I went on my first inner tube ride down the Chattahoochee River in north Georgia about 20 years ago. During the ride, my inner tube got snagged as I was going down a small water fall. It flipped me — heels over head — onto a pile of rocks. I lost my sunglasses and one of my shoes, and my inner tube continued to float downstream without me.
Fortunately, someone in our group had managed to grab my inner tube before it was completely swept away by the current. Even so, I had to walk several hundred feet across slippery rocks to retrieve it, and wore the bruises to tell about it for a few days afterward.
A few years later, I foolishly decided to try it again. To my delight, I made it almost the entire length of the 2-mile run without incident. Near the end, our group moved to shallow water near an embankment and stopped for a break. I jumped out of my inner tube fully expecting to be standing in knee deep water along with everyone else. It turns out that I was floating over a hole.
“Hole” is not an entirely accurate description. I’m pretty sure that I was floating over an underwater cavern because even though I sank like a rock, my feet never hit the bottom. I had to actually swim using kicks and arm strokes to get back to the surface. You can imagine my panic and confusion.
While flailing around many feet below the surface, I lost yet another pair of sunglasses and both shoes. No one saw me go under, so to those around me, it looked like I had vanished off the face of the earth — leaving behind my inner tube which remained floating calmly in the water.
I finally popped to the surface, gasping for breath.
“Where did you go?,” my then-husband asked. I could tell he was annoyed despite my drowned appearance and the fact that I was choking up river water. I guess he thought I had climbed out of the river and gone for ice cream or something.
“All the way to China,” was my reply.
Until next time! ~ Susan
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