It started with misinformation. There was a standup paddleboard competition on the Weber River near Morgan, Utah, and some guy told us they would be doing demos- you know where you get to use a board, paddle and life vest for as long as you want for free. Never trust ‘some guy’. It was like 100 degrees out, no shade, a line-up of neoprened paddlers with numbered bibs and no demos.
Shut out. I had my citified sister from Los Angeles visiting and I was determined to show her a good time- outdoor style. So how do you salvage a day of whitewater expectations? I could sense a bit of relief from her, however, as she watched the SUP athletes take on Taggart Falls. Often on their heads. Maybe it was a bit over her head – literally.
My mind’s eye flashed on the sign at the Taggart exit off I-84. “Park City Rafting”. The water was too low and too calm for rafting but tubing….now there’s an idea. We hopped back on the freeway and got off at Morgan. We had an appointment with Barefoot Tubing, PC Rafting’s sister company. It was noon, the sun high and guests were starting to trickle in. We signed our waivers, grabbed vests, sunscreen, hats and boarded the shuttle for the Henefer put-in.
I had heard of tubing on the Weber and it was on my bucket list. I had kayaked, er, swam it twice but maybe in a giant rubber ring things would be different.
They were. I easily navigated the rocks in the rock garden, the small class II rapids and the shrubbery at river’s edge. We floated flatwater and waves, under bridges, around rocks, and through tunnels.
When you sign up you have a choice of the two-hour Henefer to Taggart section, the two-hour Taggart to Morgan stretch ($20/pp) or the four-hour Henefer to Morgan journey ($30). I could see four hours if we packed a picnic and a cooler but since this was a spontaneous adventure, two hours were perfect. Julie was a tad anxious. The most activity she gets is Yoga. But if my five-year-old daughter was going, so was my 45-year-old sister.
Sage shared Daddy’s tube and the girls went solo. Though Julie got tossed from her tube a couple of times she continued on. There are several spots where she could have gotten off the river and given up if fear set in. But there was very little to be afraid of. The instructions are simple. Keep your feet flexed and ready to push off rocks if you get close, don’t try to stand in the water if you fall in (you could trap your ankle in the river rock), just maintain the same position you had in the tube, hold onto your tube, and swim to the river bank to get back into your tube.
The water cooled our sun stroked limbs and with each short splash, we got that rush that makes you squeal and smile. My sister laughed too. To Sage and me it was another outdoors day in Utah. To Julie, it was surreal. Her version of adventure is traffic on the 405. Hanging with my sis was like when you experience something through the eyes of an innocent baby; it reminded me why I love the mountains. We get spoiled with what we have here and often take it for granted. A special thanks to Barefoot and Julie for refreshing my attitude and body on a hot Utah summer day.