to arrive. We drove half way across San Antonio to try to pick up someone who wasn't even at their house. Around 11 we hit the road to the actual river. We got to the the Lazy L Camp Site before noon and ran into some of Haley's (my sister's) friends. Because I had gone out the night before I opted to be the designated driver that day so everyone else got to drink and drink while floating. The Guadalupe was running pretty slow due to lack of rain and so the tubing place shuttles you up the road 3 minutes and tells us the float will take 3 hours. We were all a bit skeptical but 4 1/2 hours later we knew not to doubt the man with the tubes...

When we get to the water everyone loads in their coolers and tubes. Haley's husband's, Greg's, tube had a leak so he had to go back and get a new tube. Now we were ready to go...go in the loose definition. I think I can describe our float as the longest mile ever! We would go 20 feet and then the wind would push us upstream another 30 feet. After an hour we could still see where the bus had dropped us off and the group of about 20 was well on their way to being more than tipsy.

About 2 hours into the float everyone was getting a little happy and I was enjoying watching people fall out of their tubes, trip on the rocks and try to put sunscreen on their backs by themselves. It was about this time that the first hat was lost, sunglasses and a $400 waterproof digital camera. All the drunkish people decided they should look for the camera as their tubes floated down stream. The camera was a lost cause- it sunk to the bottom and is now a part of the Guadalupe forever, or until some lucky person finds it...

The river started getting crowded 12 and 13 year olds floated by on air-mattresses. Jello shots were being thrown by sling-shot across the river. All cooler radios seemed to play the same bad summer river music- "Pour Some Sugar On Me" and much much worse. Matches were common on the river even though once wet they became ineffective, just like the wet cigarettes people couldn't get to light. Several lighters were lost to the abyss as everything from cigarettes, joints and cigars were trying to be lit. The cops looked on from the shore, helpless to the vast array of illegal activity happening on the river- maybe they should invest in kayaks...

Our large group got divided as more floaters joined in on the sun and I was trying to put us back together. Haley and her husband were calling pet names to one another 100s of feet a part from one another and I tried to reunite them to no avail. I eventually abandoned my tube to swim a while and let the drunks fend for themselves. After a good swim I tried to become friends with my tube again but ran into rocks...more rocks...and more rocks. As the only sober person on the river and possibly the world last Saturday my drunk companions offered their help and made it so much worse. They had begun to drift into really shallow water and became stuck on rocks. As I tried to pull the group through the shallow waters pockets of deep found me and continued to scrape my legs, hips and back.

Our group never came back together as a whole but at the end of the float half of the group was waiting for us and helped get the tubes out of the water. The coolers were now empty and many were sunburned. I wrangled up the group I came with and drove them home. Once we got to my sisters house we started examining the damage. Haley's husband was complaining of his back hurting and insisted (drunkenly) that it wasn't a sunburn but upon inspection the women decided it was. The front of my body was completely sunburned and bruises were starting to form on my knees, shins and left hip. Cuts accompanied some of the bruises and everyone was in awe that the only sober person was so injured by the river. Haley and her friend Carlos were not burned or scraped up at all.

I've never drank on the river, I normally act as the DD because combining my sober clumsiness with alcohol and slippery stones just seems like the worst idea ever.

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