Old Man River Float

Posted: August 7, 2010 in Meandering Valley Thoughts
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   It had been 18 years since I last took the time to float down the Coeur D’ Alene River and as I laid there on my floatie in the warm sun gently bobbing along over the kiddie-sized rapids, I realized that I had missed out on one of the great free pastimes that this area has to offer. Though Elaine has taken the kids nearly every year, I gave it up because I did not like the idea of baking in the sun on an inner tube. Besides, they always went during the week to avoid the crowd and so I reasoned that I was too busy. This year was going to be the same. But then a job I was planning on got moved back and I did no reason not to go except my old negative opinion.

   I got up  and got ready to go to work with a strong sense that I was going to miss out on a opportunty to have fun with my family. My oldest boy, Jesse, is 22 and Eli is 20 and I wondered if there would be many more times they would be able to join Elaine and our two girls Crystal,17 and Jackie 15. I thought about how Eli was only 2 the last time I plunked him and Jesse in their own little raft and watched how much fun they had going over those monster rapids. I thought about how I had not gone with the girls and how quickly the summers had gone by and how few we have left with them at home. I was literally walking out to my van when I told my boss that he could take this work day and shove it, I was going to take the day off and go have fun with the family floating down that fool river. My boss told me that I was the fool and that it was about time. Of course I was talking to myself.

   Every one was in shock when they got up and I told them I was going. They had grown up thinking I would never float the river because of the sun. I hated to blow my cover after all those years but the last time I went the strongest sunscreen I could get was probably SPF 15, just this summer I got my hands on some SPF 85. The sun was no longer the problem, my work ethic and stupidity had been the real problem for quite a while. But the old man was changing his ways and so off to the river we went.

   It was so relaxing. One time I got stuck on some shallow rapids and I just laid there for about 10 minutes. I might still be there  if I had not heard another group coming. The kids still thought it was great fun even if the rapids had gotten smaller. In fact they said that if they had to choose between floating the river and Silverwood, they would choose the river.

   After years of going with her sister, who is a fanatical fan of floating, Elaine knows the ins and outs of floating the Coeur D’ Alene. She says the key is the floatie. They can be very hard to find at the end of the summer. This year she looked at several places and ended up finding the ones she wanted at Rosauers. Just about anything will do in a pinch, in fact we saw one guy at the end with only a small portion of his floatie in tact and he seemed to be having a jolly time. The one I used had a backrest and arms and I thought I was in heaven. Take a special floatie to carry a cooler and supplies like an extra floatie in case one goes down midway. Just tie the supply floatie to your floatie and you won’t even notice it’s there.

  The perfect run lasting about three hours is easy to find. Just head east on 90 and get off on the Kinston Exit and follow the river north past the Snake Pit at Enaville and go until the road goes over a bridge. Just on the far side of the bridge there is a dirt road that you take back down the river for about half a mile. Drop one car off by the big  jump-off rock and swimming hole and then load everyone up and head back up the river on the main road. After about ten minutes you’ll come to a convenience store that has a compressor which will take your quarters but it will also run without them.

  Once your’e all blown up get back on the road and bear left at the next intersection and soon you’ll come to another bridge. Just past the bridge there is a pinic area on the left and that is where you embark. It’s that simple. You drop off one rig at the first bridge and jump in at  the second. The river is just waiting to give anyone with the wisdom a ride for free. It has nothing better to do and I now know that I certainly had nothing better to do than to take it up on its generous offer.

Floatation

The perfect passport to a pleasant pastime

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