• Kaitlynn Stone

Floating Our Worries Away on the Shenandoah River

This weekend we embarked on an adventure down the Shenandoah river and it was everything you could imagine it would be. Jessie and I had decided we needed to have a girls day, and her eyes lit up when I mentioned a tubing trip I had gone on last summer with family friends at Harpers Ferry in West Virginia. Before we knew it, we were booked and ready to float down the river on Saturday, August 4th around 1:30pm with a company called River Riders. We could barely contain our excitement and were counting down the days that week until we would be out there on nature's lazy river.

Finally, Saturday came and we immediately sent giddy "good morning!" texts to each other, unable to hide our enthusiasm. We decided that she would come and pick me up around 12:30 so there would be plenty of time for us to travel the 45 minutes to Harpers Ferry, WV. I wasted no time in begining to prepare for the day, obsessing about every item we would potentially need to have the most enjoyable girls day ever.

We went with a variety pack

I head over to Target and picked up the crucial 12 can variety pack of Bon & Viv spiked seltzer, along with a bag of Skinny Pop popcorn, pre sliced apples (because ain't nobody got time for slicin') and a small chicken wrap that was cut in two. I figured we would appreciate some yummy snackables with our beverages, and boy was I right about that.

Somehow I managed to squeeze everything in a backpack cooler my mom received from her company, along with a couple of ice packs to make sure everything stayed cool.

Jessie arrived around 12:45 and was worried about being late, but I assured her that we would be fine and that the scheduling was more of a rule of thumb for River Riders to know approximately how many people would be out on the river that day. She drew a sigh of relief and we started making our way to the place.

Once we arrived, we were directed to drive past the overflow parking lot and up to the main registration building where we found the literal BEST parking spot you could possible have—front row, right outside of the door. Everything from there started falling into place and we found ourselves in the company of good luck for the remainder of our day.

We checked in and were told to make our way outside to watch an informative safety video before heading out to the bus. We exited and began following a crowd of people making their way towards employees handing out life vests so we followed and each received one. I was a little hesitant because I thought we were supposed to watch the video beforehand, but maybe that was afterwards? I wasn't sure.

Walking alongside our fellow tubers we followed the line that led to a bus where everyone was getting on. Then we heard a bus driver shout "Okay white water rafters, who's ready to ride!" and suddenly our eyes went huge and we turned to each other, realizing we were in the wrong place. Laughing about our near perilous experience, we joked about how glad we were that our relaxing girls day didn't turn into a fight for our lives. We head back into the pavilion and ordered food while we waited for safety instructions.

After the cheesiest safety video in the world and a few more tips from an employee, we were able to get our life vests and head over to the buses which would then take us to the top of the river. The buses were bright colorful school buses that we later learned were colored on purpose to help the drivers stay on schedule and know when their shifts were or something like that.

The bus ride was less than ten minutes and before we knew it we were shuffling out to an area where there were a bunch of tubes gathered. We approached the employees and were given blue tubes to match our blue wrist bands. We had decided to upgrade to the deluxe tubes which came with a headrest and cup holder. Once we were equipped with our tubes. We were ready to make it down to the river.

We managed to talk the employees into letting us use a cooler float for my backpack and Jessie's bag which turned out to be super clutch because our tubes would have been too crowded if we had to carry our items on our laps with us. Using a yoga strap I brought with me, I tethered all three of our tubes together (even though you technically aren't supposed to) and we set out into the water.

From that moment on it was pure relaxation under a perfect sky. We couldn't have asked for better weather. Floating at a gentle pace, we rode the flow while drinking our spiked water, munching on apples and popcorn, and spilling all the details of our lives while laughing and basking in the sunshine.

It took us about an hour to get down the river and we decided to go down again because admission includes unlimited floats. We were the happiest little peaches there ever were. A bus driver picked us up where we exited and drove us back up the hill to go down the river once more before we decided we had a full day and were ready to call it quits.

It was truly one of the best days I've had so far this summer and I already can't wait to return for some more flat water tubing. Maybe we'll even check out the white water rafting for real next time lol. Until then, happy floating :)

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