It amazes me to think that in just a few weeks the buses will be back on the roads and school will be in session. Even though I’ve long been out of school, the start of the school year always marks the end of summer to me.
Before the season winds down, get out and enjoy the outdoors. The great thing about living in the Capital Region is that you don’t have to take a lot of time or travel too far to do it. Whether it’s a day at the track, an afternoon on Lake George, or shopping in Vermont, our area offers a lot of activities for day trippers. All you have to do is open your eyes!
Take tubing, for instance. A perfect way to spend a hot, hazy afternoon.
Now, I am not an adventurous person. You won’t find me bungee jumping, skydiving, rock climbing, motorcycle riding, whitewater rafting, or anything like that. But tubing? How dangerous can that be? I was about to find out.
My friends and I set out on our day trip to Washington County on what was forecast to be a 95-degree sunny day—perfect tubing weather. And although it was gray and drizzly by the time we arrived at the campground, we were still optimistic.
“Watch for the big sign that says ‘exit here’,” the guy who drove us to the drop off point, told my friend Michael, who was only half-listening. The driver explained that there is a smaller sign that nearly everyone misses, followed by a second, larger sign.
It was a lot of fun—two couples, tubes bungeed together (and an extra one to hold a cooler) floating down the Battenkill River, laughing the whole way. With all the rain we’ve had this summer, the river was swollen and pushed us along quickly. Occasionally we had to dodge a fallen tree branch, but otherwise we floated along without incident.
That was about to change.
When we came upon a very large EXIT sign (think billboard), Michael the half-listener assured us this wasn’t our exit, because we had yet to come upon the second sign. He was wrong. Almost immediately our leisurely ride turned to panic. The current, which previously had been manageable, was much faster in these parts, shoving us towards thickets of fallen trees. Making matters worse, after extricating ourselves from one tree, we found ourselves ensnared by another. There seemed to be no end in sight.
At this point, we were all a little agitated and, though no one would admit it, a bit worried. With darkness already gathering, it started to rain. We were soaking wet, worried and bickering. I could already envision our leisurely trip turning into the top story on the 11 o’clock news.
As it turns out, we did not end up on television. We negotiated our way to back to safety and dry land. And I think that’s where I’ll stay for the rest of the summer!
My near death experience notwithstanding, I had a lot of fun. I also learned to appreciate the value of directions.
But whether you’re on land or water, get out there and enjoy all the area has to offer. Because, as we all know, the time’s not far off when we’ll be longing once more for the “dog days” of August!
Mary Beth DeCecco