It was the end of summer; the sun was out, but autumn was in the air. We waded out into the river with our tubes. The water was not that warm, but it was fine. We all jumped onto our tubes at the same time and started to slowly float down the Yakima River.
We carefully placed the cooler full of beer and food (but mostly beer) in the specially designed cooler tube. The most important job on the river was the keeper of the beer tube, lashing themselves to the precious cargo. There would be tears if the beer tube were to float away.
The Yakima at this time of year is not a raging torrent of water, but more of a Disneyland lazy river ride. At times you had to lift your bum up so it didn’t drag on the river bottom. You steer by just paddling with your hands and every once in a while a snag or big rock would be sticking out of the water. At one point Helen was heading towards some rocks, and so she started to half-heartedly paddle, splashing away with only one hand, as she had a beer in the other. She was making zero progress, still drifting towards the rocks.
Chris had to yell “Put the beer down and paddle!” before she reluctantly complied, made an effort and steered around the rocks. Luckily it was certainly not a life and death scenario as we were only traveling down the river at a swift walking speed.
We lashed all the tubes together into a huge raft as I leaned back, opened a beer and snacked on cheese and crackers as I slowly floated down the river. We passed through the Yakima River Canyon, with the canyon walls rising above us five hundred foot on either side. We kicked back, enjoyed the scenery and soaked up the sun.
I can’t think of a better way to end the summer. And I can’t believe I haven’t done this before! What could be better? Floating through a beautiful canyon; sun, beer, good friends. I think this is going to become an annual thing.