Yesterday, I had a day off from work! What better way to celebrate than to gather some friends and brave the treacherous waters of the Salt River? Seriously. What better way?
The Salt River is awesome while at the same time being mind numbingly disgusting. Post river, one might think you had mistakenly marinated yourself in some sort of homemade feces/trash concoction for four hours while baking in the sun as waves of weed, tobacco and assorted by-products of piss drunk college students (literal piss too) washed over you. However, once you assure them that in fact- you just went tubing down the river, your stench is forgiven.
Don’t get me wrong- the river is actually quite fun once you get over the smell. I went with two of my girlfriends and we discovered just a few of the inherent dangers of women traveling alone!
The first indication that we had missed some sort of river related memo was this:
Apparently if you dress up in some sort of Halloween costume you get a free bus ride and a free tube. Ignoring the fact that July in Arizona gets to be about 108 in the middle of the day, a couple of people committed to getting that $15 waiver bravely donned cowboy boots, clown costumes and fireman hats. It was admirable really. That is devotion to frugality right there.
After the rather long bus ride, we managed to get to our launching point (I feel so nautical right now). Here, we discovered the first difficulty of a boy free river trip: a glaring lack of strength. If you have never tried to walk over mossy rocks while holding up an inner tube, wrapped in a sheet that is becoming increasingly heavy as it absorbs the rushing water trying to knock you on your ass while clinging together with other members of your sailing group… give it a try. It is not easy. The first casualty of war was Megan’s right flip flop. Sadly, we never saw Floppy again. We had to leave him behind as we desperately scrambled through the water.
Once we got started, it was nice. Relaxing…nature-y. We floated down at a gentle pace, holding together with our feet on each other’s raft. Then we hit our second roadblock: rapids due to water loss. When I say ‘rapids’ it isn’t like we were rafting down the Colorado, it was just kind of bumpy and the water was white and frothy. However, the white was in fact due to the rocks that liked to stab you in the ass as you floated by. As we passed by this section of the river, repeated calls of “Butts up!” seemed to follow us down the water. Until our second casualty:
Poor Lacey was river-raped. Trapped like a turtle on its back, Lace couldn’t free herself from the rock.
Luckily, a group of ten or so were kind enough to ram her gently from the rock and she was able to rejoin us. Traumatized, but still alive.
About an hour after this, we had settled back into the calm. We began to let ourselves believe everything was going to be okay. We were three women, and dammit- we were traversing the Salt River like champions!
Then came Kyle.
He drunkenly floated over to our group and unfortunately for Megan, decided he wanted to take her back to his cave for frolic and fun time. After confirming that she hadn’t in fact been ‘married off yet,’ he proceeded to try to give her a massage while trying to coax the startled creature that he meant no harm. Unfortunately for Kyle, Megan didn’t feel like being Mrs. Caveman, so we basically just floated away to his calls of “You don’t even want to kiss me on the cheek?” Crisis averted, we continued on.
One of the last evidences that sometimes it is nice to have a boy along was our sad lack of a tug boat. On previous trips, when the water runs low…as it is prone to do in Arizona, the girls usually stay in the tube while the boys get out and tug us through the section. It is basically the equivalent of the ‘get out and push’ method when your car breaks down. Sadly, our testosterone free river trip meant that was our job. Once again, a soldier was left behind! After walking through mossy rocks for a bit, we each got launched at different points in the river. I managed to catch up after awhile- just in time to see the cliff diving portion of the show! As we rounded a bend in the river, a small ledge where people like to leap and tease death like risk whores jump into the shallow river. Apparently this portion of the evening is clothing optional, so we got to watch two topless girls dance awkwardly on this ledge for about 5 minutes before apparently growing the stones required to make the jump.
Finally, a giant wooden sign alerted us that our exit was coming up on the left. We paddled over to the sand and each of us employed different strategies to get out. Megan and I decided to be a bit more… abrupt and aimed our tubes at the nearest dude. Trust me, trying to get out of a tube while battling the current, glass and rocks tearing at your feet was more than we could bear. Luckily our randomly selected knights in shining armor performed magnificently and grabbed the both of us, assisting us to a relatively painless river exit. Lacey, being the more tactful, didn’t want to take out a boy with her tube and got stuck a little further down river. We eventually got our trio back together, and celebrated our survival of the river. Our only worry is the fact that we may have contracted Gonaherpisyphilitus as a result of being steeped in sewage for longer than doctor recommended. We shall see!
So next time you are in Arizona and want to have a good time- check out the Salt River. Just bring a boy, and some penicillin! You will be fine!